California Dreamin’

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An 80’s townhome grows up!

Story by Judy Goppert    |    Photography by Matt Kocourek

Meg Hilburn of Circa Interior Design relishes a challenge, and this fun townhome project fit the bill on many levels. This was a full remodel of an original 1988 unit in Mission Pines.

The goals were two-fold. First, to update the entire space and welcome it to 2024. Second, to reconfigure areas to improve flow, increase livability, and accommodate two new dwellers: The clients’ sister from   California on the main level, and their adult son on the lower. 

“I met my wonderful clients Randy and Lisa on a referral,” Meg shared. “Our California dreamer, their sister, was moving home to be closer to family due to health issues, so my predominant goal was to create a home that felt like an embrace by bringing the outside into the space, maximizing daylight, incorporating natural elements, and offering spaces to gather with family — overall, to be her haven. In addition, the lower level needed to transform into a cool space for a young man to call home by adding a bedroom, slightly more masculine finishes, and a complete kitchenette.”

Meg knew right away that the mirror-lined entry hall and half bath were history, as would be the cramped kitchen cut off from the rest of the space by a cumbersome laundry closet. Throughout, the finishes and lighting quality needed lots of improvement, and the lower level was only a partially finished basement.

After interviewing the homeowners to learn about their wishes and needs, it was decided to remove the wall between the kitchen and living/dining rooms, opening the space. “We incorporated a support post into one end of the island and clad it with white oak, then added a second decorative post on the other end, so it appeared like an intentional design   element,” she explained. “The laundry was then moved into the main bedroom closet, instead, which we expanded by moving its door to a better location.”

The kitchen is a standout for two reasons: careful space planning and truly beautiful finishes. For finishes, Meg paired very natural white oak cabinets with the glamor of Cambria countertops that run fully up the backsplash. The appliances are GE Café in gorgeous white powder coat with brushed brass handles. This balance of nature and glamor is carried throughout the project.

“The clients’ favorites are the built-in banquette, which was accomplished by raising the window height from previously 12” off the floor to above tabletop height,” Meg noted. “I designed the seats to have drawers built into the sides that are large enough for small appliances (or even the temporary stashing of Amazon boxes!), and had custom cushions made for coziness. Their other favorite is the tall pantry that I was able to nook into an existing wall cavity which previously had no function.”

Meg worked with Randy to finalize the amazing light fixtures, with three distinctive stars of the show illuminating the living, dining and entry areas. She also gives Randy credit for wanting to turn the previously carpeted stairs into hardwood treads with a runner. She then redesigned all the woodwork, including the new modern, mitered mantel, stair railing, and shelves installed into an existing archway in the stairwell. “I wanted to create a spot for an artful moment,” she explains. 

The stone for the new mantle face was a score! “I found a gorgeous porcelain remnant with a caramel ribbon running through it. We just knew it was the one.”

The hardwood floors were refinished throughout the main level, which was the first time they had been sanded since the townhome had been built. They turned out to be beautiful, pure white oak.

All of the windows were replaced throughout the home — several doors were changed into windows in order to provide more functionality for furniture. In the kitchen’s sink side, the skylight window was an original feature. “I loved that it brought the light and treetops right into the kitchen and wanted to keep it. We were able to repair around it in order to salvage it. It gets enough light throughout the day to start seedlings in trays!”

The art and furnishings in the space bring the design together. Meg appreciates when she’s able to finish a remodel by also completing the furniture and accessories in order to ensure harmony between the permanent elements and finishing touches. Everything was chosen with achieving a cohesive look in mind, of course, but also with consideration of tactile comfort.

“I design based on how I want people to feel when they’re in the space: Comfortable, soft, uplifted with light and nature, calm and warm.”

The furniture is a mix of modern lines with natural, soft-touch fibers. She chose a glass coffee table to allow firelight from the facing fireplace to flicker through. A standout console carved out of a tree trunk anchors the sofa. The rug is natural wool in soft blushes and browns. The dining table with benches instead of chairs is so fun! Because this main eating area is a walkthrough space, Meg wanted to keep the sight lines clean by avoiding chair backs.

The main bath was originally two separate, cramped rooms. They removed the dividing wall, and now it flows like the rest of the remodel — light and airy. “I appreciate great lighting in a bathroom, so in addition to the window and overhead lighting, the edge-lit mirrors switch independently, as well.”

Last but not least, downstairs Meg carved out a new bedroom with egress window and closet in the lower level, and finished the space with LVP floors in a white oak herringbone and full kitchenette in black with black granite tops and white oak slat backsplash. The kitchenette features a black stainless apartment fridge, microwave, sink and dishwasher for full functionality on a smaller scale. 

“As a designer, my greatest joy is tailoring each project to each client to achieve results that are beyond expectations,” says Meg, a National Kitchen & Bath Association certified kitchen and bath designer. “My life’s work is creating joy for others!”


  • Interior Designer: Circa Interior Design
  • General Contracting, Woodworking: Open Door Homes
  • Cabinets: Parks Cabinets (Kitchen), Blossom Spaces (Kitchenette)
  • Countertops, Backsplash & Fireplace Surround: Central Surfaces
  • Lighting: Visual Comfort
  • Hardwood Floors: SVB Wood Floors
  • Carpet & LVT Flooring: Eldaca Interiors

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