Going from Tuscan to Contemporary- Setting the Stage for a Colorful Art Collection (Part 1)

Dezine Bytes – Interior Design Tips

By Christina Higuchi, Designer/Owner, DEZINE REFINED – Interior Design For Good Living

September 1, 2018

Project: La Quinta Residence – 5,000 sq.ft. Vacation Home – Upgrade

Designing is a creative adventure in making the best design choices for how you live, work and play today and what you may envision for tomorrow.  My clients have a colorful art collection they love.  The problem is that the current Tuscan transitional style interior is not the ideal environment to showcase their collection.

This project: Updating the interior to recreate a contemporary environment to better accommodate their colorful art collection.  The challenge is working around all wood built-ins throughout, the Noce Travertine floor and Emperador Light Brown Marble in all bathrooms.

Below are just some of the changes made to open up the space for contemporary furniture in colorful leather accents and changing the beige paint color to a white for better display of the art collection.

All groupings of furniture in the living, family, dining and bedrooms are to have area rugs, pulling the eye away from the brown stone floor, to focus more on the furnishings, not the existing elements mentioned.


In the Living Room, the existing Tuscan fireplace is to be removed and replaced with new white marble fireplace. To salvage the floor, the hearth was left as is with new marble to be cladded over the existing.

Living Room –Tuscan fireplace to be removed.
Living Room – Removing fireplace
Living Room – New white marble cladded over the existing hearth.




Living Room – New Fireplace: Digital Rending Concept in white marble along with white walls
Living Room – New fireplace using Opal White Marble (note: existing beige walls which will be white)
Living Room – Fireplace with 3-d art sculpture above (digital rendering concept)




In the Family Room the challenge is the existing Tuscan Fireplace and Wood Built-in.  The built-in is too close to fireplace and too many large rectangles on one wall.  The client decided not to remove the fireplace at this time. So to update we are using a white faux stone finish, removing the wood built-in, and replacing it with a with a white display shelf. The shutters will be painted white.

Family Room – Before picture with Tuscan Fireplace and Wood Built-in.
Family Room – Digital Rendering showcasing a white faux stone finish and showing the built-in removed.
Family Room – Another digital rendering showcasing white display shelf unit.




Family Room – Process of removing built-in and framing in new since client wanted a display niche.
Family Room – Designed a smaller niche area with more exposed wall (positioning it away from the fireplace and the TV unit on the other wall)
Family Room – Adding floating glass shelves with concealed channels




The Existing Plantation Shutters and Existing door hardware did not function well with a very tight space for the hand to pull down the handles. In addition, the shutter frame behind the handle made it difficult to put hand around the door handle.  We decided to make the openings for the door handles larger  to accommodate the new hardware (contemporary style) and an easier operation of the handle itself.  All shutters to be painted white along with the doors/interior only.

Shutters – we penciled in the new location of the larger opening.
Shutters – routing out the opening to be wider for easier access.
Shutters – with the new, larger opening and the back frame cut back for more depth




Shutters – Painting shutters white.
The new hardware in bronze.





The current exterior lighting is a lantern style and the new lighting will be an architectural fixture to tie in with the geometric shapes of client’s art collection in the house. Due to the more traditional architecture of the house structure and with all of the brown elements, I went with bronze light fixtures to tie in with the bronze door hardware.


Exterior Lighting – Before
Exterior Lighting – New Bronze, Geometric Fixtures
Exterior Lighting – New Bronze, Geometric Fixture Installed








The Marble walls in the bathrooms had grab bars. We removed the grabs bars throughout all bathrooms; filled the holes and faux painted them in the same finish as the marble tile. We added clear infinity grab bars with no back plate for a subtle visual in one bathroom.







We have more updates to come in Part 2 of “Going From Tuscan to Contemporary.”

We hope Dezine Bytes will stimulate your design creativity!

Your home should be your sanctuary. Your place of total comfort and security. Whether it be a need for small home space solutions, which may include dual or multi-use rooms, creating versatility, while keeping the rhythm and repetition of the design flowing throughout the home or whether it’s just furnishings, lighting, flooring or paint colors, or maybe help looking for and finding just the right chair, we can help.

Here’s to Interior Design For Good Living!  


Christina Higuchi is Interior Designer/Owner at Dezine Refined – Interior Design For Good Living in beautiful La Quinta, California. “Dezine Bytes” and “Interior Design For Good Living” are Dezine Refined Trademarks. ©2018 Christina Higuchi, Dezine Refined. All Rights Reserved.