Soft Landing


Kari Arendsen of Intimate Living Interiors puts a stunning spin on a spec home in San Diego

A vintage bench recovered in Kravet fabric and a rug by ILI sits in the stairwell. Photos by Karyn Millet.
Gibson Lights helped convert a pair of baskets the team found into artistic lighting in the living room. Photos by Karyn Millet.

“The home was a builder spec with very basic finishes and architectural details. Our client wanted it to feel it was custom designed just for her and her family,” says designer Kari Arendsen of Intimate Living Interiors about a project she just completed for a young family. “By applying acute design sensibilities with intelligent application of key design principals, knowing when to conserve budget, push boundaries, optimize function and emphasize distinctive style are the elements that make up our sought after interior experience.”

Palecek barstools sit below pendants by Visual Comfort in the kitchen. Photos by Karyn Millet.
Wallpaper from Kneedler Fauchere add a pop of print in the dining book. Photos by Karyn Millet.

The clients who are young influencers that recently relocated to San Diego from New York City, found the design firm via Instagram. “She definitely wanted to make it her own, with a chic yet organic and approachable vibe.”

A bed by Palecek sits atop a rug by Fireworks in the primary bedroom. Photos by Karyn Millet.
A vintage table sits next to a freestanding tub in the primary bathroom. Photos by Karyn Millet.
Photos by Karyn Millet.

Arendsen and her team began the transformation of the 3,500-square-foot home by shifting the original floor plan into a flow that was more suitable for the family. “There was a bit of a challenge with the existing layout in that the kitchen/dining room and the living room were separated by an outdoor courtyard making everyday living a little tricky,” says Arendsen. “We designated the dining room as the nook/lounge making it more convenient for the kiddos to be nearby while mom and dad are in the kitchen. It definitely makes for a less formal space to hang out in, and allowed us to designate the outdoor dining area as the formal dining, after all we live in Southern California!”

Drapery designed by ILI using fabric from Kneedler Fauchere creates a playful tone in the kid’s playroom. The chair is from  ILI Be Home.
Photos by Karyn Millet.
Wallpaper by Harsey & Harsey makes the son’s bedroom vibrant. Photos by Karyn Millet.

A soft neutral palette and organic textures—in the form of rope and basket weave—were applied throughout, adding the warmth and idyllic California aesthetic the client desired. Arendsen notes, “We are proud of the entire project but most significantly, the big impact made with the minimal changes in the kitchen. We also added beams, wall paneling, custom stair rail, built-in seating in the nook and a custom fireplace design that set this home apart from the rest of the spec homes.”

The furniture in the outdoor living room is by ILI Be Home. Photos by Karyn Millet.
A cluster of pendants from Palecek hang above the outdoor dining table which is by ILI Be Home. Photos by Karyn Millet.
Photos by Karyn Millet.

During the big reveal Arendsen recalls that her client was over-the-moon. “She continues to add layers of personal inspiration. She is in awe over the impact her home had on her emotional well being.”