Nest: In a New Light

Designer Ricki Stevens brings an airy casualness to a formal house in Carmichael.
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great room

Sometimes a home is oozing with the potential to become a beautiful, welcoming space, but it may need a little help getting there. That was the case with a 1980s-era Carmichael home that designer Ricki Stevens recently transformed for a client.

“The style of the home prior to us working on it was more formal. There were lots of dark hunter greens, burgundies, golds; it all had a heavier feel,” says Stevens. “We wanted to lighten it up, to create a functional space that was inviting and had a light, airy feel.”

Designer Ricki Stevens moved the cook top from the island to the kitchen wall, adding a custom hood above to serve as a counterpoint to the fireplace in the great room. “The contractor built the hood a few times for us until we got the exact shape we wanted,” she says.
Upper cabinets that once flanked the kitchen sink were replaced with floating shelves in an attempt to usher more light into the space. A tile backsplash that reaches the ceiling elongates the room. Photo by Dianne Nicole.

The challenge, however, was that the house had a deficit of natural light. “We had to figure out how to lighten up the space without making any major structural changes,” says Stevens. By strategically expanding the size of some windows, covering the dark walls in white paint and selecting finishes and fabrics in lighter hues, Stevens brightened up nearly every corner of the home while introducing a calm, soothing mood to the space.

Stevens added a simple floating shelf and spruced up the space with art from the owner’s collection.
The narrow thoroughfare-style space required a light touch in terms of furnishings, so Stevens added a simple floating shelf and spruced up the space with art from the owner’s collection. Photo by Dianne Nicole.

The designer was mindful of making choices that reflected the personal tastes of the homeowner, a single woman with adult children. “This particular client wanted a refined feel and for things to not be too casual or to feel too immature,” explains Stevens. “She loves original art and already had a great collection. By using it throughout the home, the space feels very personal. After all, we want it to feel like home to them, not like a stuffy showroom.”

Carpet and dark paneling were weighing down the formal living room, which now has a custom limestone fireplace.
Carpet and dark paneling were weighing down the formal living room, which now has a custom limestone fireplace surround and linen drapery and furnishings. “I love the look of linen,” says Stevens. “It gives a refined look that is timeless and livable.” Photo by Dianne Nicole.

Stevens also utilized some of the client’s existing furniture, light fixtures and area rugs in the makeover. “At some point they chose those items because they love them, right? Sometimes we can breathe new life into them by surrounding them with new elements.”

 Stevens squared up the space, making way for an expansive L-shaped vanity.
Prior to the remodel, the main elements were awkwardly placed on an angle. Stevens squared up the space, making way for an expansive L-shaped vanity. Photo by Dianne Nicole.

Resources
INTERIOR DESIGN: Ricki Stevens Design
CONTRACTOR: A.Z. Custom Construction