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Old Word Architecture Meets New World Interiors in a Los Gatos Villa

By Carolyne Zinko | April 28, 2020 | Home & Real Estate

Kristi Will Design and great architectural bones help a Los Gatos mansion put its best face forward in the 21st century.

MASTERKRISTIWILL5.jpgThe updated fireplace of this Los Gatos home is a focal point for the living room, with dramatic book-matched Arabescato black marble slabs by Da Vinci Marble.

With its Aegean temperatures and forested hillsides, Silicon Valley is well-suited for Mediterranean mansions. The trick is making sure that such residences, a popular trend in recent decades, keep up with the times. When a tech executive and his wife enlisted Kristi Will of Kristi Will Design to bring an outdated villa—last remodeled in the 1980s—into 2020, it was no easy feat. Her biggest challenge? “How to marry the old-world architecture with new-world interiors in a cohesive and thoughtful way,” she recalls.

The two-level home, built in a U-shaped plan with two wings flanking a courtyard, contains 8,000 square feet of living space. On the ground level, one wing contains a kitchen and family room, while the other holds a TV room and bar. Upstairs, a master bedroom and three guest bedrooms are found. The foyer of the home leads to a central courtyard with a swimming pool, a pool house and, beyond that, a tennis court. The foyer also contains a staircase to the second floor.

Will says the clients found the home too dark and confining for their liking. As former residents of Seattle, a glassblowing center of the U.S., the couple collects the work of glass sculptor Dale Chihuly and wanted to be able to display it. As a top executive, the husband hosts parties and sought room for entertaining. “We asked ourselves, if the house were built today in a Mediterranean style, what would it look like?” Will says. “We wanted to be true to the limestone floors and details, to peel the ornateness back and keep the architecture moving forward.”

The home’s previous color palette, heavy and rustic with reds, umbers and yellows, gave way to a base of blue, taupe and cream. Because the wife enjoys fashion, Will selected decorative fabrics from Dedar fabrics’ new Hermès Collection to reflect her love of chic patterns and tonal textures. The biggest change was introducing light and a feeling of openness. To do that, Will installed 16-foot glass doors (leading to the courtyard) in the family room in one wing and the TV room in the other.

In the foyer, ornate, embellished metal posts supporting the staircase railing were removed and replaced with Lucite posts for reflectivity and sparkle. For lighting in the foyer’s soaring 26-foot ceiling, Will brought in Anna Kondolf Lighting Design. “When you have a can light coming down on that length of beam spread, it’s challenging to make that space feel well-lit and not have a bunch of cans in the ceiling,” Will says. “One of the surprises was how beautifully the lighting came together to make the house feel light and bright.” De Mattei Construction assisted with updating the kitchen, the bar, bathrooms and fireplace surrounds (also previously ornate).

Some of Will’s favorite elements: split-face limestone fireplace surrounds fabricated by Da Vinci Marble; unique pyramid design in the kitchen cabinetry by Cutting Edge Cabinetry and an elegant Jonathan Browning fixture above it; and the jewel box powder room with a cast glass sink by John Lewis Glass of Oakland and a backsplash of shattered glass mosaics by Ellen Blakeley Studio in Sausalito. Glass sconces from Magni Home added sparkle. “The house felt much smaller when we first walked through,” Will says. “By lightening the fireplaces, opening the rooms and changing the finishes, the house really expanded.”

MASTERKRISTIWILL4a-0001.jpgThe renovated kitchen features cabinets by Cutting Edge Cabinetry, light fixtures by Jonathan Browning and quartzite surfaces by Da Vinci Marble

DiningRoom-0001.jpgThe dining room wall features split-face champagne limestone by Da Vinci Marble, lighting by John Pomp Studios, a custom table and custom rug, the homeowners’ own chairs, cabinets by Baker and art by Cassandria Blackmore.

MASTERKRISTIWILL8-0001.jpgA bar features a backlit slab of Antolini crystal quartz, and lighting and bar stools from Arteriors

PowderRoom-0001.jpgA powder room contains a Waterworks gold lavatory set, a custom cast glass sink by John Lewis Glass Studio and a shimmering glass wall by Ellen Blakeley Studio

kristiwilllosgatos2gardena-0001.jpgA view of an outdoor path

Photography by: Jose Manuel Alorda