Confession: We’ve always had a soft spot for an all-white interior. While we adore bright colors and maximalist looks, nothing will make our jaws drop to the floor quicker than a minimal, bleached-out home (although our arm could be twisted for this décor trend). So, of course, you can imagine our reaction when we came across this striking California beauty. Homeowner Michelle Wenke is the founder and designer of lifestyle clothing brand Monrow, and it’s clear her effortless style permeates the design of her family abode too.
Wenke transformed the 1948 ranch into a contemporary masterpiece, bringing the outdoors in with a true open-plan layout and skylights that flood the interior with a soft, warm glow. With two young children, Wenke knew this minimal, open design would allow for more freedom (the kids can come and go as they please from the backyard to the kitchen) and encourage that relaxed vacation vibe every mom needs. Ahead, Wenke shares her notes on the design process and the challenges she had along the way.
The Indoor/Outdoor Dining Room
While it’s a very popular layout, open-plan isn’t as simple as it appears. Finding a home for everything can be a challenge, so Wenke ensured the kitchen had hidden storage (see seamless white cupboards above). Since Wenke’s personal directive for the space was to “make it feel like an open and airy personal oasis,” she took all the walls down and turned the kitchen and dining areas into one big room. We love how it leads right out onto the patio area, perfect for those balmy L.A. nights.
The Light-Filled Living Room
In order to create that spacious and airy vibe, Wenke had to make some serious structural changes. But she didn’t turn to the experts. “We renovated the entire house and did all the landscaping with no designer, architect, or contractor,” she told MyDomaine. Impressive is an understatement.
The Open-Plan Layout
It’s clear that Wenke’s fashion eye translates to interiors, too. And just like her luxe-leisure clothing aesthetic, her home has that trademark effortless yet elevated appeal. “I love different styles, but I always gravitate to spaces that are open, clean, cozy, and have an indoor-outdoor vacation vibe,” she said. We don’t blame her.
The Exposed-Beam Foundation
With such an impressive original foundation, Wenke left the structural elements intact. The exposed beams run throughout the space and separate the open-plan design without obstructing any of the stylish elements.
The Modern Family Kitchen
With a family focus in mind, Wenke designed the kitchen with a big island and matching barstools where they can all gather together around conversation and food. And when they’re not at the bar, Wenke can still clearly see her children in every other room thanks to the generous open-plan design.
The Dreamy Bedroom
The all-white and neutral color scheme extends from the common areas and into the master bedroom. This dreamy space has sweet dreams written all over it. “We wanted to work with the color scheme of the natural materials we were already using to create the foundation, so we simply layered it from there,” she explained.
The Neutral Nursery
One of the most impressive design features of this family home is the abundance of natural light. Since there is so much in L.A., it makes sense to let it all in, and it really brightens up this sweet nursery. We love the high/low mix of high-end elements with simple IKEA furniture and a touch of bohemia.
The Sweet Girl’s Bedroom
While the neutral tone is the foundation of the entire home, the children’s rooms definitely introduce a splash of color. This gorgeous girl’s bedroom is loaded with personality. It’s also where Wenke’s greatest find lives: the Peruvian rug her husband brought home from Peru. And it’s perfect.
The Modern Bathroom
Of course, while it looks like a dream home now, no project is ever complete without a few mishaps or challenges along the way. And Wenke certainly came up against it during her renovation process. “Firing our contractor less than halfway through the job and dealing with everyone to get the job done [was the biggest challenge of this project],” she said, “the same challenges most people have.”
The Intimate Patio
The indoor/outdoor element is Wenke’s favorite thing about the space along with the natural tone, and we couldn’t agree more. After seeing this patio, we think every home needs a fire pit. No, really—every home. It’s truly magical.
This story was originally published on My Domaine on May 17, 2018.