A family of four remodeled their cramped 1950s house into a lighter, brighter, just-a-bit-wider space fit for entertaining and fun
Kelly Phillips Badal
1 of 7Lisa Romerein
Second chance ranch
The first time Piper Underwood set foot in her classic red ranch home in Del Mar, California, she cried with happiness. “This house resonated with me deeply—the style, the light, the scenery,” she recalls. Piper was so enamored that she put in an offer before her husband, Chris, had even seen it. Sure, the L-shaped house was on the slender side, but it was otherwise a dream find.
Ten years later, that ranch house started feeling a bit too lean. “As my sons got bigger, the walls seemed narrower,” says Piper. The couple eventually hired San Francisco–based architect Nick Noyes, landscape designer Lisa Chestnut, and interior designer and friend Raili Clasen of Newport Beach, California. To gain some space, Noyes widened the interior by 300 feet, expanding into a former porch and exterior walkway. “The goal was to open up the ranch but retain its good bones and low-key vibe,” says Noyes.
Prop styling: Michael Walters
2 of 7Lisa Romerein
In their renovation of the Underwood family’s home in Del Mar, California, architect Nick Noyes and interior designer Raili Clasen added both square footage and strategic storage. This back entry creates room to hang and hide away outdoor gear. Black-and-white wallpaper and oversize pegs give the space a playful look suited to the family. Buffalo Check wallpaper by Weavingmajor, from $5/sq. ft.
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To create a wider living space, Noyes removed a bathroom and guest room, expanded outward into an exterior walkway, and raised the roof by 18 inches. Burgundy Douglas fir floorboards were swapped for light oak hardwood, and the space was re-designed with a wraparound concrete hearth reminiscent of a similar one from Piper’s childhood home. A white-painted steel-tie rod braces the exposed beams of the lifted ceiling. “It’s a quirky architectural detail that’s so much lighter than using a big wooden support beam,” explains Noyes. Linen Edlyn sectional in Driftwood, $3,300. Cuba lounge chair in soaped oak, $790.
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Behind a white oak dining table, a sliding farmhouse-style door hides the ranch’s chicest new feature: a fully functional bar. “It’s like a speakeasy you’d stumble across in New York City,” says Clasen. The black shelving and brass hardware act as counterpoints to the home’s neutral palette. Chris, on Clasen’s advice, enlarged a vintage photo of a delivery car from his family’s wine-and-spirits company for the bar’s interior. Big Sur dining table in natural, from $1,500, and benches, from $800. Wishbone chairs in oak, from $600 each. Random pendant light, from $655.
The boys’ rooms got a light refresh with the remodel. In the bedroom of older brother Owen, a giant world map makes a colorful decorative statement (and is educational to boot). Owen and his dad are avid surfers, so surfboards are leaned against walls throughout the house. Classic world map (similar to shown), from $144.
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A former front porch now houses a sunny and serene guest bedroom that doubles as an office space. Rolling farmhouse doors (the same as those guarding the dining room’s bar) contain another hidden design detail: a built-in desk. The Underwoods added French doors to give their guests a private entrance. Tribe Gold print, $95/unframed. Coyuchi Ripple duvet, from $300.