SANDY AND DAVID Millspaugh of Asheville, North Carolina, were drawn to the Bay Area after two of their children moved here. One eventually resettled out of state, but the other put down roots, purchasing a home in Marin to live in with his wife and son. After many visits, the Millspaughs fell in love with Marin and decided to buy a home here too, planning on a bicoastal retirement.
Finding the right spot wasn’t easy. “We looked on and off for at least five years,” David says. Finally, in 2014, they settled on a hillside Craftsman in Sausalito with postcard bay views.
The house had good bones, though it hadn’t been remodeled since the eighties. “It was very dated, which really bothered me,” Sandy recalls. David says, “It didn’t bother me a bit.”
But as the saying goes, happy wife, happy life, so in 2017 the coupled teamed with Jennifer Wundrow and Heather Brock, of Nest Design Co. in Ross, to devise a renovation plan.
The project started out small in scope, then kept snowballing until it became a near down-to-the-studs remodel. They expanded the kitchen and tricked it out with all-new custom cabinetry, marble countertops and top-of-the-line appliances. Every bathroom was reimagined. Engineered wide-plank oak floors were laid down throughout. Out came two old wood-burning fireplaces and in went two energy-efficient gas units. The one in the living room now has a surround fashioned from carved Carrara marble tiles by Artistic Tile; the one in the master is adorned with Ann Sacks 6-by-12-inch stone pieces. New built-in cabinets in the dining room were designed to complement the couple’s existing table and chairs, reupholstered to coordinate with the wallpaper.
While the home still has quirks, including a tight stairwell leading to the second floor, the Millspaughs embrace them. One funky detail that had to go was the original laundry area. “It was outside. You had to walk outside and around the back deck to a storage closet,” recalls Sandy. “After doing this in the rain for three years, I said, ‘Enough.’ ” The design team carved space for a proper laundry room from what was once a vestibule off the guest bedroom. The outdoor storage room got closed off and opened to the inside — making space for another surprise. “It ended up being the perfect place to put a small kitchen pantry,” Sandy says.
The outside also got a face-lift. “We stained the redwood shingles gray, changed the house trim to black, updated the front garden, replaced all the exterior lighting and added new landscaping,” Sandy says.
Renovations behind them, they are now savoring family life in their quiet hillside home. “Our grandson sleeps over all the time,” says Sandy. “And we’re available for babysitting.”
WHAT THEY OWN
A 3-bedroom, 2.5-bath Craftsman
WHERE THEY OWN
The South Banana Belt neighborhood in Sausalito
Ross Reed of Design Solutions, San Francisco
Jennifer Wundrow and HeatherBrock of Nest Design Co., Ross
“I guess I would say the kitchen, although my inside laundry room is also fabulous,” Sandy says.
Photos by Thomas Kuoh.
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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.