A California Home’s Black, White & (Leafy) Green Remodel
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Name: Victor Hoffman (he shares with roommates)
Location: La Mesa, California
Size: 852 square feet
Years lived in: 4 years, owned
I found my house as a rental. My intention was to rent for a year or two and then purchase a house once I knew what I wanted. My dog Gunner was a big dog so I needed a place with a decent-sized backyard. This house fit the bill. As strange as it sounds, once I moved in I felt a connection to this place. It was close to friends, conveniently located in regards to getting around the San Diego area, and only about a 20-minute drive to the break I like to surf.
Ironically, about seven months into renting, the landlord contacted me and asked if I would like to purchase the place as his wife was pregnant and they would be moving back to Florida. I was not prepared to purchase a house. However, they were patient as I researched my options. They offered to discount what they would have paid a realtor if we could do the purchase using a real estate lawyer rather than realtor. The instant equity was too good to pass up.
Once I purchased I really wanted to redo the “cheap remodel” kitchen. So with a little encouragement from a friend I soon found myself with a demolished kitchen. I knew I wanted something more industrial and minimal. However, I wasn’t fully certain of the plan. It took about a year to get to the current point. I’m still debating upper cabinets or open shelving on one wall of the kitchen. But, I love the way it’s turned out so far. It’s all my design and work (except actually building the cabinets).
Surfing is something that I picked up about five years ago. It has become my favorite getaway and even a bit of an addiction. It’s something I can do both when I want to hang out with people and when I want to get away from them all. Surfing’s influence is pretty well reflected in some of the art and pieces around the house. I have a couple of small prints from some North Shore (Hawaii) artists and I hope to get some larger ones in the collection. I’ve also framed a couple of my own photographs. One is the very active parking lot of my surf spot. A couple of others represent Giamani’s shrimp truck on the North Shore. One of my favorite “impact” pieces is an old surfboard, which I painted black.
I really do dig minimalism both industrial and Scandinavian. Clean lines and mid-century modern also appeal to me a lot. Some of these influences are in my house. But, it’s a small place so I focus on reducing clutter, frequent editing, and being happy with a minimalist “influence.” Also, turns out I’m pretty good with plants so those keep popping up.
What is your favorite room and why? The kitchen because other than actually building the cabinets I did the design and work. The concrete counter tops were a great learning experience and some of the “failures” became the corner end tables in my living room. I also really like the way the stove backsplash came out. Basically, the way the kitchen looks is 100% me and I dig it.
Any advice for creating a home you love? Pay attention to the people, places and things you interact with while truly living life. Look for ways to incorporate them into whatever style you are drawn to. I have a great friend whose son thinks for some reason I’m the cat’s ass. During his recent dinosaur phase, I found myself buying a print from a North Shore artist, Jonas Claesson, which combined a dinosaur and surfing. That print now hangs in my dining area. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing just notice and you will find something that matches your style. Take your time to build… don’t do it all at once. But also remember to occasionally get rid of something when you bring home something new. It helps keep the clutter down.
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