Best Friends Forever


Ashley Macuga of Collected Interiors helps her best friend rethink her Redwood City home

A custom dining Table in the kitchen was made by Community Manufacturing and the Banquette is from Clad Home. All the plumbing fixtures are from Waterworks. Photos by Nicole Dianne Photography.

“In order to do our jobs well, we are clear that we must get to know our clients intimately,” says Ashley Macuga of Collected Interiors. “From their lives to their favorite things and the things that drive them crazy too, our approach to every project is collaborative, and our goal is to create homes that are truly personal and unique.”

The designer in the kitchen featuring sinks from Native Trails and custom Red oak cabinets.
Photos by Nicole Dianne Photography.
The pantry cabinetry are painted a pewter blue. Photos by Nicole Dianne Photography.

Luckily when hired to modernize this 1930s Spanish Revival home in Redwood City, she knew the clients better than most. “I have known the clients for years as one of the homeowners I am lucky enough to call a best friend,” she remarks. “Everyone says, don’t work with your friends—but I did it anyway—and it was one of the best creative experiences of my career because great design requires immense trust, and they trusted our team’s talent and vision.” So much so that they asked Macuga to tour the home prior to purchasing to ensure she could tailor it to their everyday lives. “The home had a presence that exuded elegance and welcomed you in, you could tell that the home had been loved deeply, but needed a lot of work to make it safe and functional for a family to live in,” she recalls. “It was the natural light that came cascading through the windows that really drew us in and as we walked around, the homeowner and I began dreaming up what might be, and making their dream a reality has been one of my greatest professional accomplishments to date.”

A chandelier from Visual Comfort hangs in the dining room. Photos by Nicole Dianne Photography.
A dramatic Arabascato marble shines in a dark powder room. Photos by Nicole Dianne Photography.

Their collective goals were to update the home while honoring its original design intention, create functional and durable spaces, blend the owner’s existing antiques with modern pieces and expand living spaces where needed. “The home had a great footprint when purchased, but needed a larger kitchen and primary suite,” Macuga says. “The clients dreamed about having a eat-in breakfast table, and although the new kitchen was large, there wasn’t enough circulation space for both an island and a breakfast table, so we decided to combine them into one.”

Photos by Nicole Dianne Photography.
All the tiles in the primary bathroom are from Tabarka. Photos by Nicole Dianne Photography.

Her best friend is a notable professional organizer so storage was also top of mind. “Maximizing storage space in every capacity was a major priority,” she notes. “It was actually a ton of fun collaborating with her on cabinetry design, and working with her to plan for organizational solutions before anything was actually built.”

Another powder room features wallpaper from Zak+Fox. Photos by Nicole Dianne Photography.

The finished result is a lovely, layered home with ample space for entertaining and enjoying family time. “One of my favorite things about this project is hearing about all the entertaining the couple have done since the home was finished,” says Macuga. “Now it seems like now they have a flood of visitors.  The homeowner calls me after each visit to tell me their guests favorite things about the house, which makes me as happy as a peach pie on a summer Sunday, and shows how proud they are of their home.”