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Designer Kelly Finley Maximized This California Home's Functionality

Jun 09, 2023

Nearly 1,000 square feet of space was added underneath the house.

When one California-based family decided to ramp up their home's functionality—with a nearly 1,000-square-foot dig-out of their basement plus a kitchen reno—they enlisted Kelly Finley of Joy Street Design. "We ended up designing, essentially, a new house on the lower level," Finley explains. "In each room, we were trying to maximize the space, because although we were increasing the footprint of the house, what they were trying to achieve in that space was difficult."

As with many homes in the Bay area, the Oakland house is located on a hill—you have to walk up three flights of stairs to get to the front door. The lower level was originally only a corner of the house that included a small room, bathroom, and HVAC system. Now, completely excavated and finished, it hosts a living room, main suite, kid's bedroom, laundry room, and two large closets.

On the main level, the original kitchen layout didn't make much sense. As an avid baker, the homeowner wanted to fix that by incorporating an island, coffee nook, and additional seating area. "We ended up doing a lot of functional space planning with all of the trappings that people really want: the pop-up KitchenAid mixer and a nice, deep pantry for spices," Finley says. "And she does canning, so she was looking for a hardworking kitchen."

Though it's technically a white kitchen—the first Finley has done since her very first design project, 10 years ago—it's still bursting with fun patterns and color. The space features two backsplashes, three cabinet colors, and three metal finishes. "The client didn't specifically request a white kitchen, but we like the deft mix of materials and knew the white would bring in balance to allow us to do that," the designer explains.

The end result? A vibrant, highly functional home. "They can use their house in a way they previously hadn't been able to, so that's amazing and the finished product is spectacular," Finley says.

Looking for more color inspiration? We can help.

Finley wanted to make sure the family had enough wall space to display their relatively large art collection, some of which fits perfectly on the living room walls. Coffee and side tables: Arteriors. Rug: Loloi. Throw blanket: Johanna Howard. Sofa, pillows, and artwork: client's own.

The white, brown, and purple cabinets mix with three metal finishes and two colorful backsplashes by Artistic Tile in the kitchen. Faucet: California Faucets. Cabinet hardware: Rejuvenation and Schoolhouse. Under-cabinet lighting: GetInLight.

A second geometric backsplash in the breakfast nook complements the main one across from it in the kitchen. Table: Noir Furniture. Backsplash tile: Artistic Tile.

In the laundry room, Finley had free reign. "We made it bright, colorful, and fun while maintaining the function the family needed," she says. Wallpaper: Drop It Modern. Floor tile: Tile Bar.

The kid's room is small, thanks to a bump-out that couldn't be altered because it's part of the home's structure. Finley incorporated a custom bed with a desk on one side and built-in storage so that the child could still have space in the room to play. For the design, Finley says they "showed him a pillow, then took every color from that pillow and incorporated it into the room." Wall paints: Peachy Keen, Rumba Orange, and Winter Ice by Mark Johnson. Bench cushion: NC Patio Cushions with fabric by Fabricut. Rug: Jaipur Living. Window shade: Fabricut/S. Harris. Bedding: Crate & Barrel. Desk chair: Article. Ladder and hardware: CS Hardware. Cabinet hardware: Amazon.

"We were focused on proper space planning to give them a truly luxurious primary suite," Finley says. Nightstands: Hooker Furniture. Rug: Jaipur Living.

With both a steam shower and freestanding tub, the bathroom off the main bedroom is a self-care oasis. Vanity: James Martin Vanities. Mirrors: Uttermost. Floor tile: Tile Bar. Shower tile: Genrose Stone + Tile. Plumbing fixtures: Kohler.

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Looking for more color inspiration? We can help. Coffee and side tables: Rug: Throw blanket: Sofa, pillows, and artwork Faucet: Cabinet hardware: Under-cabinet lighting: Table: Backsplash tile: Wallpaper: Floor tile: Wall paints: Bench cushion: Rug: Window shade: Bedding: Desk chair: Ladder and hardware: Cabinet hardware: Nightstands: Rug: Vanity: Mirrors: Floor tile: Shower tile: Plumbing fixtures: Follow House Beautiful on Instagram .