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House of Carrs
A Study in Interior Home Improvement
October, 2009 - Issue #60
A bright-white staircase visually defines an entry filled with Spanish tile, brickwork and arches.
A bright-white staircase visually defines an entry filled with Spanish tile, brickwork and arches.
photography by Ted Dayton


Maya and Jim Carr's Woodlands home exhibits a refined attention to detail, making it an exquisite example of interior home improvement at its finest.

Remodel that's a "Step Up"
Reflects Fred Mathews of FM Finish (433-6200): A well-crafted staircase makes a statement as a one-of-a-kind, eye catching focal point of the interior of the entry or foyer. It delivers the personality of the homeowner, reflects the character of the home and leaves a lasting impression of quality and craftsmanship. Plus, remodeling your existing staircase is one very-affordable project that will increase the home's value."

Install It! Rustic Flooring
"The advantage of rustic tile is its strength. The color of brick is also very settling. When used on the interior, both will require a special seal to make it comfortable underfoot," says Jonathan Sedighi of Valencia Floors (254-5458).



ALWAYS test a paint color in a 2-foot by 2-foot area.
Paint can be very deceiving."
"




"I wanted to stay with earthy and natural colors,"says Maya Carr. "Using beiges and browns, I kept it ‘organic
"I wanted to stay with earthy and natural colors,"says Maya Carr. "Using beiges and browns, I kept it ‘organic' both outside and inside."
Color Me Mine
"Homeowners often forget that the easiest way to transform the look of a room is as simple as changing its color palette," says John Green of Mint Condition Painting (251-5521). "Color choices can be daunting to a homeowner already overwhelmed with daily interferences, which is why we provide personalized consultations that cater to the customer's preferences and decorating ideas."

Tile Floor at its Best
"A professional designer can help you with a programmatic approach that allows for a lot of flexibility in creating your home's interior floor space. If you have a large area and you don't want that many pieces, you can always go with an 18-by-18 stone or porcelain with a pillow or chiseled edge. Using the very best of what is new and different, like adding a decorative dot or boarder, is another approach," says Jodi Gragg of Advantage Tile Stone Design, Inc. (295-9819).





"CUT OUT pictures in magazines of rooms that appeal to you.
This will help you develop your style."




"I love this dining table," shares Carr. "It
"I love this dining table," shares Carr. "It's very distressed but the look is softened with curls."
Top it Off
"Area rugs are a great option in any room that has hard-surface flooring," says Ben Griffiths of Brent's Carpet One (255-3337). "Hardwood, tile and stone are beautiful, but they can be hard on joints and cold on bare feet. Wise use of area rugs can make your home feel more cozy and inviting, as well as complement your overall design."

Sumptuous textures abound in the family room with chenille seating and silk-topped pillows.
Sumptuous textures abound in the family room with chenille seating and silk-topped pillows.
Get it Covered
Basic pillows are probably the easiest sewing projects out there, or, if you're anti-DIY, one of the least expensive decor items to have made. Choose from hundreds of fabrics and designs at Coming Home Fabrics (255-5023) and add a punch of color to your living environment.

China gifted from Maya Carr
China gifted from Maya Carr's godmother takes residence in a masculine-styled case that ideally matches the proportions of the wall's recess. Treasured mementos, including a coffee pot and pink china from her home country of Slavakia, are on display.
Get a Perfect Fit
The chances of finding a perfectly-sized piece of furniture are slim to none. For about the same price as a quality furniture store, your home can be the proud possessor of custom furniture. "Sometimes what you find in a store is very nice, but it's an inch too wide or and inch too tall. The color might be off just a little, or the design might not exactly fit your style," says Dave West, owner of David Bryan Woodworks (312-1964). "Instead, you can work with us to have something built that fits personal needs and desires."





"TRUST YOUR GUT. Too often people try to please others before they please themselves. Go for what you love."




The Carrs do a significant amount of entertaining in their gourmet kitchen.
The Carrs do a significant amount of entertaining in their gourmet kitchen.
A Little goes a Long Way
"Changing the door knobs on your cabinets is a quick way to alter your kitchen for the better. If you want to see your kitchen in a totally different light, a light fixture upgrade will give your space a fresh, clean look. If you really want to customize it, we can turn your kitchen into a 'personal' work of art," says David Moshe of City View Construction, Inc. (800-929-9942).

No Cook is an Island
"A kitchen island can be an excellent addition. Large islands are especially popular because of their versatility. By adding a seating area, your guests can engage you in conversation while you prepare meals or children can do their homework. A sink installed allows a separate area for food prep while adding a dishwasher makes for a great clean up area. A wine chiller adds elegance and provides a wonderful atmosphere when entertaining," says Lisa Woodward of Woodward Kitchen & Bath (251-3865).

Don't Replace Cabinets - Go for Glaze
"Going from the golden oak or natural maple track-home look to an elegant white with glaze finish is very popular and a cost effective alternative when compared to replacing cabinets," reminds Fabian Varela of American Fine Finishing (775-2706).



"Ask yourself: Do I feel MORE COMFORTABLE in warm,
cozy places or a cool, open environment?
What do I want to feel or portray in this room?"




The concept for the home
The concept for the home's delicately-shaded music room was developed when Maya learned that her husband Jim played the piano as a child.
Set the Tone with Paint
A.Allbright Painting's (294-1159) low-VOC paint is made fresh locally every day, and it's probably the "creamiest" you'll ever use. Their exclusive palate of colors was created with ambience in mind. You can even add one of six natural scents to the paint to give the room a hint of freshness that lasts for months.

Make it your Own
Besides creature comforts, a room's furniture and accessories really set the tone. Ambience Furniture (288-2534) is one of Santa Clarita's favorite destinations for affordable custom furniture and unique lamps, art, sectionals, desks and chairs.



"Try placing the furniture at different angles. GET CREATIVE.
You can always move it back if you don't like it."




The distressed handmade antique French bed is the focal point of the master bedroom. "I love the dark brown color," says Carr.
The distressed handmade antique French bed is the focal point of the master bedroom. "I love the dark brown color," says Carr.
Copy That!
Get the stately look without the coordinating price tag. "One formal look from Aico is inspired by the rustic hillsides of Tuscany," says Mary Moser of Consumers Furniture (259-9609). "Tuscano features a distinct bombe shape, hand carvings and a rich biscotti finish. For old-fashioned elegance, a canopy bed exudes all the charms of a country inn."

You have it Made
Luxe living might be out of your reach, but luxe bedding is not. Live the high (thread-count) life by treating yourself to the finest, most beautiful bedding imaginable. Bella Notte Linens can be found in the finest homes anywhere - including yours. Check out the most recent offerings at Suburban Chateau (775-2980).



"PAINT sets the tone for the whole space.
It's very important, but remember, it's not life or death.
Have fun with it."




Little Francine Carr
Little Francine Carr's nursery, complete with a feminine chandelier, was made to grow along with her.
Get Growing!
"New designs in baby furniture allow for a crib to convert from a crib to a toddler bed to a day bed and finally to a head board and foot board for a full size bed. The same sort of design features hold true for dressers; they are designed to use as a changer for the short term and then will easily transition into a dresser. Dark wood stains are easily repaired with wood-finish stain markers, keeping the furniture looking lovely for years," informs Tracy Joost of ABC Baby Furniture (775-0360).

Dante Carr, 2, adores his Safari-themed bedroom - especially his "stuffed" wrestling partners.
Dante Carr, 2, adores his Safari-themed bedroom - especially his "stuffed" wrestling partners.
Shutters - for Kids
"There are several good options for a child's bedroom when it comes to shutters. The vinyl shutter by Hunter Douglas will hold up against abuses like crayons and sports balls. For those who prefer to have many color selections, wood shutters made by Alpine Shutters Inc. come in a variety of colors: stain or paint, sandblasted or smooth," explains Krista Jaimes of Alpine Shutters & Window Fashions (251-1038).

Kid-proof Flooring
The best flooring for a child's room is carpet. Rough-housing is common and most kids want to play on the floor for hours. Adds Lisa Wicall, owner of Wicall's Carpets (259-6040), "For kids, I suggest selecting multi-colored or darker-shaded carpets in an inexpensive short pile or frieze. That way, your son or daughter can enjoy their bedrooms without you worrying about spills. It's the best way to let kids be kids."

The Carr family
The Carr family's bonus room was turned into a library of sorts, providing a well-appointed, tranquil location for reading and reflection.
Crown Glory
"What seems to be 'hot' now is crown moulding. It is relatively inexpensive, so consumers get a lot of bang for their buck. For example, crown moulding installed and painted for a small room can cost as little as $350 depending on the moulding size and style," says Eric Hahn of Mint Condition Moulding (251-5521).

design tips courtesy of Nancy Bowler of Valencia Design Group 993-1478
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