They’re almost done. Leyla Bowden Jaworski and husband Scott have just about finished transforming their 1980s Folsom tract house into a hip, suburban hideaway, and, boy, are they happy. Just a bit of landscaping in the front and a treehouse out back for their 3-year-old son, Jake, and this reno is a wrap. It’s been a long haul: four years long. They worked on it as time and budget allowed, and now, ta-da, they have the house they want. Late last year, Leyla stood in her kitchen/family room and thought back to her first sight of the house. It was small—1,195 square feet—and it had some weird features, but it was definitely doable. She remembers thinking: “This is good bones. I know what I can do with this.” The first day they moved in, she took out a giant, view-killing cabinet in the kitchen. “That, in itself, changed everything,” she says. “We lived with it that way for three years, and when it came time, I knew what I wanted to do.” Scott’s take? Yes, the house looks great, but more important, it functions. “When we moved in, it was the exact opposite of functional and operational,” he says. “Everything Leyla did was meant for use. Everything is meant to be used and to be casual at the same time.” So don’t look for a formal living room or stuffy dining setup. “We don’t have those things because we don’t need them,” Scott says. Simple enough.
DESIGNER 411: Leyla Bowden Jaworski, owner of Design Shop—Interiors & Staging in Folsom. This is the Jaworskis’ second multiyear house project. Their first was a Victorian in Weehawken, N.J. “My husband has moved more furniture and endured my renovations,” Leyla says. “I just tell him, ‘I need to get this done,’ and he helps me. He’s amazing.”
PHILOSOPHY:“When you’re on a budget, you need to get creative. I don’t have a fancy pedigree, but I can walk into a space, and a client will start talking about what they want, and I’m thinking, ‘OK, I got it.’ It just comes to me—it’s all up here. I like to be in a pretty space, and I like to give people pretty spaces.”
RENOVATION RUNDOWN: Floor to ceiling and everything in between. Windows and doors added, subtracted, reconfigured. Leyla created an entry off the kitchen and moved the washer and dryer from a hallway to the garage to make the master bath bigger. (Excellent choice.)
CONTRACTORS: Steven Dedrick, Dedrick Construction of Gold River; Mike Bowden (Leyla’s dad), MW Bowden Construction of Folsom
KITCHEN MAGIC: Cabinets from IKEA. “My fabulous furniture guy Nate (Brown) fabricated my island top and shelves. . . . The island top is inexpensive pine. It was 100 bucks in materials.”
HUNTING AND GATHERING: “Both of my bathroom vanities are vintage cabinets I bought on Craigslist and sent to (Nate Brown) for modification and painting.”
COLOR STORY: “I love gray. All shades of gray. I would say 80 percent of the paint consults I’m doing, we’re doing gray. And if it’s not gray, it’s what I call greige. A beige-y gray.”
LITTLE BOY TOWN: “My son’s room was done before he was even born.” Leyla’s dad did the finish carpentry. Scott built the loft bed.
MASTER BATH MAKEOVER: “This was the single biggest expense. It was a lot of work to get the tub in the shower.” (But oh so worth it.)
FIREPLACE: Ugly ’80s brick gave way to modern style.
BACKYARD (BEFORE): “A horrible pergola on basically a dirt lot. We kept the trees, but everything else went.”
BACKYARD (AFTER): New pool and covered patio that runs the length of the house. A durable sectional that faces the pool in summer and is turned toward the outdoor TV in winter equals one happy family.
WHAT ELSE? A swing for adults. (Jake has his own.)
UBER-COOL OFFICE: A prefab from Modern Spaces in Chico. (Everyone needs one of these.)
LANDSCAPE CONTRACTOR: Jarrod Zehner, Backyard Customs of Folsom
PAINT IT BLACK: “I knew I wanted the outside of the house to be monochromatic. I did not want the trim to pop. I nearly went to charcoal, but I couldn’t find the right charcoal. Then I thought, ‘If I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it.’ I did have a moment of panic before the painter bought the black paint, but then I said, ‘Just do it.’ When it was done, my husband said, ‘I love it.’ Everybody loves it.”