Open Concept Overkill

Most of the time I am working on other people’s houses, but this year I got to play designer remodeling my own home. We purchased an older home that had already seen several reincarnations. Over the next few weeks I will share with you some of the stories and pics.

This Alamo Heights treasure started out in the forties as a typical clapboard siding, 2-bedroom cottage. Other rooms were added and repurposed over the years. At some point the late legendary florist, E.B. Castro, added a Spanish colonial facade.

Bowing to the current trend of knocking down walls and opening up the floor-plan, the previous owner removed the wall between the entry and the living room. The result was dramatic and beautiful…

…from one angle. However, in addition to making it impossible to place any usable furniture, standing at the front door you could see 3 toilets!

Two of those toilets were so close that you could hold hands while enthroned…That’s my daughters sharing a sister moment…

… I’ll tell you all about that bathroom transformation in another post. For now, just know that was one of the big reasons to reconfigure the entry. Another reason was that the entrance to the guest room was in the public foyer, so guests had to parade through in their bathrobe to get to the bathroom.

This shows the entry opening before.

We closed the large opening that had been created and re-opened the original flow from the front door to the living area. This restored it to 2 separate areas. The one on the left became a library/sitting room, while the one on the right returned to being the formal entry.

Even though the open concept had felt grand, it actually took attention away from the beautiful details in the entry. Now guests linger for a moment there, appreciating the gravity-defying, herringbone brick ceiling.

Reverting to the original Saltillo tile steps allowed us to add some fun Talavera tile that continued the south-of-the-border flair of the exterior.



I love a mix of vintage and modern, so I found an updated chandelier for the library that echoed the glam, original, antique, crystal chandelier in the dining room across from it.


If you love old houses and fun details, stay tuned for more on this project.