California Style Gets Clever

California Style Gets Clever

California Style Gets Clever


Designer Nina Jizhar helps a young couple renovate their once-basic space into a warm, relaxed, and super-custom home filled with smart storage.

Photos by Helynn Ospina

Designers tend to have a sense about their clients. Working so closely to execute someone’s vision means you pick up on things. You understand their needs before they do.

Which is why Homepolish designer Nina Jizhar had a feeling that the young couple renovating their 1500-square foot home might need more storage than they were letting on

During the initial consult I had a feeling that they would be expanding their family very soon even though they didn’t say it out loud,” Nina explains. “So clever closed storage spots were planted throughout the house, such as those built-in benches in the living room.”

Nina’s prediction was correct—midway through the project Pola and Danny told her they were expecting and with a four-month-old son they take full advantage of all that sneaky storage. Nina’s thoughts about the rest of the space were on track too. Her plan to create a laid-back, bright and balanced Oakland home was exactly correct. The vibe: modern and fresh, bright and airy.

“We definitely wanted to create an effortless space,” Nina says. “To achieve that we chose an earthy color palette, and brought in a lot of natural materials and plants, selected furnishings and fixtures with modern lines, and added cozy layers.”

Nina says the trick to creating a welcoming space that’s still awash in neturals is selecting the right shades.

“Layering textures and pattern in warm tones is the key,” Nina says. “The massive sectional sofa is still in the gray family, however, it’s offset by the earth tones in the rug, the wood tables (both accent and dining), leather armchairs, and lots of greenery.”

The serene scheme underplays the seriously smart choices Nina made throughout the space. Nina created a plethora of open shelving options to display the couple’s collections, maximizing a recessed niche in the dining room. In the living room, they furred out the fireplace wall to accommodate a recessed TV and flanked the new wall with custom benches with storage underneath.

“I think this project really shows that having custom built-ins throughout the house not only offers the functionality to hide clutter, but also enhances the architecture of the house,” Nina explains.

Besides the bevy of built-ins, Nina was also tasked with updating the master suite, no small task considering the small size.

“The master bath is tiny,” Nina says. “We want to bring in materials in a lighter tone but with nice pattern and contrast to elevate the space. So the tiling are mostly black and white and to offset that, we brought in warmer wood tones in the millworks. For the fixtures and hardware, the brass would have ‘glammed it up,’ which we didn’t want. Matte black is the perfect icing on the cake—not too flashy but present enough to be noticeable.”

In the bedroom, Nina had one more nifty solution up her sleeve.

“As you can see there’s no room for a formal side table,” Nina explains. “So we selected a storage bed with pull out drawers underneath.”

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