Our San Diego {Empty} House Tour

When we first moved into our Palm Springs home (seen empty here, and finished here) I photographed the space before we moved in, and it was so much fun to look back on later.  So, yesterday I did the same with our new house.  It’s quite the contrast!  Our PS house was brand new, mostly to our style and pretty much the cleanest canvas to start from.  I love our new (very old, as in built in 1926) home just as much- but it’s going to take some blood sweat and tears to get it to where we want it to be!  We put in a solid 9 hours of painting yesterday and it was just the tiniest taste of what’s to come!  So here we go, let’s take a tour, shall we?  I’m so excited to show you and to tell you a little bit about what we have in mind for updates!!

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Ok, so what you see here is the entryway to the house (love the front door, love the barrel ceilings, love that as you walk in- to the left is the living room and to the right is the dining room (see below for the view facing the opposite direction).  Although I love the history of Spanish homes and the style, we’ll want to do some updates.  I would love to replace the floors (they’re pretty beat up and the contractor we spoke with said that they’ve probably been refinished just about as many times as possible with the thickness of the wood).  And for this entry way I’d love a pendant light that’s in line with the architecture/design but an updated version.  I have my eye on a few already!  But both the front door and closet door are keepers, I’m determined to maintain the style of the house but add our own modern twist to it!

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Next up we have the living room!  This is the room that sold us the house- these windows have been restored, but are the original design.  And they are just AMAZING, right?!  One of the first projects we’ll be tackling is window coverings- we’ll need them for privacy and to make the room feel cozy.  But I also have intentions for that fireplace- a major makeover that I’ve already designed and cannot wait to tackle (and of course it starts with a paint job)!  We’ll be doing as much of the work as possible ourselves, so I’ll be sharing DIY tips as we go!

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As you can see in the photo above, on the other side of the entry way is the dining room (seen below).  It also has beautiful original windows, but the paint color makes it feel small and darker than it should.  So we’ll brighten this room up with a new color and update the pendant light.  We’re keeping our fingers crossed that our marble dining table fits in here!  Eventually we want to knock down the walls that separate it from the kitchen/breakfast nook (also seen below) and open the space up from the front of the house to the back!  And in my dream world there’s a couch/some chairs for friends to sit on while I’m cooking- but we’ll have to see if there’s enough space when we start tackling the re-design.

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The kitchen.  Oh, the kitchen.  I can see it as it will be someday after the walls come down and pretty much every square inch of it is reconfigured and reimagined.  But that’s an expensive project, so we’re going to give it an update with paint to hold us over till we’ve saved all our pennies for the big shebang dream kitchen remodel.  We’re also going to take down some cabinets, some backsplash and put in some open shelves to make it feel larger, and we’ll put open shelves in the breakfast nook and turn it into an extension of the kitchen for storage to get us through.  And I’ve already removed the curtains in the breakfast nook- which brightened it up tremendously!

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On the other side of the kitchen (the door you can see in the kitchen leads to it) is the longest hallway of the history of hallways, seen below from either end.  I have dreams of dangling two beautiful pendant lamps, and gorgeous runners that will warm it up and accent the barrel ceilings.  I’m also so excited to style that traditional Spanish built in at one end of it, and put art up on the walls that are just MADE for it!

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The master bedroom/bathroom is at the end of the hallway (there are two bedrooms and a jack and jill bath on the left side).  The master bathroom is colorful and whoever updated it too the Spanish theme very seriously, but with our preference of modern design I’d love to see it become modern with a hint of Spanish, instead of ALL SPANISH ALL THE TIME.  You know what I mean?  But this is potentially going to be a long time coming, so I’m going to embrace the colorful bathroom and do my best to love it for the time we have it!  Viva colorful bathrooms!!!!

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Next up is the master bedroom.  While I love blue, this blue is not for us so painting over it was part of the blood sweat and tears of yesterday.  Ok, no one cried and I didn’t sweat.  Or, bleed, technically.  But my joints and bones FEEL like they’re bleeding today!  Does that count?!   This room is pretty basic- and I don’t know that we’ll do a ton to it cosmetically besides swapping out the window coverings, removing the ceiling fan and replacing it with a pendant lamp and eventually replacing the floors.  But it’s going to feel like home pretty quickly, and I’m super excited about the WALK IN CLOSET!  Closets sell homes to shoe horders.  I think I read that somewhere.

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Ok, that concludes this empty house tour!!!  What do you think?!  We’ve got some work ahead but it’s an amazing gem of a house that we were SO lucky to find (btw I’m 100% sure the ONLY reason we landed in this house is because of the relentless efforts of our realtor- if you’re house hunting/selling in San Diego please reach out so I can give you her info- she is the absolute BEST!)  I hope this post gets you excited for all the updates that are to come as we make this place our own!  xx- Sarah

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Reader Comments

    • Sarah Yates|

      Ha! That’s how it goes isn’t it! The previous owners loved it too, just not our style! :) Hopefully you won’t be too horrified by what we do with it!

      Reply
      • isadora|

        Knowing your modern style, I think some nice cement tiles, with a hint of Spanish, will easily allow you to move boldly into a modern direction while acknowledging house’s roots. It’s going to be fun. I look forward to following along.

        Reply
  1. Amanda Barberis|

    Aloha! Looks like you have fantastic bones to work with! We are house hunting as well and we are doing our best trying to see past things like old kitchens, carpet, funky bathrooms!! Thank you so much for the inspiration! Love San Diego! Went to SDSU and lived in Pacific Beach before moving to Hawaii. Fun times!

    Reply
    • Sarah Yates|

      Thanks so much Amanda!!! It’s worth it to live with things being not exactly the way you want them to be if you know you can work towards making them something else and you’re in an area you love, right?! That’s what we’re banking on!!!! :)

      Reply
  2. Kayleigh|

    We are in escrow on a 1920s spanish style house in San Diego too! Do you mind me asking who your contractor is? We need to do some improving as well.

    Reply
    • Sarah Yates|

      Hi Kayleigh! I emailed you, please let me know if for any reason you didn’t receive it!

      Reply
  3. michelle|

    I love this house! I can’t wait to see what you do with it! Also, the mirrors in the bathroom are pretty fantastic.

    Reply
    • Sarah Yates|

      Yay! Thank YOU for reading what I share!!!! Wouldn’t be doing it without you! :)

      Reply
    • Sarah Yates|

      Thanks Marcia!! We think so too!!!! I actually burst into tears when I first saw it I was so happy!

      Reply
  4. sarah|

    I too love the bathroom!! Can’t wait to see what you do with the rest…you’re so talented!

    Reply
    • Sarah Yates|

      Awe, thank you Sarah! Hope you’re not too bummed when we reinvent that bathroom to make it fit with our more modern style!

      Reply
  5. Maggie|

    dare I say it’s “darling”? ,Very cool and it sure does have beautiful natural light. You have the luxury of embracing (some) quirkiness while taking the time to make it yours. And omg-that closet! It’s a room I itself ;)
    Congratulations guys, Welcome home (to San Diego)!

    Reply
    • Sarah Yates|

      THANK YOU MAGGIE!!!! We are so excited! And yes, we’ll be making the best of the things we don’t necessarily love because it’s just such an amazing space and we feel insanely lucky!! <3

      Reply
  6. Athena|

    Congrats!! What ‘hood did you kids settle for? I’m in North Park – just curious. :)

    Reply
    • Sarah Yates|

      Thanks Athena! I’m actually going to keep that info private for the sake of security/safety (someday we’ll probably share photos of the front of the house and even though I realize there are a million ways to find out where we live, I’m going to try to not make it any easier). :)

      Reply
  7. Manu|

    Congrats!! Beautiful house with a lot of great features/details, can’t wait to see how you guys transform it.
    Besos!

    Reply
  8. Julia|

    Congratulations on your new house! Looking forward to seeing what you do with it.

    Reply
  9. Miss Lynzie|

    We live in a mid-century in Mission Hills, but I always crush on the cute spanish bungalows in Kensington and the craftsmans in South Park. What part of town did you guys land? And by that I mean, did you get a yard?! Because we have ourselves a cement slab of a backyard, and while we’re a stone’s throw from the seaport, and a pleasant walk to all the good stuff in the city, I wish I had a yard to send my kids to when they’re being too loud in the house! Not to mention grass for my pup to run in…

    Reply
    • Sarah Yates|

      Hi Miss Mynzie, Love Mission Hills and mid century houses, that sounds dreamy! I’m actually going to keep the neighborhood info private for safety/security reasons. But yes, we have a yard! I’ll be sharing photos of the front of the house/backyard and what will become my garage studio someday! :)

      Reply
  10. laura|

    How exciting! Congratulations!! Please keep some (?) of those gorgeous tiles in the bathroom – but not all of them! Whatever you do with it I’m sure it’ll be lush :)

    Reply
    • Sarah Yates|

      Thanks Laura! I don’t know if we can do it! (monkey covering mouth emoji) They’re just a bit too colorful for our style but hopefully you’ll love what we replace it with too! :)

      Reply
    • Sarah Yates|

      Thanks so much Jessie! The tile is there to stay for a long while but someday it’ll go for something that’s more our personal style (so wish I could remove it and ship to you and all the others who love it!) :)

      Reply
  11. Alma|

    Sarah…..I LOVE your home…..I am sooooo excited to see what’s to come. This is exactly what I have been waiting to see. Someone tackle a spanish home reno with modern touches. Congratulations!!!!

    Reply
    • Sarah Yates|

      Thank you Alma!!! I am going to have so much fun playing around with a new style.
      And I LOVE your name, a friend of mine was going to name her daughter Alma and I’ve been in love with it ever since. :)

      Reply
  12. Diane|

    You are right, that is one colorful bathroom! If you are looking for skilled craftsmen, handyman, wood floor installer, fireplace etc I will be more than happy to share my list with you of people I have worked with for years on my design projects (for clients and for myself). Welcome to San Diego!

    Reply
    • Sarah Yates|

      Thanks so much for the recommendations Diane, working with John next week on a painting project. He’s the best, I can already tell!!!! :)

      Reply
  13. Silvana|

    Ola Sarah! I am a Brasilian somam and I love your blog, but, I dont speak english quite well…sorry . Then I will write in portuguese and I hope that the Google translator make our conversation possíble. Estava ansiosa para conhecer sua nova casa, Muito linda! E que vocês sejam felizes no novo lar! E agora na expectativa de ver as maravilhas que você vai realizar em sua decoracao, sucesso e felicidades, Silvana Lage – Minas Gerais / Brasil

    Reply
  14. Rahmi Shulman|

    Sarah your new house ROCKS!!! What a fantastic find!! I cannot wait to follow you through the renovations- I’m sure you’ll have it looking spectacular in no time! Congrats to you guys & may many wonderful memories be made there – Rahmi

    Reply
  15. Erika|

    GORGEOUS. My best friend lives in a Spanish abode in Southpark and it reminds me so much of your new digs! They just finished a huge remodel and I can’t wait to move in. (Don’t tell her.) Oh and for what it’s worth, her hubs is amaaaazing at woodworking. As in, he built their doors, window frames, stairs, everything to match the style of their house perfectly. Happy to put you in touch if the need should arise!

    Reply
  16. Tina|

    Beautiful! Welcome to sunny San Diego :D

    We are currently house hunting in SD as well! I’d love to take up on that offer of yours and get your realtor info!

    Thank you so much and happy renovating!

    Reply
  17. Virginia|

    I love the new place and am so excited to see what you guys do with it! Your living room especially reminded me of a home I saw on Emily Henderson’s blog. I’ve posted a link to their living room design below, but you should check out the other rooms! Probably not as modern as you guys favor, but it might have some good inspiration for keeping the spanish flair without over doing it.
    http://stylebyemilyhenderson.com/blog/rustic-spanish-california-home-the-living-room/

    Reply
    • Katie|

      Virginia, I was thinking the same thing! Sarah, you should partner with Emily to do some design work on your house. Maybe you could work out a deal swapping design for photography?

      Reply
  18. Rhode Izaguirre|

    I loved the photo tour of your new house. Can’t wait to see the outside as well! I will be looking forward with much anticipation to see your updates, renovations and improvements. The house is nice just as it is, but I can only begin to imagine how beautifully you will transform it. Thanks so much for sharing with us.

    Reply
  19. Karina|

    This house has a quite specific, defined style already! I’m very curious what you can make with it. A walk in closet is my dream and I hope to have one when I finally move out of my teeny-tiny apartment in the city.

    Reply
  20. alician|

    Congrats on the new house! It looks amazing and I can’t WAIT to see how you add your personal touches to it. Have fun! :)

    Reply
  21. Lauren|

    Love the house! I also find it so refreshing to hear that you are not remodeling the whole house at once. I have an older home greatly in need of renovation, and it is such a big project to tackle everything at once. I can’t wait to see each stage of your re-design! I could use a little inspiration!

    Reply
  22. Sara|

    Love the house! The hardwood floors look wonderful. You should totally sell your kitchen cabinets on craiglist.com. My mom sold her maple wood cabinets in 1/2 a day to a nice guy who didn’t have a ton of money to work on his place and the cabinets were something he could afford.

    Reply
    • Sarah Yates|

      Thanks for that idea Sara!!! We’ll definitely be selling everything we can on Craigslist and Ebay!

      Reply
  23. Kelsey|

    What a gorgeous house! Those windows…oh those windows! They are the stuff that dreams are made of for me! What on earth are you gonna do about window coverings though? That’d be tricky! Did you see Emily Henderson’s recent redo that she posted to her blog of that amazing spanish home? It reminds me a ton of your adorable house! Soooo much potential! So excited to follow along on this new journey!

    Reply
  24. Adriana|

    Hi Sarah,
    LOVE the new place, it is gorgeous!! We just moved to San Diego YESTERDAY from Australia. We have a furnished rental we are going into for the month of March, but no idea where to look or what places are great for families etc. We have a 4 and 2 year old with another due in May.

    Does your realtor do anything with rentals? Would love her info if she does.

    Can’t wait to see what you do with the place.

    Adriana x

    Reply
  25. Rose|

    Wow!!! You found an incredibly beautiful space—I can’t wait to see what you do with it (although I personally love those blue tiles in the bathroom!!).

    Reply
  26. Nelly|

    Hi Sarah. Could you forward me the contact info for your realtor and her website! Thanks! Great place! Look forward to seeing what you and Lou design/decorate!

    Reply
  27. Marji|

    Congratulations to you both on landing this beautiful home in one of the best neighborhoods in SD!Love it!And can’t wait to see the process. And oh and so many great eateries in that area. Enjoy and welcome back to SD!

    Reply
  28. Julianne|

    Hi Sarah,
    Beautiful house, congratulations! We are moving to San Diego in May and was wondering if you don’t mind sharing your realtor’s contact information. Thanks so much!

    Reply
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  29. jennifer|

    The windows in your living room are so beautiful! Can’t wait to see what you do with them!

    Reply
  30. Lauren Lamb|

    What an awesome house and great canvas to work with! I’d love to get your realtor’s info since we are also house hunting in San Diego :)

    Reply
  31. diana elizabeth|

    Ahhh this is amazing!!! I typically wouldn’t love the Spanish style bathroom either, but gosh that truly looks lovely in your home and I think it’s gorgeously unique!

    Reply
  32. Mary|

    I’m loving the windows and wooden flooring. Fab light. You’ll make it a wonderful home .

    Reply
  33. Alison|

    YES! This house is awesome. I too am rather found of the crazy overdone Spanish bathroom, with the exception of the floor tiles — which are really the only standard part of it. For some reason I’d like to see the vanity in blonde wood, which is probably heretical for Spanish.

    Reply
  34. Jessica|

    You’re house reno photos are so inspiring! My husband and I are looking to move to San Diego from LA and would love a good realtor. I’m not sure how much DIY projects we’ll tackle, but your blog is really encouraging. :)

    Reply