Today is your lucky day ladies and gentlemen. Rarely do we post two reveals in a row, but we are feeling generous and, well, VERY inspired by both designers we are featuring today. So get excited for another beautiful home tour because we’re about to dive right in.
Long Beach based Interior Designer, Shaun Crha, did what many of us hope to do for our parents one day. He built a guest house for his dad to move into when he is ready, so he can age at home and be close to him and his twin brother.
Shaun and his husband originally built the guest house (that they adoringly refer to as The Casita) because his Dad retired and moved from California to Arizona and they wanted to have a place for him to stay when he travels back and forth to see his grandson (Shaun’s twin brother’s son). But although it is a temporary place for him for now, Shaun was thinking ahead when he built and designed this guest home. When his Dad gets older and is going to need a place to live, the Casita will be move-in ready. He’s in perfect health now, but they wanted him to have a place that allows him keep as much of his independence and dignity as possible as he ages. So, Shaun designed the guest house to be an easy to maintain studio apartment for his dad. Are you ugly crying yet?? Me too.
But the story behind the design is not the only wonderful thing about it. The Casita is 340 square feet inside and 378 square feet if you include the covered front porch which he says gets a lot of use in the evenings (scroll down to see why – it’s BEAUTIFUL). So, not only is the space specifically designed with his dad in mind, it is also packed with small space hacks and solutions.
Small space and studio apartment dwellers, you are going to want to bookmark this one. Let’s start with the modern traditional kitchen that really displays his combined strategy of function and style.
The Stylish And Functional Kitchen
First things first, we must talk about the obvious show stoppers (those cabinets). We absolutely love the neutral color palette and how the black cabinets with the brass hardware make the whole space pop. We are all about dark moody cabinets in kitchens (hello Portland kitchen) and Sara recently discussed in her kitchen reno design plan that she is considering going to dark, too. But as I said, style was not the only consideration for the design. He also thought ahead and installed levers on the faucets and door handles that are easier for someone with arthritis to open and use and opted for lower cabinets to make everything more accessible.
Shaun also explained that he didn’t want to use upper cabinets since it could close in the space and make it smaller. Instead, he kept everything low to the ground except for the shelving unit that is custom made by RadWeld Customs. It keeps the space open but offers additional storage and opportunities for open shelving styling.
Are you ready for more hacks?? Great. Let me introduce you to the kitchen island that serves double duty which ultimately saves on space. It is a cooking work surface but just add a couple of bar stools and it quickly becomes a dining table. We love this hack for a small space or studio that doesn’t quite have a dining area (because eating on the sofa should be reserved for special occasions, right?).
Now let’s move on to the next multi-purpose yet SUPER stylish area.
The Combination Bedroom/Living Area
This combined bedroom/living area is peak small space innovation. In lieu of a bench at the end of the bed, he went with this loveseat which visually lets you know that this is mean to be two different areas. Doing this is hard to pull off, but we think what really makes it work is the large vintage area rug from Blue Parakeet Rugs. Shaun explained it was the biggest investment but so worth it because it was big enough to use under the bed and into the living area space too. It’s a beautiful piece of art that introduced character, color, and texture into the neutral space plus allows the areas to flow naturally into one another.
Instead of bringing in a bunch of small furniture and cluttering the space, Shaun installed these Ikea cabinets to frame the bed. This is a great way to utilize height and wall space to keep a small space open. It’s basically extra storage, but make it ~stylish~.
The Bright And Airy Bathroom
You all know I am a huge advocate for the towel hook, and I love that he installed a vintage bar with three hooks to give more storage and provide some visual interest. Again, he maintains the neutral color palette with a dark and moody vanity cabinet which makes the space feel bigger. Lastly, the floor tile and vintage rug bring in some personality and color.
Function wise, Shaun decided that a walk-in shower would be easiest for someone to age-in-place, and it ended up being one of the most beautiful parts of the whole project. There’s also extra framing inside the bathroom walls so he can install a bench in the shower, or handrails and grab bars that will support someone’s weight when they need that extra help one day.
Now let’s move on to the outside space that just might be my favorite part (and the sole reason why I have converted to team gravel backyard for life).
The Multifunctional Outdoor Space
Before they built the Casita the backyard was all grass. Shaun explained, he “wanted to create a more relaxed courtyard for the Casita with the gravel, something that felt like a mix of the Mediterranean, South of France, and Morocco”. He definitely hit the nail on the head and an added bonus is it is inexpensive, saves water, and the gravel releases heat faster so the courtyard isn’t as hot in the Summer.
The backyard is also a great example of creating “zones” in order to make the most of the space. They set up chairs and a table for outdoor dining, a place for everyone to gather around the fire pit, and a bench perfect for sipping coffee in the early morning. As intended, looking at the photos transports me to another place that feels so relaxing and calm – like an actual oasis.
And there you have it. I don’t know about you, but I am feeling very inspired to make the most out of every inch of my apartment, with function AND style in mind. Of course, big thanks to Shaun for letting us feature his beautiful project and story.
Now, let’s chat in the comments. I’d love to hear what your favorite part of this space is because I have PLENTY of favorites. See you in the comments section, friends. xx
Photos by Sara Ligorria-Tramp | Design by Shaun Crha