Designer Rosa Beltran completely remodels a five-bedroom, Altadena, California, home into the perfect blend of global styles.
Photos by Chad Mellon.
For interior designers, every challenge is an opportunity. When remodeling a space, each previous design decision can be undone and reinterpreted into a chic success.
And for, this project offered a lot of opportunities.
“This home began as a pretty badly done (everyone agreed) faux Mediterranean 1990s spec house complete with vinyl windows, peach plaster stucco, and even an enormous master bathroom of mauve tile, shiny brass, and shag carpet,” Rosa explains. “It was nestled in a neighborhood of gorgeous 1920s classical architecture, built with really unfortunate design and cheap materials. The good news is that homeowners recognized this and brought us in to change that up completely.”
The family couldn’t have brought in a better person to rehab the 4000-square-foot, five-bedroom, four-bath house. Rosa’s signature style is a perfect fit: layered, collected, and (perhaps most importantly for this home) timeless.
“We were designing for a busy family of four who wanted the home to feel elegant, in keeping with the classic architecture, but also embody the ease and comfort of modern California casual living,” Rosa says. “I think we nailed that vibe for them.“
We’d agree. The home deftly blends Spanish revival, Moroccan and Moorish accents, while nodding at the Mediterranean roots and feeling completely Californian. Walk in the door and you’re greeted with a perfect distillation of that very vibe.
“That intricately carved bench in the entry foyer was the perfect statement piece, accompanied by the layered rugs and ethnic print pillows,” Rosa explains. “The textiles are warm and inviting and the architecture and high contrast black and white is clean and classic and keeps it from looking fussy. I love the juxtaposition of the warmth of the textiles with the classic architecture.”
For Rosa, the renovation blended exterior and interior needs. To elevate the home’s bones to the level of the neighborhood, she corrected the scale of windows and fireplaces throughout, tiled the front steps, and ripped out kitschy design choices to let the soaring and spacious floorplan shine. Every light fixture was replaced, with Rosa designing a custom, oversized pendant to suit the foyer’s 30’ ceilings. Bright white walls and relaxed slightly light-filtering window treatments keep things breezy, along with a minimalist approach to artwork.
“We added very little art or ornamentation to the walls or elsewhere,” Rosa explains. “The space was so light-filled and airy and the transformation of the main fireplace was SO dramatic that we really wanted the lines and volume of the space to speak for themselves.”
Instead, depth and warmth is woven into the space through a mix of global influences and materials.
“In my own rule book it’s absolutely essential to juxtapose opposite styles and textures beside each other in order to create an interesting visual tension in a space,” Rosa shares. “So for me it’s a must to balance rustic finishes with sleek finishes and modern design with touches of traditional. For instance, I contrasted all the sleek marble surfaces in the master bath with an absolutely primitive and crusty wooden bench and milking stool. The contrast is what keeps things interesting.”
And let’s talk about that bathroom: with its mermaid shower, soaking tub, 20-foot-long distressed mirror with faceted sconces, and balcony with pool views, one might never want to stop getting ready.
“When we planned the remodel we decided to embrace the existing clay tile roof and go with an updated Spanish Mediterranean style,” Rosa explains. “There is so much Moroccan influence in Spanish architecture, and we wanted that reflected in the master bath, for it to feel like a luxurious and spa-like hammam experience. The cement Moroccan floor tile, Moroccan style lighting, and exotic touches like the giant bone inlay mirror (which we had custommade) and the rough wooden bench and stool gave us the Southern Mediterranean/Moroccan vibe we were going for.”
The master bedroom isn’t without a bit of drama either.
“It’s not every bedroom that can handle a giant, four-poster, iron bed,” Rosa says. “The ceiling height and huge volume of the room just begged for it, the arch and wrought iron both reference traditional Spanish architecture and materials. Then we brought in some pattern with a soft grey and white geometric cement tile.”
Pattern reigns over palette in the home. Neutrals abound, but never feel nude. The kitchen is outfitted with sleek white cabinetry and tile, but softened by natural woven stools and warm natural wood tone shelves. The dining room continuous the harmonious mix.
“The table is modern farmhouse, the exotic sideboard is made of exquisitely intricate inlaid bone, and the chairs and light fixture are completely Mid-Century modern,” Rosa says. “The effect, combined with a stunning large modern abstract painting by painter Bethany Roberts, is eclectic and curated and anything but boring.”
Boring couldn’t be farther from the result. Rosa’s managed to nail the family’s needs while still providing plenty of edgy design.
“This is a family home so we needed the furniture to be comfortable and the space to embrace a very livable, casual California aesthetic—while still being exciting and curated for good design,” she says.
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