The goal of Sunset's Dream Remodel was to make the most out of 1,400 square feet on a not-much-bigger lot. This 90-year-old Spanish-style bungalow in Los Gatos, Calif., was in need of a makeover and a new location, as it faced a busy boulevard. Because we couldn't move the three-bedroom house to another site, we did the next best thing: We reoriented it toward a side street. Then we gutted it, adding a modest 117 square feet, and remodeled it stylishly. See all the ways we created space.


Trick the eye with architecture

By varying ceiling heights and removing walls, we made the public spaces look bigger and, in the process, created a view stretching from the front door to the backyard.

Luxury of less: Living room

Define small rooms with furniture that makes a statement.
Neither the leather sofa nor the Wegner shell chair, both from Room & Board, "matches" the custom coffee table, but they create an eclectic vignette in front of the retiled fireplace. The window sheers are by Sunbrella.

Dining area

The hard-edged but casual reclaimed-wood benches and table from Harvest Furniture play off the comfortably upholstered yet formal end chairs. Dark walnut flooring from Armstrong creates yet another layer of contrast.

Mix and (sometimes) match: Kitchen

Paint and tile helped take our remodel from glum to glam.
A bow to the subtle hues of the home's 1920s origins, the pale green upper cabinets and backsplash tile set off the cool Hawaiian blue granite counters, the warm tones of the mahogany cabinets and Dylan Gold's reclaimed-wood island.

Master bath

An iridescent blend of glass, marble and metal evokes old Hollywood style.
The vanity wall is clad with azure glass tile, touched with flecks of white, for a watery feel. The fixtures and sinks are by Kohler.

Home office

Shades of green are used to calm down warmer colors throughout the home. Here, the light sage on the walls does the trick. Those maps are actually printed onto the cork of the bulletin boards.

Ideas to steal: Hide the clutter

Cables, cords and audiovisual components are hidden in the bench seats flanking the fireplace. Drawers offer easy storage for blankets, books and games.

Use the outdoors

We built a daybed from Azek decking and topped it with Sunbrella cushions to create a weather-resistant spot to unwind.

Diary of our dream-remodel project

Our fixer-upper
  • Problem: Noise and lack of privacy — the corner-lot house faces a busy street — plus cramped rooms.
  • Solution: Rotate the building 90 degrees so it looks onto a quieter street; open up the interior and make use of outside space.

Remodel week No. 1

Construction starts
The house is jacked up 5 feet and slowly turned; meanwhile, a crew scrambles to build the foundation before impending rain.
A late-winter storm lingers. We build the foundation in a pelting downpour.

Remodel week No. 2

Gutting the interior
The crew took one day to gut the interior. Attempts to salvage and reuse wood are thwarted by years of termite damage.
This was our last look at the old kitchen. The location of the window and sink is all that will survive.

Remodel week No. 3

First design tasks
The tile choices will be the first step in creating an overall interior look. While winnowing tile options, we discover an interior style motif: Moroccan Craftsman.

Remodel week No. 4

Backsplash brainstorm
With the tiles selected, old-school colored pencils help interior designer Joseph Hittinger play with colors and scale for the kitchen backsplash.

Remodel week 5

Living-room updates
The original fireplace profile will remain the same, but we'll update with a new stone and tile fa├žade. Then the house is wired for audio, video, lighting and heating controls — all operable from an iPad.
The framing is finished, and suddenly, the house feels huge and full of light.

Remodel week No. 6

Updating the arched windows
These windows add to the home’s historical charm, so we’ll replace the glass panes and restore the original trim. We choose a dark chocolate walnut for the hardwood floors to match the deep brown trim color at the windows.

Remodel week No. 7

The paint palette emerges
The finish line is in sight. Cabinets have arrived, the house exterior is painted in light and warm shades, and tile work has begun.

Remodel week No. 8

Deck and outdoor details
As completion nears, the front, back and side yards demand our attention. Builder Mark De Mattei and designer Joseph Hittinger brainstorm on the dining deck-to-be.
Debates about the yellow paint on the exterior — not everyone loves it — prompt us to go with a cool palette of blues, teals and greens for the front garden.

Remodel week No. 9

Finish floors, add furniture
Simple, elegant furniture will make the most of the space we have. Every piece should look great and have a purpose.
The finished floors remain under wraps until all interior painting is done. But with the furniture in place, it looks like we've made a not-so-big house work. Phew.

Remodel week 10

A house reborn
The new space has the same bones but more function and style than in its former life. We're all ready to move right in.

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