This Maximal Minimalist California Home Doesn’t Take Itself Too Seriously — but It’s Seriously Stylish

published Nov 12, 2022
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Living room with curved sofas and amoeba table
Credit: Aaron Snyder

Designer Michelle “Meeshie” Fahmy of Haus of Meeshie knows a thing or two about creating spaces that are sophisticated but also soulful, energetic yet grounded, and whimsical without being too weird (unless that’s what her clients want, of course). These opposing forces in her work always balance out in the end, thanks to her expert use of color and attention to detail. With its warm grounded palette and subtle pattern play, this recently completed project of Fahmy’s, a couple’s first home in California, stands as a testament to that ethos exactly.

When her clients (and close friends) first bought this mid-century home, it had good bones but was a bit of a hodgepodge due to renovations made over the years and a drab color scheme of gray, beige, and yellow. The primary bath was very ‘80s and not in a good way — think built-in tiled tub surround and beige countertops — and the kitchen needed a facelift.

As for the rest of the house, everything felt visually heavy, which was the opposite of the bright, more modern look the homeowners wanted. “The modest-sized home was very dark with very reddish stained mahogany wood floors and cabinetry in the main living areas that needed to go,” says Fahmy. “The fireplace had a thick dark wood frame surround, flanked by built-in cabinetry on both sides, which made the long, narrow space feel cramped.”

When it came time to refresh, Fahmy was tasked with bringing the couple’s vision to life. Her clients went with a fairly classic color scheme of black, white, and cream with pops of earthy mustards, reds, and fern greens that run throughout the entire home. “As a forever maximalist and advocate of ‘more as more,’ this was a little bit of an exercise in restraint for me,” says Fahmy. “But I ended up loving the challenge of putting the Haus of Meeshie stamp on a more neutral color palette.” 

According to Fahmy, the goal was never to gut the home but to give it a facelift with “thoughtful updates” in partnership with Onyx Development, who served as the general contractor on the project. They kept the vintage finger parquet floors throughout most of the house (“Something of that quality is always worth working with rather than having them go to waste,” says Fahmy) but lightened and fancied things up a bit with pre-finished European oak herringbone floors in the main living area, where the focal fireplace wall got some light demo and streamlining. As for the furnishings in the space, “furniture was selected to create inviting conversation areas — the two curved sofas in the living room combined with the amoeba-shaped coffee table — are a favorite moment and allow ample seating that still feels open,” says Fahmy. 

Located right off the main living area, the kitchen, originally intended to get a total remodel with all new stained wood cabinetry, turned into more of a refurbishing job because of the high cost of lumber. Coated Sherwin-Williams’ Tricorn Black (SW 6258) and topped with new white Caesarstone White Attica countertops (with a matching backsplash), the existing cabinets now ooze sophistication. New stainless steel appliances contrast with the golden hardware, while wooden open shelving further warms up the other cooler tones in the space. 

The bathroom itself is a maximal minimalist’s dream. There, Fahmy riffed on the same herringbone pattern installed in the main living areas’ floors with a graphic mustard, white, and marble chevron tile wainscoting. When combined with the graphic tiled square floors and a complementary checkerboard rug used as a bath mat, the room is pure pattern play, but in the most subtle of ways. A fun geometric wallpaper provides another pop of print in the attached water closet, while a modern soaker tub and glass shower combo further welcomes the room into the current century with a relaxing, spa-like feel.

Credit: Aaron Snyder

Finally, with its mix of natural textures, large plants, and vintage area carpet, the primary bedroom has decidedly boho undertones. Like most of the other rooms in the home, the bedroom also got a fresh coat of Benjamin Moore’s White Dove (OC-17) and new window dressings. CB2’s Antoni King Bed serves as the focal point, with a piece by artist Mike Willcox hanging above it.

From start to finish, the project took almost exactly a year to complete, and, of course, the team encountered some shopping delays and supply chain issues that set the timeline back a bit. The couple and designer alike handled a pivot or two with aplomb when sourcing challenges prevented them from getting their initial picks. Now the couple, avid entertainers, can’t believe they call this space their home. “It’s incredible the huge impact thoughtful changes can have on a space, and it’s something I’ll never get over as a designer,” says Fahmy. “The clients always comment that it feels so much like ‘their’ home now. The new and improved home has already seen so many epic holidays, parties, and doggy play dates, and they’re just getting started!”