Going from Tuscan to Contemporary- Setting the Stage for a Colorful Art Collection (Part 2)

Dezine Bytes – Interior Design Tips

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

December 1, 2018 (Part 1 posted October 1, 2018)

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

The upgrade project has come along nicely. We are just about finished!

Here is a recap from part 1: My clients have a colorful art collection they love.  The problem was that the Tuscan transitional style interior of their vacation home was not the ideal environment to showcase their collection.

We worked to update the interior to recreate a contemporary environment to better accommodate their colorful art collection.  The challenge was 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 have area rugs, pulling the eye away from the brown stone floor, to focus more on the furnishings, not the existing elements mentioned.

Following are images with the new white marble fireplace in the living room, the new white walls, plantation shutters painted white, and some of the new furnishings the client selected to work with their art.  The decorative pillows, accessories and plants are pending.

Many times as a designer you have to make some compromises and adjustments to your design plans as different issues come up. For example, in completing this project,  furniture selections were based on shorter lead times than originally anticipated to rush the project completion. The hand-made area rugs are beautiful. I would have liked the living room rug to be larger but it was not possible because of requested delivery date. The client chose the high-back chairs in the dining area and we wanted fabric upholstery, due to need for quick ship, it was not possible.  In any event,  everything manages to come together nicely and works well.  We are looking forward to adding the final accessories!

In the Living Room, the existing Tuscan fireplace was removed and replaced with new white marble fireplace. To salvage the floor, the hearth was left as is with new marble to be clad over the existing. The client’s colorful contemporary art piece is mounted over the fireplace.

Above: Tuscan fireplace to be removed.
Removing fireplace.
New white marble clad over the existing hearth.
New Fireplace with 3-d art sculpture above (digital rendering concept).
Left: the Living Room after the upgrade. The new fireplace, white walls, matching white shutters, and hand-made area rug set the stage nicely for the client’s colorful art displayed over the fireplace. The client placed their kids small white pod stools in the living room for now.


The clean lines of the colorful contemporary furniture,  white walls, and white credenza set a great stage for the client’s art.






Above: White credenza adds to the contemporary look and puts the focus on the painting.
 Below: Hand-made area rugs are used to pull the eye away from the brown flooring to focus more on the furnishings and artwork.





White walls, updated door hardware, beautiful hand-made area rug, contemporary color furniture and custom matching throw pillows and bar stools in the sitting and kitchen area pull the look together nicely!

The previous 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 and walls were painted white along with the doors/interior only.
We penciled in the new location of the larger opening.
Routing out the opening.
With the new, larger opening to easily access handles.
The new hardware in bronze.


The dining area features a large area rug and new contemporary furniture and light sculpture.  One of the new geometric exterior lighting fixtures is in view adding to the contemporary look indoors and out.

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.

Above: Exterior Lighting – New Bronze, Geometric Fixtures.











The colorful patio furniture, carries the contemporary look outdoors.  A fun, cheerful stage for outdoor living and entertaining in the desert.













Bright, colorful area rugs are used throughout the home. Beautiful!









The process of updating my client’s vacation home from Tuscan style to contemporary was challenging and fun!  The client’s goal was to enjoy a contemporary living space that provides a wonderful stage for their art collection. The results exceeded their expectations… they love their “new” home!

You should love your home too!

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.