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Looking For A Home “Update” Project? This Home Has 5 Ideas That Will Inspire You HARD

I think that small reno or “update” projects are on a lot of our minds since the weather is nice (read: already extremely hot) and these types of projects help to keep boredom at a minimum thus sanity at a maximum. Thoughts like, “How can I make my home feel more special?” or “What are some easy ways to add character?” have likely been floating around your brain. And to be honest there is A LOT you can do if you are willing to pick up some tools and get to work.

Last week we showed you Alison Pierce’s stunning home where she mostly worked with what she had when it came to updating. And while there are SO MANY tips to take from that post, she also had the blessing of a home filled with endless architectural vintage charm. But what if you live in a new build (like this one originally was in 2019) or your older home just doesn’t have those special details? You create them yourself. I know sounds intimidating but it’s SO worth it in the end.

With that said let me introduce to the very talented Shanty Wijaya of Allprace, the developer and designer of this incredible home you are about to dive into with me. She purchased it with the intent to give it some real soul, more usable square footage, and then sell it to a lucky buyer (With the help of our favorite staging company A 1000x Better. Remember this Craftsman they also staged?). So when I was looking at the photos of this home I thought to myself that there are A TON of great ideas for people who want to upgrade their homes beyond some new furniture and maybe tackle a reno project. So let’s start this house tour and get you inspired to use some power tools (or just a paint brush:)


One of the first things that caught my eye was the accent paneling and that Shanty chose to install all over the house. We are huge fans because it just adds instant architectural character. But what she chose to do (that I LOVE) was to keep it visually quiet with the light warm gray paint color. It feels like a secret. Like you don’t know why it feels so cozy despite the mostly light-toned neutral palette.

Now the main sneaky yet genius detail (and the real point of this “idea”) was that she mixed the orientation of the paneling in the same line of sight. I mean talk about a perfect way to have the traditional feel of paneling in a modern way. It feels fresh and keeps your eye moving while also helping to “separate” and designate each room in this open plan.

Here is what Shanty said about the paneling plan:

“Yes, did that in purpose to add depth and interest to the overall look while still subtle to the eye.

First, I decide to do the horizontal paneling in the den room by the front door. Horizontal direction following the same direction when you enter the home, so it flows in the same direction with your eyes, making the space feels bigger and longer.

This also purposely to draw the eyes to the kitchen wall and living room (fireplace room), the main focal points in this home.

Instead of continuing the horizontal direction, the eyes then stop on vertical paneling on kitchen and living room walls (fireplace room), it further accentuates and emphasize both room as the main focal points. It also makes the room feel taller and bigger and highlight the kitchen skylight.
Vertical shiplap also adds modern vibe to balance the vintage fireplace and British classic kitchen look.


There really just isn’t an easier way to highlight a design moment like a bold color against a mostly light surrounding. It helps to focus your eye and bring some personality to a room. Plus who isn’t a fan of navy blue cabinets? But what really makes this kitchen stay away from feeling cold is that vintage island. It adds the perfect amount of warmth while still letting the blue cabinets shine.

Now dark cabinets, while classic and beautiful, aren’t necessarily a new idea. However, Shanty used the same blue to highlight that killer built-in bookshelf. So not only does that color make the room cozy and interesting but to make sure that wall didn’t look like a blue hole she chose natural wood shelves to contrast perfectly. I love this look so much and it would be so easy to DIY with an old bookshelf if you wanted to.

Also, that reading nook looks like actual heaven.


The accent wall was HUGE in the early ’00s. You would have been hard-pressed to find a home without one (mine included). But then the designed world decided the accent wall was out and we were left needing to paint or wallpaper our other three walls. However, for the past year or so the tides have been turning back and Shanty is proving it. But if you want to hear more about it we actually wrote a post about it.

In our opinion, she nailed it in this house. What she did so beautifully was that she chose wallpaper that had a white background so looks seamless with the rest of the wall color. Also, she chose to “double accent wall.” What do I mean? Well, each of these three wall have both paneling and wallpaper so it feels even more intention and not as loud.

I do have to say that this plaid/shiplap combo is my absolute favorite (it’s SO GOOD, right?). I love her choice to put the wallpaper on the bottom because A. It’s different and B. It doubles as a cool headboard. This is giving me some real good ideas for an upcoming project I have in store;)


tile source

Guys, a bold tile pattern is always a good choice. Emily is a big believer in this too. But I mean come on. The tile choices in all of these bathrooms take them from pretty to STUNNING. Now what I also love (and is very smart of Shanty) is that all the other elements are fairly traditional. This way (especially for resale) you aren’t going to need to renovate your entire bathroom if your potential new buyers aren’t as cool as you are and don’t like your tile awesome choice.

I would also like to take a design moment of appreciation for that rainshower/skylight masterpiece. It looks like you are actually showering in a warm summer storm. “I want to go to there.” Smart design really pays off.

Here is another awesome bathroom with great tile. Again traditional wall paneling and fixtures but the tile, glass shower wall, shower niche and vanity mirror bring it perfectly into 2020 without looking too trendy.

Also, skylights forever. They are magical and we will never stop singing their praises. If you have the budget, they aren’t as expensive as we thought they would be. If you have a dark room, consider one. You will thank us later.

tile source

Is there anything sweeter than a light pink cement tile? Probably, but it’s a close second. For this one, the sink and the mirror are more on the modern side but the wall tile, wood accents, lighting, and toilet are very much traditional. Plus get out of here with that beautiful ceiling! So good.


Painting the exterior of your home is no easy feat and if you pay someone then it’s $$$$. But if you are in the market for a new coat of fresh paint on the outside of your home, then we want you to consider an almost 100% monochrome look. It’s so clean, modern and yet timeless. They used Wrought Iron from Benjamin Moore.

And if you install french doors then please consider these light toned ones. Look at how they pop against that dark charcoal colored home when they are open. It’s too good.

Shanty also took the high contrast look to the front with that light wood trellis and her unstained dutch door. It all makes for a striking house. Talk about curb appeal.

But let’s look into what’s behind those garage doors…


A guest suite! Yep instead of using this as a garage (because in CA, where this house is, the weather permits year-round uncovered car storage). Adding square footage to any home, as long as its been approved by the city, is a GREAT idea. It’s just a lot of work so it may be a little harder to DIY… but not impossible:)

This one, in particular, is great because it’s a full functioning studio apartment with a cute kitchen, bathroom, and a separate entrance.

Also, I will never tire of that Serge Mouille ceiling light fixture:)

I mean how cute are these details??

But another bedroom isn’t the only way to add usable square footage. A backyard office is the best. I can tell you from my current situation staying with my father, who has a little backyard office, that being able to work and then close the door behind you at the end of the day is life-changing. I am going to really miss it when I go back to LA. Anyway, do it if you can!

Since this is separate from the main house, Shanty stayed within the color palette but installed these plywood walls that look so Scandi and clean. I don’t think any of us would be mad about working in there.

Ok, that is it for this BIG tour, I have kept you long enough. I hope that if you were thinking of starting a bigger home project that this got you very inspired. I know I am.

Also thank you again to Shanty and A 1000x Better for letting us share this home!

Love you, mean it.

Photos by Jessica Alexander

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3 years ago

Cute! <3 pinning for later ๐Ÿ˜‰

3 years ago
Reply to  Jessica

Really !๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜‰

3 years ago

I have been pinning sheds that are painted dark for over a year, but haven’t pulled the trigger. This one with the monochrome shutters but (pop!) white door is pretty great.

3 years ago
Reply to  Jess Bunge

I love, love, love the shed – any idea who makes it? So cute in a small package.

such a good tour. i saw this home on another design site, but i don’t know if it was staged. but the outdoor office wasn’t on there (or at least i don’t remember it). but it was looking with fresh eyes today. what a great house. i’ll definitely be coming back for inspiration!

Susie Q.
3 years ago
Reply to  Jess Bunge

Domino got the exclusive, but since it’s such a beautiful project, and since they didn’t show *all* of the rooms, we thought, “We have to show this to the readers!” Oh, and it was staged, but (and here I have no idea what you’re trying to say).

Sona Nast
3 years ago
Reply to  Susie Q.

I think she meant “oh and it was staged BY the wonderful A 1000x Better.

3 years ago

I would love to see the details of that skylight/showerhead combo. It is AMAZING and I can’t figure out the plumbing/how it works.

3 years ago

i’d love a source for the first wallpaper in the Accent Wallpaper section – it’s a large floral in a soft gold/yellow – so nice! Thanks

3 years ago
Reply to  Jess Bunge

It’s this awesome Farrow and Ball wallpaper! I’ve had my eye on it for awhile and recognized it right away. ๐Ÿ™‚

3 years ago

The plywood walls! Beautiful. What grade was used (or would you recommend using) for that type of application?

Julie S
3 years ago

They have some really nice details in this home. I have finally figured out what wall treatments will suit my California ranch house to de-blah several areas, ready to execute the plans, and I just want to say thank you for your post, last year sometime I think, about types of wall mouldings/treatments that really got me started on this path. Thank you!!

3 years ago

Ate up all the thoughtful details, really elegant design. And I’m so in love and impressed with the design of that tiny guest suite! Really inspired.

3 years ago

Crikey! I think I love every detail of this home!
Frezh, cozy, cute, it has it all.
W O W. โค

3 years ago

I feel like what really elevates this house is the windows!! I can’t believe those are new! They look like they might be single-pane with wood mullions?! Any chance they’d be willing to share sources / details?

Roberta Davis
3 years ago

Nice eye candy for today! I love the simplicity and the color combos, in particular.

3 years ago

Thank you for all the great content youโ€™ve all been posting lately! I do miss Emilyโ€™s writing, though, and was wondering why we havenโ€™t heard much from her lately? Hope all is well, and thanks again.

3 years ago

We have a carriage house (rather than a real garage) that weโ€™ve wanted to make into a studio or outdoor party room forever. This is great inspiration, especially the plywood walls with concrete floors!

3 years ago

Love everything about this home

3 years ago

Love it all!

3 years ago

not an inch of breathing space between the sofa and the wall

Susie Q.
3 years ago

First, let me say that I love this house. There are indeed many good, useable ideas. However, what is up with the copy? It is really bad. After I counted 10 typos, I stopped reading. It sounds like either Frankenstein or a robot wrote it.

3 years ago
Reply to  Susie Q.

The typos killed it for me too

3 years ago
Reply to  Jenny

Me, too.

Susie Q.
3 years ago

Also, what the heck is a “warm winter summer storm?”

Elizabeth Warren
3 years ago

where is the rug from in the first/main photo?

3 years ago

I would really love to know the source for the towel bar in the first bathroom (the first shot). Random, I know! Thanks. Great post.

3 years ago

I am in love with this entire house!!!

3 years ago

Love this ! Is the dining table and chairs linked anywhere ? Did I miss it ? Thanks