You Need to See the Bar Room in This Laguna Beach Home
It’s hard to believe that this stunning house used to be a duplex.
Updated Sep 29, 2021 7:56 AM
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Here’s one way you can tell you’ve made it: You have a real-life, in-house, full-on-adult bar room.
“Our bar upstairs is my favorite part by far,” says homeowner Leslie Bruce. “I was inspired by Kelly Oxford’s bar; it just felt so cool and rich and masculine without being heavy. It’s a really interesting thing to have—we love the idea that our upstairs is our ‘adult area’ and the downstairs is the kid’s space.”
In this image: CB2 Raj Gold Hanging Planter, $49.95
While the downstairs/upstairs distinction is now an informal divide, it was once a lot more literal. Bruce and her family moved in to the 2,769-square-foot property in July 2017, having purchased it as a duplex with the intent of turning it into a single family home.
In this image: World Market Antique Gold Dual Bulb Adjustable Wall Sconce, $52.49
And the renovation is definitely a dramatic one in more ways than just a reconfigured layout: The initial home was dated, dark, and featured a very segmented floor plan. Tasked with the goal of turning it into a livable space suitable for a young family, Bruce set about opening the space up.
To do this, she tapped Jesse DeSanti of Jette Creative. The duo brought in fresh coats of paint and vibrant accent colors to create a home that feels minimal and functional, yet still warm and comfortable.
In this image: Serena & Lily Riviera Counter Stool, $328;
“There was a lot of bringing in different textures and patterns and color choices,” says Bruce, who points to Pinterest as a main source of inspiration for the design. “For example in the kitchen, I really wanted to go with a cooler blue and Jesse felt that warming it up with pops of orange would feel like there are kids that live in that space and are comfortable, but also still feel like my general aesthetic.”
In this image: Schoolhouse Electric Supply & Co. Odyssey 2 Pendant in “Natural Brass”, $249; Williams-Sonoma Boos Edge-Grain Cutting Board, $95.96+
Her general aesthetic—clean, zen, and minimal—has a lot to do with the fact that she constantly balances motherhood with running a business. Shuffling those two full-time jobs breeds the need for a calming decor aesthetic—and an intentionally laid out floor plan.
In this house, the strategically thought-out layout includes situating the kitchen next to her daughter’s playroom (so she can supervise her little one during the day) and turning what used to be the upstairs kitchen partially into a dedicated office (so she has a quiet, separate workspace).
“For me, having a small human, I wanted [the kitchen] to be downstairs where we would ultimately do the playroom, and where I could be cooking dinner and see her playing nearby,” says Bruce. “I spend the majority of my time in the kitchen and that tends to be the central hub of the home.”
Aside from ensuring that the overall aesthetic remained tidy and tranquil (“I want it to feel very, very clean because my life feels so chaotic!”), the flooring was another priority for Bruce.
“I immediately wanted to change the floors,” she says of the one thing topping her design wishlist. “Since we’re by the beach, the wood would expand, so we ended up going with a faux wood—finding really beautiful floors that worked with my dogs and my toddler was a huge priority.”
But the clean and contemporary (and definitely not faux-looking at all) wooden floors aren’t the only flooring making a statement. The master bathroom’s gorgeous blue and white tiles are a design feat in their own right.
“We had to do something last minute, and Jesse had done something similar in another house that looked so stunning,” says Bruce. “It brings your attention to the ground which I feel makes the space look bigger; and again, living at the beach, everything is smaller down here.”
In this image: Design Within Reach Bertoia Side Chair with Vinyl Seat Pad, $794; Room & Board Aurora Pendant in “Black”, $169
In the dining room, the whitewashed walls contrast beautifully with the black pendant light. In the kitchen, they draw in the natural light and emphasize the stunning blue cabinets. And in Bruce’s office, painting the original wood vaulted ceiling white brings a lightness to the space that is perfect for inspiring creativity.
In this image: Pottery Barn Emily & Meritt Ta Da Rug, $149+
And the pale, neutral color scheme serves another purpose: Aside from making everything feel clean and cohesive, it also keeps the possibility for future family expansion open.
“We wanted it to feel like a natural extension of our living space,” explains Bruce of the downstairs guest room and playroom area. “We didn’t want the colors to feel too contrasting; we wanted it to feel special, and keep it gender-neutral in case we want to expand our family.”
In this image: Minted Artwork in “Tangerine”, $93+
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