An Expansive "Livable Luxury" Home in La Canada, CA by Courtney Thomas Design

Courtney Thomas Design have beautifully custom designed the interior of a new build colonial home in La Canada.

How were you commissioned?:    
This project was a new build and interior design project by Courtney Thomas Design (, in collaboration with Stoddard Architects and Robert Barsamiam. CTD left few details to chance in this 9,000 square foot colonial home. Courtney and her team custom designed all built-in cabinetry in the house and added architectural elements like coffered ceilings and panelled mirror vanity walls for drama. Giving the homeowner's colorful, bold art a chance to shine, they focused on fabrics, drapes and wall colors in muted shades of blues, greys, silvers, and beiges. Indoor-outdoor entertainment spaces were priorities so the family could host large family gatherings at holidays and friends on weekends. For their quieter moments, though, it is the warmth of the kitchen, a light-filled home office, an oversized family room couch and the bedroom retreats they crave.

What was the brief from the client and how much were they involved?:    
The clients were one of Courtney's favorite parts of this project. This was a collaborative effort on so many levels and they put their trust and belief in the CTD team throughout. They stayed optimistic and resolute throughout the build and furnishings of this 9,000 sq ft house, which allowed Courtney and her team to not only complete a beautiful home but enjoy the entire process as well. As a family of five, the clients were looking for a space that fit everyone's needs.

How did the brief affect the materials and design choices?:    
The clients loved transitional and traditional styles, so Courtney Thomas used materials in the master bathroom, for instance, along with other spaces in the home, that blended the two: luxurious and timeless finishes with clean-line design. The client needed family-friendly and functional design to complement their lifestyle, so Courtney Thomas built cubbies for each family member in busy spots such as the mudroom. The bench, hooks and boot cubbies get used for day-to-day items (coats, backpacks, and shoes) while the upper (and harder to reach) cubbies store seasonal items that don’t need to be accessed daily. The full-length cabinet at the end of the sink wall was built deeper for winter coats, sports equipment, and dog gear. And because mudrooms are often the first and last space we move through in a house, there needed to be a command center for signed homework, field trip slips, mail, and keys. Courtney built the mail cubbies closest to the door so that items in it didn't get overlooked as the family left through the garage. For the kitchen, Courtney and the CTD team needed to create a space that accommodated both day-to-day living and large family entertaining. The initial plans called for an oversized island, truncated upper cabinets and no ceiling detail. Given the spaciousness of the kitchen and the height of the ceilings, Courtney thought the space had greater potential and knew that they could spice up the architectural drama and address the required function of the kitchen’s island all at the same time. Suggested by Stoddard Architects, the team split the single island into two giving the family more horizontal work-space and greater lower cabinet storage and to keep the space from feeling cavernous, they added the coffered ceilings and dropped a soffit around the perimeter of the space so that the upper cabinets didn’t stretch to an unreachable 10’ ceiling height.

How did your previous experience help you with this project?:    
Courtney Thomas Design is highly regarded for its success in designing functional and family-friendly homes that are actually livable for young families, kids, Cheeto fingers, etc., while still feeling luxurious - Courtney likes to call it, "livable luxury". This really tends to resonate with the majority of homeowners who look to design their spaces in a reasonable and obtainable manner for family life, rather than just for style. To Courtney and her team, it's the daily life stories that should mold your home into a space of authenticity, rather than just a space of beauty. With Courtney being a mother of four kids under the age of twelve, herself, she doesn't design, build, or create for everyday perfection, because in her world, that doesn't exist. The firm's clients and projects are functional in their layout, comfortable in their use, inspirational in their style, and luxurious in their appointment - all things that Courtney was able to easily implement into this project.

Can you explain the layout of the project:    
With such a massive space, the home includes a two-story entry with grand staircase, a Bohemian art glass chandelier, double kitchen islands with book-matched, quartzite counters, custom, built-in cabinetry, and coffered ceilings. The hardwood floors throughout the main floor include both perpendicular and parallel spaces. The CTD team opted to run the flooring parallel to the house's wingspan and along the main hallways which would've suffered the most from a directional mistake.  

What problems or challenges did you face?:    
Courtney had to make a convincing argument for the coffered ceilings since only one homeowner was completely sold on the idea. She had to compromise on another design detail she wanted to pursue, but it ultimately, it was worth it. In adding the coffered ceiling, additional challenges were created as well. In the kitchen, the islands aren’t actually centered in the room so aligning the coffered ceiling required a great deal of planning to make them look not only centered over the islands but between the perimeter counters and evenly spaced from the ceiling beams in the family room. Adding all of these architectural details required lots of clever molding decisions when it came to tying the kitchen and family room spaces together.   

How do you think this project is pushing design forward? What makes it special?:    
With such a large square footage, the home itself already exudes luxury. With Courtney Thomas' background in implementing "livable luxury" into a space through design, the fact that she was able to create such custom and functional details that the family could realistically enjoy in every part of the home, is a step forward in design that isn't just deemed "beautiful", but rather beautiful AND functional, comfortable, and inspirational.

Kitchen: Backsplash Tile: Ann Sacks Cabinetry: Eldemar Dentzuky from Trade Custom Cabinet Cooktop: Wolf Dishwashers: KitchenAid Double Ovens and Warming Drawer: Wolf Faucet: Newport Brass Fridge/Freezer: Sub-Zero Island Lighting: Regina Andrew Range Hood Liner: Wolf Sink: Kohler Master Bath: Cabinetry: Eldemar Dentzuky from Trade Custom Cabinets Shower Faucet: Moen Sink: Kohler Sink Faucet: Moen Tile: Foothill Tile and Stone Tub: Aquatic Tub Faucet: Moen Mudroom: Cabinetry: Fernando Reyes from Finish Time Cabinets Sink: Kohler Sink Faucet: Moen

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