Why do you call yourselves the Hommeboys?
When we were looking to name our interior design sect of our business we wanted it to be off-the-cuff and fun, in a way playing off of our interiors themselves. The ‘home’ because that’s what we do and the ‘boys’ because we are playful and have a devil-may-care approach to design. ‘Homme’ is French for man but obviously sounds like ‘home’. We like that it sounded like ‘homeboy’ in that we treat our clients like our hommies. We threw the two together and from that evolved the Hommeboys.
What can you tell us about Sonoma, where the home you renovated is located?
Sonoma, California, is in the heart of wine country in the northern part of the San Francisco bay area. Life here centres around the whole concept of indoor/outdoor living, nature and cool and relaxed atmospheres. The area itself caters to a more country and farmhouse scene and the demographic is a lot older than we are but we feel we bring a fresh take to the area and try to push people outside their comfort zones while at the same time staying true to the ideals of what life is like here. Most days you can catch people relaxing in the oak-scattered hills, looking over the valley and really taking in what this beautiful landscape has to offer. We draw huge inspiration from our environment, which you see represented in many of our projects.
Which renovation element do you think gave you the ‘most improved’ effect?
Our staple when designing homes is to make sure that the seamless indoor/outdoor idea of living comes through in most of the common spaces in the home. So when we start a new project we always try and find a way to make sure we create that idea in as many rooms as we can. Typically, we end up blowing out a few walls leading to the outdoor spaces and we install giant walls of glass that slide away and disappear into the walls. Once the door is fully open the space is immediately one with the outside. With this project we actually had to completely tear down the back of the house and rebuild it to make sure we achieved that feeling in the main living/kitchen/dining space.
Which renovation idea gave you the biggest impact for smallest investment?
It’s really hard to say what the biggest bang for your buck is when you’re doing a complete interior and exterior gut and remodel to a whole home because everything is new. That being said, we would probably say that replacing your floors will make the biggest interior impact for a smaller investment. There are so many flooring options out there now and prices are fairly reasonable. If you’re relatively handy, installation is a breeze and the impact it will make is huge – it can completely transform an interior space!
What is your favourite room post-renovation?
Our favourite room post-renovation is the main living space, which used to be the master bedroom and had the only access to the pool. We completely turned the floor plan on its head and switched a lot of the spaces out to create a better flow in the house. We decided that the main living space needed to be right at the pool – I mean who doesn’t want to step out of your living room and dive right in? This section of the house was not true to the original mid-century of the front (it was an addition that had been done in the 70s). We chose to tear it down completely and rebuild it to pay homage to the style of the rest of the home. This allowed us to rethink this space to create an open floorplan and high vaulted ceilings.
What element of the reno do people always comment on?
Most people, right off the bat, are impressed by how we reconfigured the space. We took a 2100 square foot house and made it feel like 3000. The high vaulted ceilings, the large glass openings and a more sensible layout make the home feel a lot larger and most people are surprised when they come back to the entry and see the second living space.
What was the trickiest part of the reno?
The trickiest part of renovating a space is not knowing what could be under the house or behind the walls. When buying an older home you always have the unknowns and it can prove more difficult than just starting from scratch. We had to completely gut and redo all the electrical and plumbing because it was ancient. I mean we are talking duck-taped wires hidden in the walls – nightmare! But what can also be tricky, especially here in California, is getting an older home up to code. You have to be smart about the decisions you make and sometimes things are just not possible in the budget you’re given.
What reno idea are you most proud of?
We have to say it’s definitely the exterior! We decided to go full-tilt with the original mid-century look of the house in an area that generally doesn’t blend seamlessly with that aesthetic. The landscape’s large cacti, low-maintenance grasses, succulents and olive trees blended together to create a very natural-looking California environment at the end of a suburban cul de sac. The existing stucco was scraped down and recoated using a plaster finish to give it that modelled marble look and the old wood siding was replaced to give it a softer yet modern appeal. The house’s stucco and siding facelift juxtaposed with the arid natural landscaping really came together better then we could’ve hoped.
Any future projects in mind for the home?
We actually sold the house recently but the new owners are planning on adding on an art studio! In the next few months, we will break ground so follow along with us to see what comes next.