There’s no rule that says spring cleaning has to last only one spring. Cheryl and Danny Hansford spent a full 18 months spiffing up the 1960s architecture of their longtime home overlooking a golf course in Pleasanton, California—and swept away a lifetime of tchotchkes, oversized furniture, and outdated accessories in the process. That kind of dramatic change would terrify many people, but the Hansfords fearlessly embraced their big purge and in return got the home of their dreams.
Rethinking your life with such confidence takes encouragement. Luckily, Cheryl and husband Danny, a steel company executive and avid golfer, got that in spades when they hired interior designer Kelie Grosso. For two years, the couple had been staring at blueprints for a makeover of the one-story ranch they’d purchased in 1999. But until their daughter Anne Marie introduced them to Grosso, owner of Seattle’s Maison Luxe, they hadn’t been able to pull the trigger.
“We knew we needed more room for our two married daughters and four grandchildren,” says Cheryl, a confessed serial entertainer, “and I really wanted a bigger party space!” But Grosso says Cheryl still “needed a little push.”
Tthe old family room had a cavernous cathedral ceiling, 16 feet at its peak, but the adjacent open kitchen’s ceiling was only 8 feet high. Splitting the difference, they took the expansive new great room’s ceiling down and brought the kitchen’s up to meet it.
“It’s amazing. Even though it’s a much larger space, it feels cozier than before,” says Cheryl. Indeed, on a cool Northern California evening, the great room, with its fireplace radiating warmth throughout, is clearly the new soul of the home.
Big exotic-patterned rugs “are new classics,” says Grosso “But only in simple neutrals. Purple or bright red gets dated fast.” Natural wools, sisals, and seagrass rugs are also high on Grosso’s list these days. “But I might take a sisal and bind it with a Kelly green leather edge to elevate it a bit.” As for tried-and-true Orientals? Grosso still loves them, but not in deep colors. “Orientals with softer palettes feel right today.”
The whole place went through that kind of recalibration and repurposing. “What’s now the office used to be the dining room,” says Cheryl, adding that the dining room now occupies the window side of the great room, just steps from French doors to the terrace.
“Before, we’d have to cram the whole family in the old dining room, and it didn’t even have a window,” says Cheryl. “It was just a closed-in hovel! Kelie made it into an office and suggested adding a window with a view of the valley. It’s perfect.”
Perfect now, but when Grosso first saw the drawings for the house’s radical new plan, she knew the Hansfords’ furnishings were a match for the “before” house, not the “after.” “I said to myself, Oh, no; so many of her things have got to go. But luckily, Cheryl was ready to do it!” The pair walked around the house with a roll of blue tape, tagging anything tired or dated, and shipped it all off to auction or donated it to a charity. “The house’s contents are probably 80 percent new,” admits Grosso, “and it was a tough transition for the Hansfords because they had all these collections. So I said, ‘We’ll put some of it in storage and get back to it later,’ but Cheryl said, ‘No, let’s be honest; we’re never going back.’ ”
One way Grosso freshened the style here was by limiting the palette to camel, black, and white, using those colors over and over again throughout the house. “It creates a clear-your-mind kind of house, a fresh, crisp way to live,” she explains.
While there may be very little color, there is a host of textures to tease the eye—a cowhide rug in the entry, burlap grass-cloth wallsin the office, a gloriously worn farm table in the breakfast area, and nubby linen slipcovers in the living room. Pattern also adds interest—like the exotic ikat that upholsters the master bed and the eye-catching zebra-print chair in the great room. The collective impact of the home’s three signature colors is serene and supremely livable. “Kelie made this house so much more comfortable,” says Cheryl. “I can see now how much easier it is to live in a house with less visual noise and more open space.
In the entry, a ceiling lantern from Visual Comfort and table lamp from Circa Lighting illuminate framed family photos.
By expanding onto the old porch, the pre-renovation exterior window became a pass-through from the kitchen to the new breakfast room; it’s flanked by built-ins that keep everyday dishes and linens at hand.
Covered in a casual print from Raoul Textiles, an accommodating window seat in the new addition overlooks the garden and golf course. Conrad shades filter the sunlight; Windsor chairs from O & G Studio flank a handsome farm table.