When Juaneice of La Casa Azul Design plans a home, it’s all about functional beauty. She challenges each of her designs to meet the demands of everyday life while retaining its gorgeous finishings. That’s just what she accomplished in today’s tour of this San Juan Capistrano home. Read on to learn more about the designer behind the beauty and hear how southern charm, client collaboration, and a chance encounter with a marble slab turned this 35-year-old home into a grand statement.
This year you’ll be celebrating 10 years in business, congratulations! Tell us a bit about how you got your start as an interior designer and how your business has evolved over the last decade.
Design was a second career for me. My husband and I had been through some pretty difficult years and I had a season of boldness where I realized that life is very brief and fear is not going to make anything happen. So I started working toward my goals. My business has evolved drastically over the years as we work very closely with our clients to connect the design to their lifestyle.
You’ve expressed your passion for globe-trotting and love of new experiences. With limited travel this past year, what other aspects of life have been influencing your design style?
The recent limitations have allowed me to explore locally. We have spent so much time this last year at the beach, walking the trails, and exploring our own community and the surrounding areas. The changes have allowed me to really focus on making home the place you want to be the most.
You’ve shared that you really enjoy the collaborative process with your clients. What are the keys to a successful designer-client relationship? What did you love most about working with this homeowner?
The key to a successful client relationship is listening on both sides. I have to listen to what the client wants and in turn, they listen to my professional recommendations for their home. When that happens it’s a beautiful thing and a great design always emerges.
Tell us a bit about the story behind the home we’re featuring today.
This home was built about 35 years ago in San Juan Capistrano. The clients were wanting a home that was casual but grand at the same time. Since they are both from the south, they are used to the grandiose design gestures the south is known for. So we came up with a plan to use texture, stone, and other natural materials to bring in the comforts of home.
This kitchen is modern, yet warm and inviting. What did the creative process look like for this design?
Balance. Whenever we are bringing a new contemporary element into a project we always counterbalance it with a warmer element. So if we are using a contemporary cabinet style, we balance it by using a warm color. When adding natural stone we were looking for one that had warm tones in it as well. The Calacatta marble we used was not in our original plan, however, when I saw this slab, I called the client immediately and told her I had found something so amazing it was a must-see. When she saw it she fell in love immediately and we never looked back. This was one of the great selections that brought this kitchen together so well.
What’s your favorite design element of this project?
The Calacatta Marble. I am afraid the pictures are not doing this stone justice it is simply striking. When the client saw this kitchen installed she said it looked like the prettiest of Pinterest pictures.
Can you share any tips on how to use wood tones while also keeping the overall look modern and fresh?
We most often use a custom blend of stains to come with a custom color that works. When using stain my best advice would be to not stray too far from tones that wood can be naturally. When you alter a wood tone too drastically from its natural tone, this is what makes sure it will date and stay timeless. When working with paint colors—taupes are beautiful and timeless, just stay away from yellow undertones in stain and paint and you will be fine.
What is one design element no room/project should be without?
Great Lighting. Without lighting, design always falls flat. Even if it’s a simple sconce, it really elevates the design.
What does a well-lived home mean to you?
Everything is beautiful, everything functions so well. It’s a home that can welcome one and all, work overtime for all the various uses it has and still look fantastic at the end of the day!
Now, more than ever, we’re all seeking a luxury mini-vacation in our own homes. Can you share some tips on how to achieve staycation success?
A Luxurious retreat is what we are aiming for every time we approach a project. One of the easiest ways to do this is with high-quality fabrics and materials. When you are making selections, low-quality materials don’t wear well and start to break down really quickly. When quality is a main part of the selection process your home will feel like a luxurious vacation home in no time.