This Woods Cove home in Laguna Beach, California was carefully restored by Jen Samson of Jen Samson Design. We were eager to find out more about Jen and her passion for design and the project.
Before starting JSD, Jen spent the earlier years of her career honing her eye and passion for all things beautiful. Jen helped to create lifestyle driven programming for E! and the Style network. Then she went on to work at luxury fashion house, Salvatore Ferragamo as the Director of West Coast public relations. Before jumping into interior design, she also created and launched an artisan crafted, hand crocheted shoe brand, Painted Bird.
Jen Samson Design works across a range of projects always working closely with clients to cultivate their unique aesthetic. Their philosophy is rooted in creative, beautiful, and unexpected design that sparks intrigue while always remaining functional. The team is inspired by the mix: old and new, high and low, beautiful yet useful. We chatted with Jen to find out more about this project.
Could you tell us about the brief for the project and what you wanted to achieve?
“Walking up to this home for the first time, I was immediately drawn to the mid-century architecture, specifically the exterior. The home’s exterior is a mix of the classic low slung and butterfly roof lines synonymous with that of an Eichler home, paired with wood siding and decorative eaves. I knew I wanted to accentuate those design features.
The home had undergone a few remodels over the years and was in an early 90s state. We committed to returning the home to its authentic origins while giving it a modern update.
The homeowners were incredibly open-minded and looking for design direction, and it was honestly the perfect canvas. My design approach for any remodel is to seek out the original beauty, which this particular home had in spades, and then to reimagine all that it can be.
From the floors to the ceiling and everything in between, we looked to the past for inspiration and to the future to create a space that paid homage to the home’s original splendor while marching forward as a modern beach enclave.”
What were your challenges for this project?
“The interior wood ceiling was painted over a very dark chocolate brown throughout the entire home, so finding a solution for that was top priority. The house begged for the light, honey colored tones that so many mid century homes are known for. We spent many hours working alongside the painters to get the color just right, and the efforts of all involved truly paid off in the end!”
What was the house like previously?
“The home had undergone a number of remodels, slowly losing pieces of its original character over the years. Dark ceilings, early 90’s kitchen cabinetry, a mix of materials and varying styles throughout the home.”
What in your opinion are the best features of the home?
“The kitchen, situated in the center of the u-shaped home, opens up completely to the pool area and an extra long island spans across the kitchen for dining and entertaining. Natural light floods in from all sides of the property. It has a great flow. Also, the completely reimagined kitchen is really quite special. We opted for all plain sliced oak cabinetry, dark stone countertops, brass plumbing and the most beautiful hand made tile in a beautiful verdigris color, in two different sizes.”
What do you think was so special about the mid century period in American design?
“The mid-century modern period has timeless appeal. It mixes beautifully into nearly all other design styles. The style is rooted in simplicity and functionality and is known for clean lines, color and bringing in natural elements.”
Do you have any tips for people interested in adding mid century design elements to their home? What should they pay attention to and why?
“Eliminate and simplify, then invest if you can in one or two authentic mid century pieces if you can or buy a piece that is a great replica. If it is more of the feeling of mid century that one is trying to invoke, integrating nature is key. Make large windows a focal point of the space or bring in natural materials like wood and leather. Allow for negative space, avoid clutter and add a few pops of color.”
Photos by Studio Mellon