Before & After: A Creative Couple Give Their Spanish Revival Home a Punchy Upgrade
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Before & After: A Creative Couple Give Their Spanish Revival Home a Punchy Upgrade

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By Melissa Dalton
A design duo reimagines a neglected Spanish Revival in Sacramento, adding light, color, and graphic tile.

Having gone untouched for some 70 years, this 1935 home in the Land Park neighborhood of Sacramento was in dire need of being updated when Christina Valencia and Kele Dobrinski bought it. The couple, founders of the multifaceted design studio Colossus Mfg., took the opportunity to tweak the layout for modern living and weave in a palette of high-contrast finishes, all while retaining many of the home’s characterful elements. 

"We wanted to stay true to the home’s traditional Spanish bones while giving it a fun, modern refresh that could accommodate our young family of five," the firm says. Let’s see the evolution: 

Before: Exterior

Before: Since the house had sat so long unattended, the renovation required the couple to install all new plumbing and electrical, as well as a new HVAC system. Still, that neglect is what endeared them to the project: "It needed some serious love...which is what made it a gem to us, as it was being overlooked by others who saw it as too big of a project to tackle," says Valencia.

After: Exterior

The couple introduced new landscaping and privacy walls, one of which screens off a new pool in the front yard. The exterior received a fresh coat of white stucco, architectural embellishment around the bell, and black paint on shutters and original metal windows.

Before: Entry

Before: The entry needed updates to enhance its curb appeal.

After: Entry

Now, new concrete embellished with a cement tile pad brings "an extra layer of texture when you walk in," says Valencia. Spindles were added to the restored second-floor railing for safety, before it got a new coat of paint. All new lighting makes the exterior more welcoming, as does the refreshed front door, thanks to its new sea foam color.

After: Entry Interior

Doorways received new salvaged wood headers for added character and to let more light through. "The exterior of the home is traditional Spanish Revival, but the original interior lacked some of those traditional Spanish design elements," said Valencia. "Adding the headers helped to carry that Spanish style through the interior of the home and visually communicate the age of the house." The original hardwood flooring was restored throughout, and the cactus wallpaper is from Anewall on Etsy.

Before: Living Room

Before: Beige tones and dreary lighting left the living room uninspired.

After: Living Room

White paint considerably brightens up the space, and now the living room overlooks the pool.

The original fireplace was cleaned up and repaired. "Also, the room previously had just a small passageway to the kitchen and no real place to put a television. We’re not big TV watchers, so we wanted to keep the mantle TV-free, so that it was not a focal point of the room," says Valencia. "We opened up the passage to the kitchen to give the home a modern layout and added a built-in TV/media cabinet (on the left wall)." 

Before: Dining Room and Kitchen

Before: Three tiny rooms at the back of the house, including the kitchen, were opened up and reconfigured to create better connection and circulation between the kitchen and dining room. 

After: Dining Room and Kitchen

By reconfiguring the spaces, the couple were able to add more windows and bring in more natural light. Two original elements of the house were left as is in a nod to its history: the dining room’s exposed Douglas fir ceiling and the brick chimney uncovered during the construction.

The new kitchen has much more elbow room and an eat-in bar clad in graphic, black-and-white tile. Carrera marble tile laid in a herringbone pattern covers the backsplash, while the counters are honed marble, at the back, and walnut, at the island. 

Before: Guest Bath

Before: The couple kept the sink, basic layout of fixtures, and window in the guest bath.

After: Guest Bath

Black-and-white cement tile syncs with the kitchen tile, and maintains the high-contrast motif throughout. A gold faucet gussies up the old sink, and a new mirror and sconces bring in more style than the clinical versions before.

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Before: Master Bedroom

Before: In order to make the room feel larger, the couple raised the ceiling height by 18 inches.

After: Master Bedroom

Original floors were restored, windows were painted, and a coat of white paint enlivens the room.

Before: Master Bathroom

Before: An old sunporch was split into two rooms, with one side becoming the master bathroom to create an en-suite.  

After: Master Bathroom

The new shower is wrapped in 12" x 23" Calacata Gold porcelain tiles from Porcelanosa.

An engineered quartz counter tops a custom walnut vanity.

Before: Kids’ Room

Before: The other half of the old porch became a children’s room.

After: Kid's Room

In order to rebuild the room to code, the couple had to swap out the old windows for new units, remove the wood and fit in insulation, and then reinstall the boards, which were painted. The 9' x 22' room will get bunkbeds when their youngest is old enough.

Before: Backyard

Before: "In the back, we added a deck off the back porch, transformed a crumbling brick fireplace into a wood-fired pizza oven, added a fire pit and fountain, as well as a kids’ play area with a swing set," says Valencia.

After: Backyard

A close-up of the fire pit lounge area with the water feature outfitted in cement tile, making a lovely backdrop that ties together with the interior finishes. 

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