Marin Home / BACKSTORY
sink and all the appliances were crammed
And while they chose white inset cabinetry to
together, which meant we were all constantly
The new kitchen features a Calacatta
marble island and Caesarstone countertops.
honor the home’s Victorian style, the overall
space feels sleek and modern.
Next on the list were completely redoing the
bathrooms and rethinking the outdoor space.
By not moving any plumbing, the couple managed to transform four bathrooms quickly and
on a relatively small budget. Another time and
money saver: prefab vanities from Restoration
Hardware and Pottery Barn.
The yard makeover, on the other hand,
took considerably more time and money.
For starters, they ripped out old stairways
and pathways in bad repair and repaved them
in Connecticut bluestone. They also pulled up
an ancient free-form pool. “It was beautiful,
but keeping it heated and full of water was an
environmental disaster,” Brenda explains.
The one detail of the pool they did keep:
Other upgrades included dozens of drought-
“There was a waterfall that dumped water into
the pool. It was so pretty that we decided to
hang on to it and use it as a water feature.”
In the spot that once was a pool, the
couple created a gathering space with a large
Restoration Hardware fire pit as a focal point.
tolerant plants, four trees and all-new fencing.
Finally, the entire yard was wired for light,
allowing the space to be enjoyed well after dark.
And while the soon-to-be empty nesters have
no immediate plans to move, the idea that they
may one day sell factored into their renovation
decisions. “This is such a warm, happy house,”
Brenda says. “I’d suspect a family with little kids
would move in and enjoy it as much as we do.” m
NEARLY 13 YEARS ago, Brenda Cantu, husband Rick Boyce and their two girls moved into a majestic place in the hills of San Anselmo. The Victorian-style home, built from the ground up in 1982,
was in great shape, but for a few structural
elements. “The only major remodeling we did
was adding a front porch,” Brenda says. “To
this day, it’s where we spend tons of our time.”
With young children to raise, updating
the interior was not a priority. But as the kids
got older and life got easier, the couple began
sprucing up the place. In the beginning they
tackled small jobs: updating a powder room
and turning a workshop into an exercise room.
More recently, they decided to take on big-
ger projects, including gutting their 1980s-era
kitchen. “We completely reconfigured the
layout,” Brenda says. “In the old kitchen the