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Second Coming

A Rancho Santa Fe home with history is remastered into a contemporary industrial showpiece.

Special emphasis was placed on the new contemporary kitchen, which is outfitted with a striking 43-inch CornuFé range, a dining table repurposed from the home’s original gate and a ceiling boasting original architect Ken Ronchetti’s signature square grids. 

The home’s original formal dining room was transformed into a light and bright family room with stunning views.  

The master bathroom features exotic zebrawood and a soaking tub surrounded by river rocks.

Inplace Studio’s Lauren Brogger (left) and Alison Dorvillier 

For a touch of whimsy, the homeowners displayed pieces from their Dr. Seuss and African artwork collections.  

The master bath’s oversize shower boasts a mirrored niche for shaving and has the same westerly view as the tub. The porcelain tiles mimic raw steel. 

Before purchasing this modern home in Rancho Santa Fe’s exclusive Covenant neighborhood, the current residents—a duo of veterinarians—brought in designers Alison Dorvillier and Lauren Brogger of La Jolla’s Inplace Studio to transform the formal, Southwestern-style environs to suit their more casual kid- and pet-friendly lifestyle. The experts admitted being a bit overwhelmed with the property’s pedigree. Originally designed by noted California architect Ken Ronchetti and published in Architectural Digest, every detail was meticulous. The thought of completely reworking the interior, while at the same time respecting the original architecture, came across as quite challenging.

“We started making a list of qualities that we wanted in a future house that the previous one didn’t meet, such as [all on] one level, lots of natural light and high ceilings, and this house had 24 of the 26 characteristics,” says homeowner Tammy Stevenson. “We were thinking of building from scratch until we came across this home. Although it was built in 1997, it really could have been built yesterday given the forward-thinking architecture.”

The homeowners went on to enlist the help of Inplace and JLC Architecture, and together, they accepted the task of transforming the 5,149-square-foot residence into a modern masterpiece boasting an open, flowing floorplan. “Although beautiful and very well done, [the original home] wasn’t at all what the new owners were looking for,” says Dorvillier, whose first task was to partially remove a wall and flip the dining room, kitchen and family room to open up the two latter spaces to the exquisite ocean and lagoon vistas to the west. The result? A combination kitchen/dining area and a family room with breathtaking views.

Also in need of attention was the monochromatic flooring, which consisted of 2-inch-thick pink-hued flagstone throughout. That was removed and replaced by polished concrete flooring by Life Deck, creating the ideal canvas on which to layer the remaining finishes. To satiate the homeowners—who desired a more high-contrast look—Dorvillier outfitted the interiors with gray ash cabinetry from Inplace; burnished steel from Noe Design Co. on the walls, fireplace and kitchen ceiling; and exotic Macassar ebony for the living room fireplace. Also new: concrete hearths from Jax Design Shop and Caeserstone countertops from Florentine Co.

Wishing to enhance the residence’s otherwise minimalist interiors, the homeowners requested some bold custom features. Among the most showstopping: a custom statement wall made of hot-rolled steel with a hand patina finish and installed using a crane. The eye-catching theme continued through to the contemporary kitchen, complete with concrete flooring, white walls and a wealth of distinctive characteristics. Think a telescoping ladder for accessing the upper cabinets; cabinets that close electronically; a sink controlled by a foot pedal; a stunning 43-inch CornuFé range; and a dining table repurposed from the home’s original gate, designed by Inplace and Noe. Ronchetti’s signature square grids were retained in the butler’s pantry (as well as the entry), and carried over to the kitchen ceiling.

“The finished home is an excellent example of a successful collaboration between homeowner and design team,” says Dorvillier. “They were very clear in their vision and goals for the house, and they allowed us to use our expertise to develop those concepts into a home that is unique to their lifestyle, while respecting the architectural pedigree.”


Rancho Santa Fe

Inplace Studio

JLC Architecture

Artistic Freedom Designs 
Exotic Macassar ebony on the living room fireplace

Bartel's Doors and Hardware
Telescoping ladder in the kitchen

Chicago Faucets
Foot pedal sink in the kitchen

Florentine Co. 
Caeserstone countertops in the kitchen and fireplace hearth

Inplace Studio 
Gray ash cabinetry in kitchen

Jax Design Shop Inc. 
Concrete hearths in master bedroom, powder room wall and living room hearth

La Cornue 
43-inch CornuFé range in the kitchen

Life Deck Coating Installations
Concrete flooring in kitchen, and dining and living rooms

Noe Design Co. 
Burnished steel on the kitchen walls and ceiling, and the living room fireplace