Before & After

How to Modernize your Bungalow with Paint

I had the opportunity to help a local San Diego client transform the exterior of their home. We turned their salmon colored time capsule into a cool and breezy mid century modern bungalow with the help of some shiny new paint selections and other minor modifications. Let's walk through the process and I'll share some tips on how to achieve a similar look.


We took a little waltz around the front of the house together and chatted about the vision of her home, how she wanted it to look, budget, colors and overall vibes. I brought some photos for inspiration and we went from there. 


We decided it was best to remove the window white shutters and some of the foliage outside up against the house. They weren't helping our clean line vibes and we wanted a more modern feel. We agreed to update the house numbers to kick things up a bit as well. I proposed a bright white and a few shades of deep dark gray. The client ended up choosing Tricorn Black and Pure White by Sherwin Williams. It turned out bright and beautiful - a real cool kids house.

:: AFTER ::


A few things to keep in mind when painting your home to give it a fresh, modern look:

1. Choose only two colors and make sure they aren't monochromatic. You don't want two of the same color in a different shade unless one is REALLY saturated and the other is REALLLLLLY light. You want the contrast of color - it will make all the difference and give enough punch to deliver that modern look.

2. Go bold and dark with the trim paint. Keep the main elements neutral so you have the luxury of adding color with small pops. Less is more.

3. Remove any landscaping that looks like it could have been planted in 1962. Although we want the mid-century bungalow look that stems from that era, the future has made leaps and bounds in the area of cool let's chuck any shrubbery that could have been shaped into Disney characters at some point or another. More on cool landscaping later...

4. Switch up your house numbers to something you'd find in Palm Springs - some great resources are here, here and here

xo, Vanessa

:: Bungalow Photo Credit 1 :: Bungalow Photo Credit 2 :: 

Eclectic Glam Condo Remodel - Before & Afters

Today I'm sharing the complete remodel of a condo I worked on in Westwood, Los Angeles. I remember first walking through the space with my client. The current tenants had not moved out and it was in escrow. The walls were dark and everything in the home felt like the year 1980 had a bad hair day. I also remember feeling like the space would be a design challenge when I walked through. We had to create space and functionality everywhere we could. We worked together as a great team and transformed the space into something beautiful, bright, eclectic and modern. I hope you enjoy the before & afters!

The new and updated wood flooring is a European Oak in a beautiful 7.5" wide plank - to die for. We opened up the entire kitchen entry to feel wide and spacious. We also removed a wall where the peninsula/bar area now resides. Also, what would a kitchen bar be without a built-in wine fridge? Where style and function become besties.

Since this condo had limited space, we wanted to make it as functional as possible. I had my cabinet maker fabricate a beautiful and huge wall unit for the living room - we chose classic shaker cabinets and added 8" tongue and groove planks behind the television area for added style.

We started with a brick fireplace and wall to wall mirror above it. We tore it all down and updated it with this One Kings Lane mirror and these funky tiles to give it a moroccan-modern vibe. I love the way it turned out. Simple, yet unique.

Prior to the remodel, there was a wall diving the kitchen and a HUGE fridge shoved in the corner where the peninsula now exists. I love seeing this photo and how transformative the kitchen remodel made the entire space feel open and bright. 

We did custom cabinetry throughout, down to the inch. We needed to save space, so I chose a dishwasher drawer and added as many cabs as possible on the bottom. I decided to pitch open shelving uppers to keep the kitchen feeling spacious.

One of my favorite makeovers of the home. My client fell in love with this tile and it's really a showstopper. This bathroom is a clean and modern oasis of cool.

Lastly, meet Ollie. He likes to superman dive into this beautiful rug and slide across the floor like a lightning bolt. Ollie is really happy with the modifications of the transition into the bedrooms and bathroom. If you can imagine, the back wall was a bathroom vanity IN THE HALLWAY. To the left of Ollie was a floor-to-ceiling built-in that cramped the entire space. It felt small and closed off. The hallway feels so bright and spacious now - its all so lovely. 

There you have it! For more photos of my projects and idea books, follow me on Houzz.

xo, Vanessa

Studio Matsalla Boutique Before & After Transformation

I thought it would be fun to share the transformation I made to my design studio/retail space here Carlsbad, California. I wanted to create a refined and modern California-inspired space with a Bohemian vibe. Since I'm a hop from the beach and situated close to the downtown Carlsbad area, I wanted a bright and inspiring space that would continue to inspire me every day - and reflect the laid back vibe of the surrounding beach town.



When I rented this space, it came along with a green and yellow paint combination, varying in shade from wall to wall. The black rubber baseboards weren't doing anyone any good so those also had to take a hike. 


I originally considered polishing the concrete floor but the crack in the middle was too severe and I later decided on a warmer vibe and overall feel. I decided to go with a laminate floor that would be scratch resistant and weather any foot traffic for years to come.

I love this space. I'll take you through a before & after of the design library and bathroom I remodeled in the back area as well soon! Most of the merchandise pictured is for sale under the "SHOP" section of my website. If it's not there and you're interested, just shoot us an e-mail!

xo, Vanessa

Cottage Bathroom Remodel - Before and After

Comin' atcha with yet another bathroom remodel this beautiful Monday. There's nothing better than creating a bright, uplifting space that makes your heart beat. Here is what lè bathroom looked like BEFORE!

This master bathroom was interesting to say the least. First, the mirrors hung so low that when you stood in front of it, your head was chopped off because of the upper window placement. No bueno. The other design dilemma was that the shower was REALLY tiny and had an all around dungeon-vibe. Double no bueno.

I took those problems and slapped on some awesome. I wanted to stay in alignment with my client's request to incorporate natural elements and have a soothing appeal. Here is what I came up with below!

We modified the windows above the mirror and moved them to the wall left of the vanity. I also converted the stand-up shower to a huge tub shower to open up the room and of course, allow for a bigger shower space.

There you have it, folks.

xo, Vanessa

Modern Beach House Bathroom Remodel

The delivery of these "after" photos made my heart palpitate. This transformation was a satisfying and rewarding renovation; one of my most favorite to-date. Since my clients live near the ocean, they wanted to tie in a modern vibe with natural elements of the beach. I think we did just that. I hope you enjoy the before and afters as much as I enjoyed designing!


The original shower was pushed up against the back wall on the left and everything just felt dated and uninspiring. We didn't want the toilet facing the bathtub and felt the need to open the space up a bit.


We added a nook in front of the toilet to make room for a towel rack and some decorative items. We wanted the space to feel more open but also serve a purpose. 

Vanessa bath lo res (5 of 7).jpg

I ran the floor tiles into the dam and shower bench for a more cohesive look. We went with a linen tile on the walls that tied nicely into the pebble shower floor. She's a beauty!

AFTER photos by Gail Owens Photography

xo, Vanessa