Marin Home / BACKSTORY
needed no work. Bob, who was initially reluc-
tant to leave Los Angeles, got on board. And
picking a real estate agent was easy: Mom.
“I always thought, ‘If something good turns
up, I’ll let them know,’ ” says Pence. “But this
was spur of the moment, and I feel like it was
meant to be their house.”
For a young couple thinking of expanding
their ranks, the house is perfect. With three
bedrooms (Bob uses one as an office), it’s
nestled beneath three heritage oaks, it has a
deck with a view, and there’s space for both
entertaining and a small family.
As for the house needing no work? Caitlin, an
inveterate decorator and remodeler, added, um,
a few minor touches, refinishing all the floors,
repainting all the walls, reconfiguring the master bath and completely gutting the kitchen.
In order to economize, she acted as her
own contractor and hired subcontractors, who
included her uncle (who demo’ed the kitchen),
her dad and grandfather (who painted), and
the Ohio-raised Bob, who is very handy.
The kitchen, in particular, is a showstopper, with custom Shaker-style cabinets
from CliqStudios, quartz countertops and
Restoration Hardware filament lighting. In the
middle, there’s an island from IKEA, which
exemplifies the Mitchells’ approach to decorating: Caitlin, who’s a whiz at budget shopping,
likes to pair high-end items with budget buys.
In their living room, she accented Sunrise
Home furniture with pillows and with accessories from the discount store HomeGoods. And
in the master bedroom, she mixed Pottery Barn
bedding with a headboard from Overstock.com
and placed a French-style chair from a small
store in Manhattan Beach alongside.
But the Mitchells’ biggest secret weapon
in creating a stylish home was family.
Confirming, for them, that you can go home
again, and it can be awfully sweet. m
FOR CAITLIN AND Bob Mitchell, buying and setting up a home in San Anselmo was a family affair. Less than a year ago, the Mitchells were living in Manhattan
Beach, enjoying beach life in SoCal. Bob
worked as a benefits consultant, Caitlin as a
teacher. But Caitlin, who grew up in Fairfax,
longed to return to Marin and be closer to family, especially her mom, realtor Sue Pence.
The Mitchells had barely begun discuss-
ing a move when Caitlin visited Marin last
Christmas and tagged along with Pence on
a tour of open houses. Her reaction? “It’s so
expensive, we’ll never be able to live here.”
But within days, Pence’s realtor friend
Darlene Hanley mentioned a well-priced,
off-market home in San Anselmo and sug-
gested Caitlin take a look. The location was
what Caitlin wanted — within walking distance
of San Anselmo and Fairfax — and the place