TWELVE YEARS AGO, Jill Sellers and her husband, Scott, moved from San Francisco to Larkspur with their 15-month-old daughter. The home they chose had six bedrooms, which they appreciated, as they planned on having more children. As intended, the Sellers added two daughters to their family in the years that followed.
“It was a lovely home and it got us through the early years of raising kids,” Jill says. “But it had a choppy floor plan and very low ceilings.” The couple briefly considered buying another home in the same neighborhood, but quickly realized renovating would be more cost-effective. So last year, they moved out and hired a team of professionals to realize their dream.
The biggest changes were to the common areas. They pushed out into the front yard six feet. Next, they flip-flopped the kitchen and family room, knocking down a wall between the two to give the home a more open feel. And by reworking the roofline, they were able to increase the ceiling height.
“Before the remodel we had a galley-style kitchen at the back of the house. I found that I was in this space alone a lot of the time,” recalls Jill. “What I wanted was a space where the whole family could gather while I cooked.”
The Sellerses also moved the front door and carved out a now-well-used mudroom from the old entryway area. Another major modification was relocating the staircase. Moving it allowed a once-cramped laundry room to double in size.
The new stairs are also considerably grander and more in keeping with the scale of the home. “The old staircase was tiny, just 27 inches wide,” says Jill.
Upstairs, they expanded the footprint of one of their daughter’s bedrooms, gutted a Jack-and-Jill bathroom and added a skylight to the hallway.
To give the home a nautical feel, the walls of the common spaces were enhanced with tongueand- groove siding. “We both grew up sailing and are really attracted to a coastal- style home,” says Jill. “The old house had some of that, but we really tried to bring more of it out.”
Jill brought in an interior designer to help furnish the space and consult on finishes. One of her favorite new pieces: a living room sofa that doubles as settee. “I like to stay out of the sun,” says Jill. “But if I lie down on it with the doors open I get the feeling of being outside even when I’m not.”
WHERE THEY LIVE
The Palm Hill neighborhood of Larkspur
WHAT THEY OWN
A six-bedroom, four-and-a-half-bath California Coastal
Eric Layton of Patriarch Architecture & Development in Larkspur
and Norah Frei of Frei Design in Larkspur
Phil Gazzoli of Gazzoli Construction in Petaluma
Jennifer Corteville of Yellow House in Corte Madera
Dawn Margolis Denberg has worked as a professional journalist for 20 years. Her work has appeared in top publications, including Wired, Shape and Parenting. She has also written several books for children including, The Men in Black Agent’s Manual The Official Godzilla Movie Fact Book. And, most recently, an episodic audio series for Tales Untold.