A Modest Bungalow Transforms into a Family Vacation Paradise

Like what you see? Take a peek at the talent behind the story… Designer: Madison Lussier of Madison Nicole Design · Photographer: Molly Rose Photo

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Madison Lussier of Madison Nicole Design has more than a few tricks up her sleeve. When she took on the remodel of this modest Santa Barbara bungalow, the homeowners had grand plans for a shared family vacation home. By removing closets, reconfiguring bedrooms and using a bright white throughout she created a space that feels just as big and cheerful as the family that inhabits it. So grab a pina colada and channel some vacation vibes as you tour the exquisite photos by Molly Rose Photo.

From the designer… After years of annual vacation trips in a rental property, the homeowners purchased this house as a vacation home for their family. Every year during the same week, the entire extended family, including aunts, uncles, cousins, grandkids and grandparents, all come to the beach town of Santa Barbara to spend time together. They are the most generous, kind-hearted people who love to entertain and share their home with people they love. It’s hard not to feel like you want to be a part of their family from the first time you meet them! I know that even though we have wrapped up their project, we will remain friends because they are just the type of people that you want in your circle.

One of the main considerations driving this project was to maximize every inch of the space, making it more functional and the perfect little beach house for the family. The 1200 sq ft bungalow is small like a lot of the beach homes around the area. Originally, it had a galley style kitchen, three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The remodeled space added a third bathroom, and we opened up one of the bedrooms to increase the size of the kitchen.

The home is small, so there isn’t a dedicated entry space in the home. You essentially walk directly into the living room, but it was still a priority to create a space that felt warm and inviting. The addition of Dutch doors allows for the perfect ocean breezes and welcoming feeling. The large console with stunning mirrors hung above provides a dropping point for keys, sandals, and phones. We sourced a beautiful, oversized piece of artwork to go directly across from the entry door. It’s definitely coastal inspired, and sets the tone for the entire home.

The living room was a significant challenge. Again, maximizing seating areas while keeping everything functioning seamlessly was the goal. I was concerned about getting the scale of the furniture just right — too big, and you can’t walk around, too small, and it’s not going to be comfortable or accommodate this large family. The full-size sofa, love seat, and swivel chair ended up being perfect. We also included poufs that tuck away in the entryway console that can be pulled out for a few extra seats when needed. We also adjusted the shape of the fireplace slightly to allow a TV to be mounted above, resurfaced it with Portola Paints Roman Clay, and modernized it with a new gas insert.

The kitchen layout was completely redesigned. We opened up a bedroom to allow for a kitchen island and open floor plan between the living room, kitchen and dining room. When the family gathers, they truly like to spend as much time together as possible, so we opted for a custom bench seat because it takes up less space than chairs.

To maximize seating around the large pedestal table in the dining room, we commissioned a custom dining bench by Twist Custom with Walter G fabrics.

We reworked the primary bedroom so that it had a full bathroom attached to it. Previously, one bathroom served all three bedrooms. We gave up a bit of closet space, but it made sense because this is a vacation home and there’s not quite as much that needs to be stored. By reworking the space we were able to fulfill the client’s request for a sizable shower, a full-size bathtub, a double vanity, and a separate room for the toilet. The space is functional, comfortable and it turned out amazing!

The newly added guest bathroom used to be two separate closets in the center area of the house. We reworked it to get a single vanity and an eye-catching shower. We used a bold, blue tile from Bedrosians laid in a creative pattern for extra interest. The same luxury vinyl plank that is in the rest of the house ran through here, balancing the space with warm tones.

We used Benjamin Moore Simply White throughout the house, and opted for a bold choice of Narragansett Green for the kitchen cabinetry.

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