Worlds Best Homes

Design house: Color and pattern – with a dose of eccentricity – give new life to this home

The owners of this San Francisco home have used a mélange of global influences to create their dream home

Colorful home San Jose
(Image credit: Vivian Johnson)

Decorating a home can be challenging at the best of times but spare a thought for interior designer Carmit Oron, who took on the task of remodelling this property in San Jose, California during a worldwide pandemic. 

Carmit expected the quarantine period in California to be quiet, so instead set about focusing on the admin side of her business. But as faith – and luck – would have it, a dream client was about to reach out to her. 

'And then my phone rang... the person on the line talked about how much she loved my work, and that she and her husband would like me to work on their house remodel,' recalls Carmit. It felt somewhat serendipitous. 'Her ideas sounded fun and our communication flowed easily. It was from that moment I knew that I wanted to work with them. Besides, during uncertain times like these, when everything feels so strange and surreal, who doesn’t need a hefty dose of joy?'

We spoke to Carmit Oron about the design project.

The quarantine meant that I couldn’t meet my clients face-to-face, so the first meeting was held through Zoom. The couple used their phone to give me a tour of their house, pointing out what they wanted to remodel. Though physically distanced, their optimism and excitement beamed through.   

They were drawn to the modern farmhouse look, which they wanted to infuse with Spanish and Hawaiian elements. This combination was a first for me, but I am always up for a challenge. It was vital that this new design accurately reflected their unique personalities, something that I was determined to get right – first time.   

While no one was at home, a member of my team was able to enter in a covid-secure way to take the measurements. Equipped with this data, I set to work designing their space and selecting the materials, furniture and accessories. Two weeks later we met again on Zoom, and thankfully, It didn’t take long for the couple to approve my design and rendering. 

Entrance

Colorful home San Jose

(Image credit: Vivian Johnson)

This area needed to be re-designed entirely. The staircase now features a floating front, and the railing has been forged from iron, then painted in an on-trend matte black shade. To soften the look, I designed the end of the rail, at the bottom of the stairs, to wrap around itself like a falling ribbon. 

We wanted this whole property to be functional as well as beautiful, therefore the empty space under the stairs has a dual use – a place for the dog to sleep soundly.

Hall

Colorful home San Jose

(Image credit: Vivian Johnson)

No corner was left unturned when renovating this area. Where once an unsightly structural column stood, it now provides a practical and aesthetic area in which to store everyday items such as coats and bags, and the vented drawers provide ample storage for shoes.

Living room

Colorful home San Jose

(Image credit: Vivian Johnson)

Colorful home San Jose

(Image credit: Vivian Johnson)

Colorful home San Jose

(Image credit: Vivian Johnson)

Shiplap walls, painted in white to match the walls elsewhere in the home, create a great backdrop for the owners built-in shelving display and jewel-toned sofa. The teal color ties wonderfully with the kitchen cabinets. 

We retained the fireplace, and used an assortment of beautifully patterned Spanish tiles to add warm tones and playful color to the firebox opening and hearth.

Kitchen

Colorful home San Jose

(Image credit: Vivian Johnson)

Colorful home San Jose

(Image credit: Vivian Johnson)

Colorful home San Jose

(Image credit: Vivian Johnson)

Colorful home San Jose

(Image credit: Vivian Johnson)

Colorful home San Jose

(Image credit: Vivian Johnson)

Open-plan kitchens suit today’s informal lifestyles, providing a natural hub for the home and greater sociability during cooking and prepping. But it takes skill to design a space that integrates easily with the dining area, especially in smaller homes. Here, we used clever zoning, sound control and a cohesive decorating approach to create this liveable room.

Kitchens are also rife with color opportunities, from appliances and flooring, to  window treatments and cabinets. We painted the cabinetry in a deep teal color, which pairs nicely with wood and brass accents. The neutral backsplash tiles show subtle color variations, which gives it an artisan feel that is harmonious and pleasing to the eye.

Powder room

Colorful home San Jose

(Image credit: Vivian Johnson)

Colorful home San Jose

(Image credit: Vivian Johnson)

Properly designed and finished, a powder room is a great addition to your home. Whether you’re planning an under-stairs conversion, a new use for an unused utility room or an extension, it could not only add value to your home, it could also be really handy when you’re entertaining.

Despite its size, this room was a glorious opportunity to utilise color and pattern –with added playfulness. I began designing it with a rather cool Beverly Hills Hotel wallpaper in mind – one that showcases lush, oversized greenery. I was delighted when my clients gave me the green light on this particular design element. To tone down the grandiose wallpaper, I used horizontal shiplap for wainscoting on the bottom half of the walls, and classic herringbone Carrara tile on the floor.

Main bedroom

Colorful home San Jose

(Image credit: Vivian Johnson)

Colorful home San Jose

(Image credit: Vivian Johnson)

In the master bedroom I wanted to incorporate a Hawaiian vibe, whilst also keeping it intimate, inviting and harmonious at the same time. Here, we used a mauve color paint for the feature wall, and added a natural-toned woven cane bed and matching nightstands. The large framed photograph above the bed also features elements of nature, which blend beautifully with the natural linen and cotton textiles on the bed. 

This muted colour combo has given pink a whole new identity. No longer super-girly, the murkier tones of blush pink teamed with industrial grey have a stronger, gender-neutral appeal.

My clients and I are so happy with the results of this remodel. Though quarantine may be keeping us all grounded at the moment, this farmhouse home drops subtle hints to make you feel that you’re in a tropical staycation state of mind.

Interior design / Carmit Oron

Photography / Vivian Johnson