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A Westlake Hills Home Undergoes Extensive Remodel from Blair Burton Interiors

The decades-old foundation is about the only thing that remains as the one-story house is transformed into a five-bedroom space

In the heart of Westlake Hills, a newly re-designed home showcases the difference and modernization a complete remodel on an existing foundation can make. New walls, new bricks, new almost everything helped transform a one-story into a two-story almost 6,500-square-foot home, all on the home’s pre-existing 1960s concrete base.

Despite the upgrades, a priority to blend in with other existing homes in the neighborhood is apparent. Even though the home is now a two-story among rows of one-story rambler-style homes, it is made to blend in. An old Texas brick with a stucco smear helps to make the home look a little older, yet elegant. Part of this is due to the bricks looking more pink than designers expected, so they used a smear to tone elements down.

Five full bedrooms with en suites, a large media room, sunroom office, two powder rooms and a laundry room, plus two kitchens, sit on the newly laid out foundation — bringing life into new spaces and customized features with individual lifestyles in mind. For example, two kitchens and two separate living rooms help accommodate a multi-generational family for a set of empty nesters who moved from California to Austin. “I always encourage homeowners to think about how they use the kitchen. They knew they needed to accommodate a lot of people,” says designer Blair Burton of Blair Burton interiors. “They have a large family, and the wife’s parents live with them. I think the kitchen is really special. They weren’t afraid to use materials they loved, as opposed to a lot of times people don’t want to use marble because it might stain.”

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Custom placed, piece by piece, entirely by hand, teams took an entire day to install the marble one at a time, to make sure it was exactly the desired look. The kitchen also showcases a vintage table and chairs, a custom vent hood, sub-zero appliances and stainless-steel shelving.

That same attention to detail is seen throughout this entire project. A dining room ceiling that drops down in one of the kitchens and a study with cozy nooks helps to create spots that feel special in a large home.

“I really love the main living room and the kitchen, just because of how it flows with the different ceiling heights. It feels big, but it still feels cozy. It accommodates a lot of people without feeling like a castle,” says Burton.

Shiplap paneling on the ceilings creates a circular textured look which is something important in Burton’s design.

“That was really the inspiration. I’m always big about texture, especially in big spaces,” says Burton. “Bring in the texture so it doesn’t look like a big white room.”

The ability to accommodate existing tastes and art took a priority in this project. Two pieces from Austin-based artist Roi James needed a place within the interior design, with one going perfectly above the fireplace and the other in the entryway.

“I always use art to inform the palette. I’m not necessarily going to match fabrics to it, but it was important to find locations for the artwork,” says Burton. “One of the things I do is work with existing pieces and make them feel fresh in a new house.”

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Rugs from the homeowners’ old home are present in the new home. Three shades of gray and white can be seen throughout the home. A coffee bar similar to their previous home, complete with Starbucks cups, is another essential element.

“What a privilege it is to work in clients’ spaces and make the house their own,” says Burton. “How you live is one of the most personal things. Being able to do that — asking people their morning routines and how they cook and who lives in their house — those dynamics, it’s an honor.

Newport Beach-based architect Bob White drew floor plans for the home. An arborist also helped, as teams worked to not destroy any nearby trees, due to permits within Westlake.

“It’s always a little tricky when you are working with an existing footprint,” says Burton. “Using the existing foundation helps with timeframe. It also saves money. Right now, the cost of concrete is really high.”

Overall, Burton has this piece of advice for any homeowners considering a top-to-bottom reconstruction: “Make sure you work with people who are really positive and can bring your vision together,” says Burton. “If you encounter people who are negative or that don’t work well together with you — just run. This is a long process, and it should be really fun and special.”

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