This Sunny Abode Masters The Art Of California Cool
Designer Sam Sacks takes us behind the scenes of her latest project.
As a designer, sometimes you meet a client and you immediately know: this is going to be good. This was my experience with Alex and Jim Cooper, two Hamilton plastic surgeons who’d purchased a dark, dated ranch-style house in Hamilton, Ontario that needed an overhaul to better suit their young, happy family.
The homeowners described their ideal design as “California cool,” which translated to a laid-back and breezy feel with a distinct point of view. In just four months, we transformed the once dreary 3,700-square-foot home into the epitome of SoCal chic. Click through to take a virtual tour of this sunny space!
The large family room was divided into two seating areas to create a multipurpose space. A fringed pendant light is a bohemian touch.
Alex found the photograph of Palm Springs online and bought it for her husband. A barnboard shelf anchors the piece and warms the white walls.
Face-frame kitchen cabinetry is a throwback to California Craftsman style. While the flat-front drawers and protruding plinth (instead of a toe kick) are more Dutch than American, the mix takes the mostly Shaker-style kitchen from traditional to coastal.
Alex and Jim in the dining room with their son, Henry, 2, and daughter Lucy.
Open-plan living means decorating functional spaces like the kitchen with the same attention to detail as a living room. An antique oil portrait and a leafy ficus tree in a striped pot add character.
The island’s Caesarstone countertop is framed on three sides by an oiled oak ledge that provides diners a softer wooden surface for enjoying meals, while the cook preps on stone.
In the living room, a traditional Spanish chandelier reflects the influence of 18th-century Franciscan Missions on California style. Mid-century modern-style chairs look contemporary combined with the rug’s graphic awning stripes and African Kuba pillows.
A clean-lined Laminam fireplace surround acts as a foil for the living room’s traditional chandelier and woven bench. The flock of wall-mounted birds evokes the seabirds that soar through the skies along California’s coast.
Shelving that shows off the homeowners’ books and treasures found on far-flung travels creates a casually curated feeling. Whimsical raffia elephants are the room’s conversation pieces.
The main floor powder room proved a perfect spot to make a bold statement with wallpaper. The tie-dye print is another nod to California cool.
Texture reigns in the principal bedroom, where a flat-woven kilim sits beneath a rumpled linen slipcovered bed. The mix leaves the room feeling inviting and elegant.
Although white oak is predominant throughout the house, Sam chose walnut nightstands for the principal bedroom. The darker wood is an homage to mid-century modern furnishings that inspired much of the home’s interior design.
Lucy’s bedroom has a subtle surfside feel, thanks to textures such as the handwoven macramé drum light and rattan rocking chair, and a sparing use of floral wallpaper on one wall.