Townhouse Undergoes Cosmopolitan Conversion
by Lynne Carrier
The buyers spent more than two years searching for just the right home before settling on an elegant San Diego townhouse. It had wonderful bones, with lofty 10-foot-high ceilings and an open concept layout. It even had a private interior elevator. But what really attracted them was the location. It overlooked Balboa Park. The home, especially its spacious second-floor balcony, basked in the borrowed landscape of the park’s greenery.
Built in 2006, the home was still in good shape when the couple bought it in 2013. Nevertheless, the new owners wanted a makeover reflecting their cosmopolitan style and a design compatible with its parkside setting. After an extensive computer search, the couple, who requested anonymity, found the online portfolio of La Jolla interior designer Kathleen Zbacnik. They liked what they saw and commissioned her company, KZ Design Group, for a top-to-bottom remodeling of the 3,300-square-foot townhouse.
For such a major job, Zbacnik first researched her clients’ preferences before plunging into the project. She couldn’t learn much from their previous residence, because they had been living in a furnished rental unit. “After one or two shopping trips, I got to know their tastes,” Zbacnik said. She took them to Pirch, an appliance store with a 33,000-square-foot showroom, and then to the slab yards of Unique Stone for tiles and granite.
These materials helped transform a previously dull, functional kitchen into the warm, inviting centerpiece of the main floor living area. A single slab of Fusion granite with intricate waves of blue-gray and rust colors was selected for the kitchen island. A complementary rectangle of the same stone was mounted behind the stove. “It is so expressive, so phenomenal,” Zbacnik said. “I would never get tired of looking at it.”
But the most dramatic feature is the reproduction of Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night over the Rhone” installed above the jetted tub. Created by Italian artist Alex Turco, its midnight blue provides a bold contrast to the golden tones in the rest of the room. Water pours into the tub – as if it were from the Rhone itself – through a sheet-flow faucet hidden at the bottom the artwork. The Van Gogh panel is made from a glossy resin. “It will withstand heat, cold, water, and you can even use them outside,” Zbacnik said.