Before and After: A Neglected 1960s Ranch-Style Home Gets a Sunny Outdoor Connection

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By Melissa Dalton
From the front door to the backyard, no space was left behind in the dramatic overhaul of a derelict midcentury in Southern California.

On her wedding day in 2015, designer Abbie Naber of a.NABER Design and her husband closed on this four-bedroom, two-bath home in Cardiff-by-the-Sea, a community in North San Diego County, California. The demolition soon followed. The house had been built in 1960 and had not seen much attention since, aside from a few coats of paint. Skimpy slider windows, lackluster carpet and tile, and a slapdash backyard pergola all added up to an eyesore. 

Before

A pergola tacked onto the rear facade darkened the home's interior, and the indoor/outdoor connection was disjointed.

A pergola tacked onto the rear facade darkened the home's interior, and the indoor/outdoor connection was disjointed.

A dated brick pattern lay under the pergola.

A dated brick pattern lay under the pergola.

Naber carefully reworked the house's floor plan, expanding the kitchen to include a breakfast nook, adding a dining room where the pergola once stood, and opening up the new interior to a swoon-worthy back patio. Then she wove in artful finishes throughout, from patterned tile to sumptuous wallpaper to cozy textiles. Let's tour the results:

After

The pergola was removed, the exterior wall opened up, and a new dining room added. The 12-foot-long sliding doors, pocket doors manufactured by Western Window Systems, recede all the way into the wall for total indoor/outdoor flow. The new patio received cement tile—the Arc pattern from Clé Tile—its black and white palette coordinating with the new white paint and black window frames of the exterior.

The pergola was removed, the exterior wall opened up, and a new dining room added. The 12-foot-long sliding doors, pocket doors manufactured by Western Window Systems, recede all the way into the wall for total indoor/outdoor flow. The new patio received cement tile—the Arc pattern from Clé Tile—its black and white palette coordinating with the new white paint and black window frames of the exterior.

The new patio connects to a fire pit lounge area via the wood walkway. Naber worked with McCullough Landscape to fashion the cement and rock patio. Decomposed granite replaced the grass, and Naber planted succulents from her wedding alongside cacti and native plants for a more drought-tolerant landscape.

The new patio connects to a fire pit lounge area via the wood walkway. Naber worked with McCullough Landscape to fashion the cement and rock patio. Decomposed granite replaced the grass, and Naber planted succulents from her wedding alongside cacti and native plants for a more drought-tolerant landscape.

In the new dining room, the wall is lined with built-in maple cabinetry and topped with a white quartz counter. Naber defined the bar area with floating shelves and a backsplash composed of Glazed Brick tile from Clé Tile. Knowing that the large expanse of the back wall would draw the eye, Naber wanted a unique installation for it: the Roke mural wallpaper from Anewall. "This was one of the main ideas I had going into this addition," Naber says. "I love how it looks like the ocean and really ties the indoor in with the outdoor."

In the new dining room, the wall is lined with built-in maple cabinetry and topped with a white quartz counter. Naber defined the bar area with floating shelves and a backsplash composed of Glazed Brick tile from Clé Tile. Knowing that the large expanse of the back wall would draw the eye, Naber wanted a unique installation for it: the Roke mural wallpaper from Anewall. "This was one of the main ideas I had going into this addition," Naber says. "I love how it looks like the ocean and really ties the indoor in with the outdoor."

Naber defined the dining area with a wood beam treatment at the ceiling. "Our general contractor suggested raising the ceiling when we added the dining room so that the new space looked intentional and not a distinct add-on," Naber says. "So we upped the vertical height and decided to fill the extra area in with decorative beams."

Naber defined the dining area with a wood beam treatment at the ceiling. "Our general contractor suggested raising the ceiling when we added the dining room so that the new space looked intentional and not a distinct add-on," Naber says. "So we upped the vertical height and decided to fill the extra area in with decorative beams."

Shop the Look
Eames Sofa Compact
Eames Sofa Compact
The inspiration for the Eames Sofa Compact (1954) derived from a built-in sofa Charles and Ray Eames designed in the late 1940s for their home in Pacific Palisades, California.
Serena & Lily Tortola Lantern
Serena & Lily Tortola Lantern
A mood-setter for your gatherings, indoors or out. We love a nice grouping of different shapes and sizes – and the coastal air of the natural rattan.
Schoolhouse Electric Allegheny Indoor/Outdoor Sconce
Schoolhouse Electric Allegheny Indoor/Outdoor Sconce
Slim, modern and understated, the Allegheny Sconce is equally suited for both outdoor and indoor applications. Designed and rigorously tested to withstand direct exposure to the elements, it’s our luxurious take on utilitarian style.
Now the living area flows gracefully into the dining room and connects the view to the backyard. The new eight-foot by 11-foot window on the back wall ensures lots of natural light and "a true indoor-outdoor feel," says Naber. "We have beautiful sunsets and love being able to look out the windows into our backyard."

Now the living area flows gracefully into the dining room and connects the view to the backyard. The new eight-foot by 11-foot window on the back wall ensures lots of natural light and "a true indoor-outdoor feel," says Naber. "We have beautiful sunsets and love being able to look out the windows into our backyard."

A cozy mix of textures beckons from the living room.

A cozy mix of textures beckons from the living room.

Naber removed a sliding door and installed a four-foot extension in the kitchen to accommodate a stylish breakfast nook that overlooks the patio and backyard.

Naber removed a sliding door and installed a four-foot extension in the kitchen to accommodate a stylish breakfast nook that overlooks the patio and backyard.

Naber revamped the kitchen with flat-front white cabinets, durable solid surface Cosentino counters by Dekton, and West Elm pendents for a light and airy destination.

Naber revamped the kitchen with flat-front white cabinets, durable solid surface Cosentino counters by Dekton, and West Elm pendents for a light and airy destination.

In a bathroom, a credenza found on Etsy was topped with marble and converted to a vanity. Tulum tile from the Cement Tile Shop covers the floors while elongated subway tile, laid in a vertical grid, updates the walls. Schoolhouse Electric pendants complete the look.

In a bathroom, a credenza found on Etsy was topped with marble and converted to a vanity. Tulum tile from the Cement Tile Shop covers the floors while elongated subway tile, laid in a vertical grid, updates the walls. Schoolhouse Electric pendants complete the look.

At the entry, Naber improved the welcome via a new door with a fresh coat of black paint and brass hardware. A Clé tile threshold and a hanging mobile from Anthropologie further spruce the spot.

At the entry, Naber improved the welcome via a new door with a fresh coat of black paint and brass hardware. A Clé tile threshold and a hanging mobile from Anthropologie further spruce the spot.

Project Credits:

Design, including lighting and interiors: a.NABER Design

General Contractor: Rusty Johnson Construction

Landscape Design: McCullough Landscape

Photographer: Jenny Siegwart

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