It’s turned into a blessing in disguise.

Camille Styles Fire Pit
Rendering by YouSee Studio

This month marks three years since we bought a property and started work on our plans, and it’s hard to believe that after all this time, construction hasn’t started. We’ve gotten tied up in endless permitting delays with the city—too boring to get into here, but if you’d told me that we’d be in permitting for over two years, I don’t think I would have believed you.

Here’s what I wrote in my journal a couple months back:

“The waiting is a gift, if I choose to see it that way. If I choose to hold the ‘middle’ as part of the journey, I’ll arrive at the destination as a different person than the one who started. Am I rushing through, simply trying to get to the other side? Or am I growing in this process of creating? Let this time between be my teacher. Keep an active awareness. Be present. Be shaped by the experience. Endings don’t make us who we are—it’s the act of becoming that shapes us. When the house is done, I’ll look back and be grateful that we didn’t start construction the moment the keys were handed to us three years ago. It’s given us time to grow, and it’s given the house time to tell us what it wants to be.”

 In terms of “Things I’ve learned,” here are a few.


Camille Styles with Her Vision Board
Camille Styles with her vision board

Michelle Nash

This speaks to the above, but it’s an important and relatable point for anyone embarking on a home renovation project. There will be times when the project lags (it’s not “if,” it’s “when!”) so setting expectations for this in the beginning is key to keeping the process fun and not frustrating. Plus, it builds resilience!

Focus on What I Can Control

Camille Styles Property View

Rendering by YouSee Studio

I’ve learned to view the project in individual stages, and I’m trying to focus on how to most effectively move the needle forward in the stage that I currently am. Rather than get overwhelmed or frustrated by the length of the project as a whole, I’m instead focusing on: What can I do today to keep the project moving as effectively as possible? That’s all I can do, and I’m learning to let go of the rest.

Stay Open to the Design Process

Outdoor Kitchen and Dining

Rendering by YouSee Studio

One silver lining of the project taking longer than expected is that it’s allowing us lots of time to let our design decisions marinate and organically evolve. When we first bought the property, we were envisioning a very simple modern farmhouse design. However, in the years since, we’ve had a chance to dive into design inspiration, and as a result, our plans for the property have become so much richer and multilayered. I believe it’ll be a much more interesting end result. Rather than making a design decision and “locking” on it, we keep searching for inspiration and staying open to the process for as long as we have time to build on our ideas.

Creativity Within Constraints

Camille Styles Pool and Sauna

Rendering by YouSee Studio

The City of Malibu is a notoriously challenging place to renovate, and we’ve had to make some changes to our original plans based on their requirements. For example, we had initially planned to add square footage to the guest house (the apartment over our garage). However, the city wouldn’t allow it for various reasons, so we had to pivot and reconfigure the guest house plan to work within the existing 500-square-foot space. This was less than ideal; however we were able to get creative within constraints and come up with an alternate plan that will still be really cool and interesting. In fact, it may even be better. Rather than subdividing the area into different rooms, we’re keeping it as one open loft space that will feel more like a boutique hotel room.

Render the Dream

Camille Styles Outdoor Sauna

Rendering by YouSee Studio

The extra planning time gave us a chance to work with 3-D visualization team YouSee Studio, which was incredibly helpful in being able to get a truer sense of space planning and material choices. We had a chance to make changes based on the visualizations that will result in a final product we love even more—with fewer surprises.

Project Sourcebook

Here’s what Camille Styles had to say about the brands she has been working with to bring her vision to life.

Avocado Green Mattress: Good sleep and wellbeing are at the top of my priority list, so I’m thrilled to have certified organic Avocado Green mattresses on our beds. They’re more durable, breathable, and supportive than those made with synthetic materials.

Benjamin Moore: Benjamin Moore offers incredibly durable paints that stand up to years of wear and tear, so it was a no-brainer to use the iconic brand throughout this property. We spend so much time within the walls of our home, so it’s an area where quality reigns supreme. I love how a simple, fresh coat of paint can bring out the beauty of a room.

Burdge Architects: We worked with Doug Burdge and team to create a sophisticated, modern concept that elevates our beach bungalow—without sacrificing the indoor-outdoor “barefoot living” vibes we fell in love with.

Caesarstone: I’ve used Caesarstone in every single one of my design projects over the last decade—the function, beauty, and utilitarian ease they offer a home is game-changing.

California Closets: Some of the most important spaces of a home don’t get much recognition: a laundry room with dedicated places for folding and ironing, a mudroom where there’s a designated spot to stash stray shoes and bags. The experts at California Closets custom-designed these spaces to enhance our everyday life with optimal storage.

Duravit: I love products that marry utility and beauty, and the Duravit toilets, sinks, and tubs throughout our home will do just that. Their products deliver timeless quality and functionality that add a sense of ease to everyday life.

Eldorado Stone: From the beginning, I wanted to bring the grounding and calming element of stone into our design. Working with Eldorado Stone—the iconic brand revered for its wide range of stone and brick veneer products—our plans include statement stone walls throughout the property.

Emtek: Beauty is found in the smallest details, particularly when it comes to a well-designed home. The handles, knobs, and pulls throughout our home will be Emtek, whose beautifully crafted products I’ve loved and used for years.

FLD: Michael Fiore and team understood our vision for the Mediterranean-meets-Cali plantings. They’ve created a beautiful plan that will extend the living space into outdoor “rooms” throughout the property.

Humboldt Sawmill Company: We’re using natural materials throughout the entire project, and Humboldt Sawmill’s sustainable California redwood will play the starring role on the exterior of the house. This will be one of the most defining characteristics of our property.

Kallista: Kallista offers so many beautiful finishes, and my design eye is set on the brand’s unlacquered brass. It’s a warm, inviting metal with a rich aged patina.

Schneider Electric: Schneider Electric is helping us turn our 1950s beach bungalow into a home that’s both energy-smart and environmentally sound.

YouSee Studio: I was blown away by the beautiful 3-D visualizations created by the YouSee team. They’ve been an invaluable decision-making tool as we navigate the design process.

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