A Thrilla of a Villa
It took tearing this house apart and starting over to make it the showpiece it is today.
BY ROMI CARRELL WITTMAN
PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROBIN STANCLIFF
Ron and Patsy Sable already felt like they were part of the neighborhood when they made the decision to purchase a golf villa in La Paloma.
Patsy, who works as a Realtor, says, “I’d sold homes in the neighborhood, and we knew people here both socially and through business.”
In fact, Patsy herself was the listing agent for the house. As she showed it to potential buyers, she became more and more enamored of it. With nearly 180-degree views of the Catalina Mountains, a spacious backyard with wraparound patio, and a prime location on the golf course, Patsy recognized the home’s almost limitless potential. But she also knew that it would entail quite a bit of work.
Built in the 1980s, the 2,785-square-foot, three-bedroom, three bath home had been owned by a retired couple since the 1990s. They decided to downsize and list the home at roughly the same time the Sables decided to “rightsize.”
“We don’t like to call it downsizing,” Ron says with a chuckle. “We were looking for something that was a little easier to maintain.”
The Sables’ former residence, a 3,600-square-foot house on a full acre of land, had simply become too time consuming. “It was a lot to take care of,” Patsy explains. “We wanted a house that could accommodate guests, but we didn’t want it to sit unused the rest of the time.”
The La Paloma home fit the bill, but it needed a bit of TLC, not only in terms of updating, but also functionality. Ultimately, the Sables took the home down to studs and rebuilt it, with Ron overseeing the project.
The couple wisely held off on listing their current home during the project. Instead, they lived there while Ron spent countless hours driving back and forth to supervise the remodel.
“We went in blind,” Patsy says of the extreme makeover. “But we also had general contractor friends who helped guide us.”
The couple quickly realized that there is a preferred way to organize a renovation. As Ron says, “It’s a full-time job scheduling everything in the right order!”
He saw that pricing could vary wildly, too. “That was a surprise,” he reveals. “I discovered there were significant differences for the same product of the same quality.” He credits the Internet as well as his sweat equity in helping him through that process, and observes that, wherever possible, they sourced materials locally.
The kitchen, with its stark white cabinets and Formica counters, desperately needed a facelift, but the renovation was more than cosmetic. The Sables reconfigured the space for better functionality.
That meant moving gas, electric and water lines — a process that was both messy and time consuming.
“I was surprised at how much you destroy a house before you put it back together,” Patsy says. “There were holes everywhere!”
The remodel also entailed removing a wall between the dining room and the kitchen, opening the space to create a small dining area. Cherry cabinets, a granite countertop from Bedrosian, and a 3-D glass tile backsplash from Floor & Décor are features of the new kitchen. The couple installed a Viking range as well as a top of- the-line coffee maker that produces results rivaling those of the best coffee shops.
Previously the home featured two master suites, one upstairs and another downstairs. The Sables decided to reconfigure the upper level one, turning it into a study. In the process of opening up that space, they exposed lovely wooden beams. Another guest room and bathroom made the home more functional.
The Sables extensively remodeled the family room, including nano doors to the back patio, making a seamless indoor/outdoor transition when they entertain. The standout feature of the family room is a dark-tiled wall that includes a fireplace as a focal point. The unique porcelain tile has metal pieces running through it to catch the light and add dimension. Even the grout features tiny pieces of glass for more visual interest.
In all, the renovation took several months, but the couple says it was worth it.
“I worried about the flow in this house, Patsy concludes, “but this is so much more functional than our old one. I just love to sit in the kitchen and enjoy the view.”