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Style Magazine

Feels Like Home: Wow-Worthy Before & After

El Dorado Hills resident Lisa P. has been renovating her home, room by room, for more than a decade—and she’s hired local Granite Bay firm Designs With You In Mind  ( for each and every project.

Before the refresh, her home featured traditional brown finishes and was starting to feel dated; not to mention, it was no longer functioning for her family’s daily routine. Cathy Tonks of Designs With You In Mind stepped in to complete the transformation, which resulted in a home that boasts a transitional style with a calming feel.

Kitchen: BEFORE


Kitchen: AFTER


“Our overarching goal was to make sure everything we did flowed to allow our clients to entertain guests in luxury,” Tonks says. “Like all our projects, we also used the finest materials and top appliance brands.”

Tonks’ design needed to improve the house’s overall function. Her solutions included turning the rarely-used formal dining room into an inspiring home office; taking a section of the downstairs area to create a “lady cave,” which provides an escape for Lisa to relax and unwind; installing new floors throughout the home; creating an open-concept layout to better connect the kitchen, dining room, and living room; and maximizing the available bright natural light whenever possible.

Living room: BEFORE


Living room: AFTER


For the kitchen renovation, Tonks says the cabinet layout was working well, and both the cabinets and hardware were in excellent condition, so they modified and painted the cabinets for a refresh. Additionally, they added soft-close hinges into the kitchen cabinets and drawers for an elevated feeling while also protecting the cabinet finishes. They also replaced the kitchen hood over the range—though when it was removed, the intake was offset, so they built a soffit and facade to make it work. Other kitchen upgrades included new tile, countertops, crown molding, and baseboards. The cool color palette added to it was then continued into the adjacent living room, where the design team added new window coverings, furnishings, artwork, and plants to create a cozy and comfortable gathering space.

The home has bonus rooms downstairs, including a second family room that contained a kitchenette and a bed. Lisa’s son was staying in this room, which was inconvenient when the family had guests over. “Her son needed his own space, so we moved a major wall out, giving the homeowners’ better access to the kitchenette and a space for their son with a full ensuite bathroom, plus Lisa’s ‘lady cave,’ and a powder room,” Tonks says. “We infused some of the client’s personality into the powder bath through custom wallpaper and photos of her two adorable pups.”

Fireplace: BEFORE


Fireplace: AFTER


Moving outdoors, they created a space for Lisa to entertain off the pool. “We gave the family an upscale coastal-style kitchen, [and in the] back patio area off the pool, installed herringbone porcelain tile with texture to prevent slipping, painted existing railing, added new furniture, and painted the home’s exterior.”

Bathroom: BEFORE


Bathroom: AFTER


One of the more recent projects was the upstairs renovation, which had a four-to-five-month timeline. “We redid both daughters’ bedrooms and updated the jack-n-jill bathroom,” Tonks says. “Specifically, we removed the bathtub and replaced it with a tiled shower, painted the cabinets, and updated the hardware with soft-close hinges.”

Lisa’s home is now a calming oasis perfect for entertaining her friends and family. “I highly recommend working with Designs With You In Mind!” Lisa says. “I have worked with Cathy for over 10 years to slowly transform my entire house into my dream space. She has an amazing gift of understanding people’s personal styles but also stretching it beyond anything you could ever imagine!”

Bedroom: AFTER


by Kourtney Jason
Photos by Liz Zimbelman.