before and afterInteriors

Before & After: A San Diego Home Balances Restoration & Modernity

by Rebekah Carey

Ashley And Ross' Master Bedroom Details On Design*Droits-Humains

Ross and Ashley Goldman and their cat, Mabel, have lived in their 1915 San Diego, CA craftsman for two years. Much of that time has been spent making their house into a home, highlighting the beautiful original details of the century-old structure, and creating a modern respite fit for sitting back and reflecting on all of their hard work. All of which led Ashley to create a blog to document their renovations, — a name created from a combination of their last name and the literal hive that was found in their home when they bought it. When she’s not working on the house, Ashley can be found at a local art museum where she works on programs with school kids, anthropomorphizing her plants and vintage portraits, or making pies.

Ashley and Ross both grew up in the suburbs, in 70s tract housing, only a few blocks away from each other. When they were looking to purchase their first home, they knew they wanted one with a little more history than those in which they spent their childhoods. Unfortunately, San Diego isn’t replete with historic districts. The couple looked for two years before they found their craftsman gem in a neighborhood only 15 minutes from downtown that somehow retains a small-town charm despite its proximity to the city center. With all of the charm, the mom-and-pop shops and restaurants, it’s not hard to imagine how difficult finding an available house in that neighborhood would be — Ross didn’t even see their house before Ashley had to put an offer in because he was working out of town (he’s an audio engineer for live events) and there were only two days the home was being shown!

One thing the “before” photos can’t accurately depict is the stench that awaited the industrious couple. Ashley remarked that it was so bad at first that they could barely stand inside — a delightful combination of old cigar smoke and pet urine. “It took us three months of floor refinishing, wall retexturing, cleaning, electrical updates, and a restored bathroom before we could move in. We did a lot upfront to get the house to a place where we could put our things inside, but for the past two years since then, we’ve taken a slow approach to renovations and decorating,” Ashley shares. While there was something of a rush to make their home livable, since then the actual decorating of the space has had an organic flow that took shape as stumbled upon a perfect piece of art, vintage piece, or as they needed furniture. They’ve also not rushed into remodels, but instead lived in their home, hosted parties, friends, and holiday gatherings learning exactly what their needs are before launching into a project. While they don’t feel like their home is “done,” they actually relish in the process and the discoveries they make in getting there, and now, at least for a little while, they get to kick back and watch their favorite Netflix dramas. Follow along to see the work they’ve done so far, and hear what they still dream of changing up.

Photography by

Image above: “Here is view into the den and down the hallway to the bathroom. It isn’t the biggest of masters, but with the adjoining den, it feels like a suite. One day, we hope to add a bathroom to the master. The photo over our bed is from our wedding and it is printed as an engineering print for $7 at Staples. I hung it up two years ago when I felt like I needed something temporary on the walls and it’s stayed this whole time,” Ashley explains.

Ashley And Ross' Before And After Kitchen Tour On Design*Droits-Humains
While Ashley and Ross' kitchen has gone from dark and dated to bright and welcoming, it's not yet in its final iteration. The couple will be doing a remodel at some point in the future to make their kitchen more of a workhorse. "The kitchen earned so many changes without affecting the footprint. New counters, paint, hardware, lighting, appliances, counter space, backsplash, and flooring. The only thing that stayed unaffected by the kitchen updates was the fridge. It merely got a heavy cleaning," Ashley shares.
Ashley And Ross' San Diego Kitchen Features A Vintage Oven On Design*Droits-Humains
Ashley's rare find proves new isn't always necessary, "I got this vintage O’Keefe & Merritt stove at an estate sale down the street when I found that the existing one was in disrepair. I’ve scrubbed the whole thing clean, and it works just as well as the day it was made."
Ashley And Ross' Kitchen Makeover On Design*Droits-Humains
"The garden window above the sink is the perfect home for houseplants. They do double duty as greenery decor as well as hiding the neighbor’s trash cans," Ashley admits.
A Floating Counter Was Added For Additional Space in This San Diego Home On Design*Droits-Humains
Ashley's problem solving creates a stylish corner and further functionality: "The corner of the kitchen had no storage or counter space, so I made a floating countertop to extend our work surface and prep area."
Ashley And Ross' Kitchen Makeover On Design*Droits-Humains
"It’s amazing what some paint and new hardware can do. I also coated the tile counters in [a] few layers of concrete," Ashley explains.
Ashley Demonstrating Her Love Of Baking Pies And Her Design Handy-Work On Design*Droits-Humains
"My hobby other than restoring the house is making pies and experimenting with new recipes," Ashley shares.
Ashley And Ross' Before And After Living Room On Design*Droits-Humains

“We kept all of the original stone and woodwork, but gave the walls a new texture coating after repairing all of the cracks throughout the home. The living room is a formal sitting room. We love the architecture in this space, so we opted not to put a TV here. While it’s a ‘formal’ room in the sense that it isn’t designed to be a place to binge-watch Netflix, I want the space to be comfortable. I chose to pair two non-matching chairs to make the space feel more casual,” Ashley explains.

A View Through The French Doors In This San Diego Home On Design*Droits-Humains

“Between the living room and office are a set of French doors. I love how the individual panes frame the view of the fireplace.”

Family Gathering In The Living Room On Design*Droits-Humains

Ashley explains what makes their little family such a good fit, “Our cat, Mabel, is big on snuggles and h pillows. She fits in nicely with us because we like the same.”

A Favorite Living Room Chandelier Becomes A Staple On Design*Droits-Humains

Ashley shares the story of where her chandelier came from in a most relatable way: “I got this art deco chandelier after I fell in love with a similar one on Nicole Curtis’ show, Rehab Addict. It’s called a wedding cake chandelier and I love the round, feminine shape it adds to a room that’s full of rectangular shapes.”

Special Details And Art Adorn The Built-In Shelves On Design*Droits-Humains

“The built-in room dividers between the living room and dining room have ample space for my tchotchkes and a few of our favorite reads. I try to sprinkle art around the home no matter how small,” Ashley explains.

Buffalo Check Can Be Found In Nearly Every Room In This San Diego Home On Design*Droits-Humains

Ashley describes her style, “I’m drawn to basic and minimal designs that still have something special. This chair from Article has an interesting metal shape that complements that brass throughout the house. I’m also a big fan of buffalo check and it makes an appearance in nearly every room.”

The Fireplace Mantel Features Special Tokens From The Couple's Lives On Design*Droits-Humains

“On the mantel live brass candlesticks and a mirror from a local estate sale along with a few of our favorite framed pieces. The Kids on the Shore print by Tali Yalonetzki came from Artfully Walls and I adore the painterly quality and blue tones. It’s a reoccurring theme with the art I gravitate towards. The photo of Ross and me is from our wedding day when we got married in the gardens of the historic Marston House Museum,” Ashley shares.

A Cat-Tested Chair Makes The Final Grade In This Tour On Design*Droits-Humains

Ashley found a luxurious solution to Mabel’s destructive habits, “The cat loves scratching on our furniture and we’ve found that velvet is the one material she can’t destroy. Not only does she not ruin this chair, but it’s her absolute favorite and she can be found lounging in it all the time. It’s from Article and what I love about it is that it’s a scaled down version of a wingback chair…”

Original Details Meet Modern Furnishings On Design*Droits-Humains

“When I toured the house it was a nighttime, so I had no idea how much natural light would flood into the house. We have lots of windows, and these west-facing Chicago style windows show off great views of the sunsets, and even 4th of July fireworks,” Ashley explains.

Before And After Dining Room Reveals A Bright And Welcoming Space On Design*Droits-Humains

Ashley describes some of the steps they took to making this space more livable, “The hardwoods in the dining room were marred by pet stains. The floors were refinished and much of the damage is repaired, or hidden under the rug. I painted the walls the same color from floor to ceiling to make the space feel bigger. The built-in buffet is what truly sold me on the house. The intact leaded glass and 100-year-old mirror were added bonuses! The door to the left of the buffet swings both directions and leads into the kitchen. The chairs are inspired by the classic molded Eames chair, but these have a h seat which makes long meals extra comfy.”

A Custom Chandelier Completes The Dining Room On Design*Droits-Humains

“I wanted a chandelier more modern than the one in the living room, and one that had a slim profile that wouldn’t compete with the buffet. This piece was custom ordered to fit our space from an Etsy shop,” Ashley explains.

A Thrifted Painting Has Become Incredibly Special In This Tour On Design*Droits-Humains

“I’m a sucker for vintage oil paintings, especially portraits. I refer to this gal as ‘my pretty lady’ and feel like she’s a part of my family,” Ashley admits.

A Painting Of The House From The Previous Owner Hold Court In The Dining Room On Design*Droits-Humains

“The previous homeowner left us a bunch of dirt and grime to clean up after him, but he also bestowed this painting of our house from a decade ago when it was featured in the historic home tour.”

Bathroom Before And After In 1915 Craftsman On Design*Droits-Humains

“The bathroom was entirely gutted down to the crawl space and up into the attic. The floor was rotting and the plumbing was corroded. This space was the first big remodel when we got the house and it’s still a favorite. We took the classic subway tile all the way to the ceiling in the shower, and at a chair rail height around the rest of the walls. The dark grout gives a heritage feel and ties into the dark paint on the walls. Everything in the space is new except for both of the light fixtures and the original medicine cabinet.”

Contrasting Paint Highlights The Bright Tile On Design*Droits-Humains

“We did a dark charcoal on the walls to add contrast to the bright white tiles,” Ashley says. “I played with mixed metals in this space and did black, chrome, and brass. Some may not love the combination, but we do.”

A Remodel That Made A Surprising Pocket For Toiletries On Design*Droits-Humains

The remodel revealed a little unexpected extra storage, “When we redesigned the space, there was room at the foot of the tub for a tall storage unit and behind it was space for a recessed niche in the corner of the shower. It’s tucked out of sight of guests, but so handy while showering.”

The Second Bedroom Became The Couple's Den On Design*Droits-Humains

Ashley goes over the before and after details of the second bedroom that was turned into a den: “This room got refinished floors and retextured walls like the rest of the house. We also removed the garden window and replaced it with a wood double-hung window to match the style and materials used throughout the rest of the house. The second bedroom is where we watch TV, and it doubles as a guest bedroom with this pull-out couch from West Elm.”

Artwork From Etsy Proves A Special Detail In This San Diego Home On Design*Droits-Humains

“This St. Bernard print from painter Mary Sinner is one of my favorites in the house. It pops on the green walls that transition from green to blue to nearly black throughout the day,” Ashley shares.

A Sitting Area Perfect For Netflix And Cat Snuggles On Design*Droits-Humains

“This room is right off of the master and close to the kitchen,” Ashley explains. “You could walk the house in one loop and pass through each of the rooms. The flow is perfect for us now, but we may move some walls when this room becomes a kid’s room.”

The Second Bedroom Became The Den On Design*Droits-Humains

“I reupholstered that chair, and decorated with layers of blues and greens,” Ashley shares.

1915 San Diego Craftsman Before And After On Design*Droits-Humains
The beautiful refinished floors and freshly painted walls continue into the master bedroom makeover.
An Eclectic Mix Of Finds In Ashley And Ross' San Diego Home On Design*Droits-Humains

“The painting is from a flea market, the jewelry box is from Etsy, the dresser is from Craigslist, and the mirror is from Target. This is a perfect example of how I collect items for our home. The Sonos is never not playing music or a podcast at home. When Ross travels for work, our soundtrack keeps me company,” Ashley shares.

The Master Bedroom In This San Diego Craftsman On Design*Droits-Humains

“The quilt is handmade and purchased from Etsy — perfect for our summery days. All of the furniture in the master came from our old apartment and I’m growing tired of it. The beauty of buying off Craigslist is selling the same items on Craigslist,” Ashley explains.

A Favorite Painting Fits In The Space Below The Window In The Bedroom On Design*Droits-Humains

“This early-1900s painting sits on the floor, but that doesn’t mean I love it any less.”

A Water-Wise Garden Replaced The Overgrown Front Yard On Design*Droits-Humains

“The chunks of concrete and overgrown landscape were taking over the facade of the house. The craftsman elements were finally able to breathe after we cut back all of the overgrowth. We recently installed a low-water garden in the front yard. It’s still young but already flourishing,” Ashley shares.

The Goldmans In Their Home On Design*Droits-Humains
Ashley, Ross, and Mabel, all sitting pretty in their lovely home.
The Layout For Ashley And Ross' San Diego Home On Design*Droits-Humains

A clear layout of Ross and Ashley’s 1,400-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath, 1915 San Diego craftsman home.


Living Room

Paint color- “Sail Cloth” by

Green and brushstroke pillow –
Art on Mantel- The Kids on the Shore print by Tali Yalonetzki from
Paint-by-numbers painting of mountain- vintage ()
Brass cranes- vintage ()
Brass fireplace tools with horse heads- vintage  ()
Wedding photo- Photographed by , framed by  
Striped Blanket-  

Blue velvet chair-  

Ivory chair-  

Floor lamp-  

Table lamp-  

Hand print-  

Green landscape painting-  

Ram head bookends- vintage () 
Side table- discontinued from Target () 

Polka dot vase-

Chandelier- vintage () 
Coffee table- Craigslist () 

Buffalo check pillow-

Dining Room

Paint color- Sail Cloth by  



Chandelier- custom from Illuminate Vintage on
Print- The Denny’s Parking Lot by Esther Pearl Watson from  

Droplet art-  

Pretty Lady painting- vintage from  () 
Hanging planter-


Paint color- “Antique Tin” by  

Shower and sink fixtures-  

Console sink-  

Wall sconce- vintage () 

Pendant light- vintage () 
Wall tile-  

Floor tile-  

Glass shelf-  

Soap dispenser-  


Medicine cabinet latch-  

Medicine cabinet hinges-  

Turkish hand towel-  
Nude print-  


Paint color- “Schooner” by  


Stove- vintage () 

Mirror- Vintage from   () 
Planter by cookbooks-
Light over sink-  


Paint color- “Salamander” by  


Side table-  

Wall art above couch- Lucie Birant from  




Floor lamp-  

Chair- Craigslist () 
TV cabinet- vintage () 

St. Bernard print- Mary Sinner from  
Feral House print- James Griffioen from  

Floral pillow-  

Picture rail molding-  

Picture rail hooks-  


Table lamp- vintage ()

Master Bedroom

Paint color- “Silver City” by  
Quilt- custom from VLiving from
Curtain rods-  




Dresser- vintage ()
Side table- vintage () 
Print above bed- Photographed by Stacy Keck (), printed as engineering print at Staples 
Flush mount light-  


Jewelry box- vintage () 

Landscape painting- vintage ()
Fruit painting- vintage ()

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  • This house has great bones and they found the perfect balance: Modern updates while still retaining the original character.

    I have such mixed feelings about the new kitchen floor. On the one hand, it’s beautiful. On the other hand, I would kill to have original hardwood floors in my kitchen!

    I love that they painted some of the woodwork and left some of it stained. I struggled with that particular decision in my own house and ended up painting everything except the doors. It brightened up the house without losing any of the charm :)

    • Hi Rachel!

      Believe me, hardwoods are my favorite things. The only reason I covered up the ones in the kitchen with vinyl is because they were severely damaged. The pine was once beautiful but it became brittle with years of termite damage. They would never have made it through our future kitchen remodel, so I felt okay covering them up for the phase 1 kitchen upgrade. Photos of the damage (if you want to see that – ha!) and the full flooring tutorial is on the blog.

      I’ve always called myself a purist about unpainted woodwork but decided to paint some of the trim that had damage from years of neglect. It turns out I like having some painted and some raw!


      • as a fellow craftsman homeowner, i support the kitchen floor choice 100%. many crafstmans originally had patterned linoleum floors (often in armstrong 5253, but also sometimes in checkerboard). hygiene was all the rage when these homes were being built, particularly in california,, and linoleum was preferred for its cleanliness. the famous gamble house recently restored their kitchen by removing the beautiful wood floors and replacing with checkerboard linoleum, which was the original design. so linoleum are actually vernacular to many of these homes, even though yours originally had wood. and vinyl is a good alternative!

        after years of DIY paint stripping in our craftsman, i gotta say i’m an extreme purist when it comes to unpainted wood, but god bless you for leaving the woodwork in the living and dining rooms untouched!

        congrats on the remodel!

  • Love, love everything about this home! I do have one question… can they share where their master bedroom bed pillows are from? I know that seems random, but they look so h and perfect! I’ve been through several brands/materials/etc. over the years and mine always seem to look deflated and lumpy. Thanks!

    • Hi Kelly!
      My pillows are a mix right now. I’m trying to find some eco friendly hypo allergenic ones and I’ve been testing several brands. So each one you see there is different. Once I identify the best ones, I’ll share them on my blog!

  • fantastic re-model. i appreciate all the work that went into this house. thanks for the opportunity to see your home.

  • Love your home and so glad to see a tour here – it makes me want a craftsman so badly! I’ve really enjoyed seeing your before and afters on your blog and . Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Loved seeing your beautiful home in this e-spread–what amazing results from all of your hard work! You’ve done an amazing job fi up your house, the structure, the rooms and then finishing them off with exquisite and thoughtful/meaningful details.

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