Sunny Side Up

The Waterfront Location Acts as Inspiration for This Balboa Island, California Vacation Home

Locals might catch Wendy Blackband riding a golf cart loaded with baskets of fabric on her way to meet clients on Balboa Island in Newport Beach, Living room12232_Copy11California. The owner of Blackband Design in Irvine resides on the scenic island where she designed a colorful retreat that was completely renovated for a couple. And though the home is not directly on the water, it does overlook Newport Harbor.Accessible only by bridge or ferry, the quaint location provides a lovely escape for this couple and their company. “They wanted to use this as a hub to connect with their children and their eleven grandchildren,” says Blackband. “They had pretty clear visions of what they wanted to do, and I helped facilitate that.” For starters, the 3,200-square-foot Cape Cod–style structure had a number of walls removed to accommodate family get-togethers. The designer says that here the living room is the heart of the home. “It’s where most people are going to gather. They watch TV, do their entertaining; the room has a lot of different functions,” says Blackband. Custom built-ins provide much-needed storage space. “Every inch counts,” she says. “They liked the idea of having closed storage below for games and things that you don’t want to have on display.” Cabinets are topped with granite that ties into the nearby kitchen, while open shelves hold decorative items. 111-Diamond_537112258_12326 Blackband describes the vibrant interiors as “traditional beach style with a dash of bohemian.” Her clients had two main goals for their getaway; one was to open up the space. “There was a wall separating the living room from the kitchen, which was tiny. We opened it all up, which was a really important thing to have done here,” she says. “It’s more of a great room when the living room opens up to the kitchen. There is so much activity here when entertaining.” Along the same lines, she was tasked with distinguishing the front entrance from the living room. Blackband created not only a separation but a sensation with a long console topped with substantial lamps and a shell mirror. The other objective was to lighten everything up, which was done with white paint on the ceiling, walls, and trim. When outfitting this coastal home, Blackband considered the wife’s personal style. “She is very put together, not too casual looking,” she says. “It was important to have a house that’s more casual in this setting. I still brought in some traditional furnishings, but updated them a little bit.” 111-Diamond_532112257_Cop25Color adds a big boost to the luxurious yet livable environment. Known for creating layered interiors, Blackband kicked her client’s request for turquoise up a notch. “It’s a combination of colors: turquoise, coral, navy, teal, and sage green,” she says. “We start with core pieces that are kind of neutral, like the English roll arm swivel chair, which is perfect for watching TV.” The English roll arm sofa sports natural-colored linen, while shapely aged-leather ottomans are embellished with nail-head trim. “I love the idea of bringing in texture with linen, a large chunky jute rug, and leather ottomans,” says Blackband, who delivers incredible pillows that blend tapestry with velvet, silk, and embroidery. The repetition of colors, such as coral, keeps everything in line. “Not everything has to be completely symmetrical, but it has to be well balanced. You can change it, but still keep it well constructed with a composition that makes sense.” All of the pillows and most of the furniture are custom, including a bobbin chair upholstered in striped fabric and finished with nail-head trim. Custom draperies hung on wrought iron hardware feature a geometric pattern. 111-Diamond_535312259_Cop27 A playful mix of accent pieces that fuses animal prints with coral and blue-and-white porcelain are from the designer’s retail store that carries unique furniture and accessories. “A big part of what we do is accessorizing. It’s like a big reveal when the client decides which ones to keep,” she says. And once the details are in place, the homeowners can focus on what’s most important: connecting with family in the comfort of their well-designed vacation home.     WRITTEN BY JEANINE MATLOW PHOTOGRAPHY BY VINCENT IVICEVIC, V.I.PHOTOGRAPHY & DESIGN

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