Marin Home / BACKSTORY
that was modern, but also beachy and boho,”
Ali says. “Matthew’s grandmother used to have
a house in the Bahamas that we both loved; it
was a vibe we hoped to replicate.”
The plan included expanding the home by
675 square feet, which allowed them to build
out a new master with an en suite bathroom.
They also carved out space for a mudroom/
laundry room, an office that doubles as a guest
bedroom, and a powder room. “It’s still not a
big house, but it’s so light and airy that it feels
spacious,” Ali says.
In the early months of the construction,
the family remained in the house. “While they
were building out the addition, we were able to
keep living in the old part,” Ali says. “It was a
bit noisy, but it definitely gave us an apprecia-
tion for what goes into the building process.”
Once the footprint was expanded, the
family moved out as the entire space was
reimagined. The children’s bedrooms and
bathroom required the least amount of work.
“We put in new doors and new door hardware,” Ali says. They also pulled out the
flooring and replaced it with wide-plank engineered wood floors, which are now the palette
for the entire house.
The home’s public spaces were taken down to
the studs. Out came the cramped galley kitchen
breakfast nook and in its place was installed an
open-concept kitchen adjacent to a great room.
“We also retiled the fireplace and converted it
from wood-burning to gas,” Ali says.
The backyard also got a face-lift: updates
included a new deck area with a gas fire pit as
the centerpiece and a bar counter with a pass-
through window to the kitchen.
For novice remodelers, the scope of this
project was admittedly ambitious. In the end,
however, they have no regrets. “It was stressful for sure,” says Ali. “But I’d definitely do
it again.” m
SEVEN YEARS AGO, Ali Dunn and her husband, Matthew, purchased their first home, in Mill Valley. The tiny bungalow was the perfect vehicle to test-drive a post-urban life.
“I wasn’t thrilled about leaving the city,”
Ali recalls. “It was my husband who was driving the move.” But while it didn’t happen
overnight, she adapted to the less bustling
life and eventually grew to love it.
In those early years, the three-bedroom
one-bath home worked well for the couple and
their t wo young children. But as time went by,
and their girls grew older, the once-cozy space
began to feel cramped. “One bathroom with
three ladies just wasn’t going to work,” Ali
notes with a laugh.
So the Dunns, who by now felt very attached
to their kid-friendly neighborhood in the flats
of town, hired an architect to expand and
remodel their home. “ We wanted something