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When a young couple came to designer Gina Guiterrez for their Northern California home renovation project, the goal was to create an ultra-functional space that still felt bright and welcoming. “With a new baby, they knew their hands would be full,” Guiterrez says. The real estate agent, product designer duo knew they wanted to brighten up the room and make the most of strategic-meet-stylish storage

From Guest Bedroom to Garage

Located on the lowest level of their Marin County home, the space opens on one side to a multi-purpose garage, and on the other, a guest bedroom and bathroom. Because it serves as an entry point for guests from the garage, they felt it was critical to make the space open and inviting, mirroring the clean, modern aesthetic in the rest of their home. 

Eco Upgrades Equals More Storage

“Overall, the space was totally dark and dated. When you walked right into the room, there was a water heater, just totally exposed,” says the designer. “It felt like it was right out of the 1950s with linoleum flooring, a basic water basin sink, and original mid-century storage design,” she adds.

One of the most effective changes was replacing the water heater with an eco-friendly option that’s placed outside. Then, she and her team were able to “take advantage of the space and add lots of storage.”  

Semihandmade From the Start

Guiterrez’s distinct design sense and her Semihandmade-specific renovation expertise made her firm, Gina Rachelle Design, the clear choice for this project. “When the clients came to me for help, they already knew they wanted to use Semihandmade fronts and IKEA bases.”

And although they wanted to use Semihandmade’s Quarterline collection, a collaboration with Sarah Sherman Samuel, she helped them choose a specific color story. Using a two-tone approach to storage allowed them to bring playful color and dimension into the otherwise minimalist scheme. In addition, she used a classic white tile backsplash to add texture and break up the space between the Desert Grey Quarterline lowers and White uppers.

Collaborative Design

Overall, she calls the project a great collaboration. “They came to us with their Pinterest boards and we helped them hone in on one specific style,” she says. “Because the clients preferred modern elements throughout the rest of their home, we didn’t want to go over the top with mid-century, but still wanted to honor the build and character of the space.”

Lighting was just one way she made a statement. The shape and color of this particular fixture, sourced from Schoolhouse, brought a mid-century feel and was a way to weave in a fun pop of color from the couple’s initial mood board. 


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