Nina Jizhar layered in modern and eclectic style to a newly built townhouse outside of San Francisco. Here's how she taught them to make Minimalism impactful.
Photos by Vivian Johnson.
Sometimes the hardest part of redecorating is letting go. As you transition into a new place, you have to edit out what no longer serves your aesthetic. (Otherwise we’d all still be sitting on our college futons.) And sometimes a builder’s best intentions need to be retooled to suit our style and our needs.
So when a young couple came to Homepolish’for help streamlining their two-bedroom California townhouse, she was ready to lead them to a more curated lifestyle.
“My client’s goals aligned nicely with my personal design style,” Nina explains. “I like a space to feel lived-in and approachable. They really wanted a living room that felt more put together, but they had some old furniture that didn’t quite fit because of its scale and style.”
Step one: reassessing the existing floor plan and decor. Since the townhouse is open concept with the living room opening into the kitchen, Nina created smaller vignettes to ensure the flow felt cohesive. Step two was figuring out what needed a rehaul.
“It’s a brand-new construction townhome, so there were lots of builder grade materials and fixtures,” says Nina. “I convinced the client to upgrade the light fixtures in the dining room and kitchen for a more custom look. The style of the home is definitely contemporary, but because it’s a tract home, it was lacking in a lot of architectural detail.”
To correct that, Nina convinced her clients to add a built-in bench to the living space. Before, the awkward ten-by-two foot nook had been a source of much trouble. No matter how hard they tried, the family couldn’t find the right way to utilize the area. And they tried it all—from a reading nook to a child’s playspace. Finally realized as the perfect hangout spot, Nina added textural throw pillows and a geometric brass side table to make the space extra inviting.
“It took a lot of convincing due to the cost, but it really elevates the whole space and adds the architectural detail the house is lacking—plus it adds plenty of storage to help these busy parents keep the house organized,” Nina explains. “And it doubles as reading nook for the kids. The Stikwood shiplap-style wall creates a gorgeous backdrop and adds texture. It’s where they take family pictures for all special occasions now.”
For the living room, the existing grey sectional sofa offered a nice anchor, so Nina brought in abstract artwork, twinkly brass accents, more color, and ample greenery.
“My inspiration was a mix of boho, California casual, glam, and rustic, but my main goal was to make the whole space brighter and airier,” says Nina. “They loved the artwork so much that I pulled some of the colors into the pillows. Then I layered in neutral and textural pillows in between to create more depth. The brass in the coffee and side tables also worked to warm up the room.”
While the built-in bench was a custom splurge, one of the most stunning pieces in the house is shockingly off-the-rack. The gorgeous, solid wood dining room table is from Home Depot. Its organic pattern and sturdy size lends heft and presence to the dining room, further taking the home out of the expected and into the ordinary, which fits nicely with Nina’s style.
“If I had to describe my design style, I’d say: modern, eclectic, lived-in and approachable,” Nina explains.
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