Inside the Designer’s Mind

Five designing women from Danville’s J. Hettinger Interiors offer solutions to tough home challenges.



Living Room: Grown-Up Space

The Project: Alamo clients wanted their large traditional living room to be more contemporary.



Maria Billingsley

Senior Designer

Maria Billingsley’s forthright approach has served her well in the interior design world. She enjoys designing for clients in a modern yet traditional style. Her versatility also reveals itself in her other job, as an opera singer and executive director of the Martinez Opera.

 

Before

Challenges

» Introduce modern features to an older-style living room.
» Add a modern elegance to the room, yet make it both comfortable and usable.
 

After

Solutions

» Gutted the whole room, taking out traditional wainscoting and coffered ceiling to add modern arches with contemporary accent lighting; took out old wood fireplace and floors, and replaced with shiny black granite.
» Added comfortable, shapely furniture and accessories to soften the large modern room.

Local Inspirations:

Martinez Waterfront Park’s sea air and inspirational natural beauty, Joe DiMaggio Dr., Martinez, (925) 372-3510, cityofmartinez.org.
John Muir Historic Home, which honors the old while bringing in the new, 4202 Alhambra Ave., Martinez, (925) 228-8860, nps.gov/jomu.



 

Dining Room: Elegant Vision

The Project: Danville clients wanted an elegant but durable dining room for their very large family.



JoAnn Boccolini

Senior Designer

The exuberant grande dame of J. Hettinger Interiors, JoAnn Boccolini is currently focused on remodeling commercial spaces as well as buying furniture and accessories for the showroom. It was her work on private home remodels, such as this beautiful Danville home, which led her to commercial work.

 

Before

Challenges

» Dining room was small and unwelcoming.
» Dark wood trim and fireplace darkened the space.
» Dining room subfloor did not support the specified materials (porcelain flooring) used in the rest of the home.
 

After

Solutions

» Increased the height and width of the French doors and added side windows to increase natural light.
» Used easy-to-maintain porcelain floor tiles around the perimeter of the room, with carpet in center (under dining table) for floor support purposes.
» Raised the ceiling by two feet and tiered it, adding side lights, down lighting, and a chandelier for depth and increased light.
» Replaced old fireplace and wood paneling, placing a large mirror in the room to open up the space.
» Added furnishings and accessories that have long-lasting style, color,
and texture.

Local Inspirations

Gardenseed’s eclectic European-style furnishings and accessories, 352 Hartz Ave., Danville, (925) 838-6481, gardenseed.danville.com.
Christina S boutique for its superfashionable “bling,” 370 First St., Benicia, (707) 745-5125, christinasbenicia.com.



 

Kitchen: Modern Update

The Project: An oakland hills homeowner wanted an updated look for his kitchen, with little structural change.



Naomie Wert

Senior Designer

A young perfectionist, Naomie Wert was entrusted with the task of remodeling Jerry Hettinger’s home kitchen because he wanted a fresh eye for contemporary design. When she’s not working with clients, Wert volunteers for Special Spaces, a nonprofit that designs bedrooms for children with life-threatening illnesses.

 

Before

Challenges

» Update 20th-century kitchen to
create a more contemporary feel.
» Provide a better view of the great yard from the kitchen.
» Add a full bar to the kitchen since it is closest to the pool and outdoor entertaining.

 

After

Solutions

» Worked with structural engineer to extend window wall to provide seating and bar area; made windows larger.
» Installed roll-up door to create a discreet full bar while not taking up space from seating area.
» Used inch-thick glass of various colors on the island counter, giving it dimension; used back-lit, tinted glass on other countertops to add drama at night.
» Added new cabinetry and redid floor with larger tiles to make it more modern.

Local Inspirations

Filthy Gorgeous for its vintage flair for the home, 55 Broadway Ln., Walnut Creek, (925) 210-1500, filthygorgeoushome.com.
Lashfully’s feminine, chic, French Baroque–fabulous appeal, 1629 Cypress St., Walnut Creek, (925) 296-0910, lashfully.com.



 

Party Room: Hosting in style

The Project: Atherton client wanted to host business retreats and parties in his home conference–wine center.



Robineve Cole

Senior Designer

The elegant Robineve Cole uses her fabric and fashion design experience to help clients create rooms that reflect their best. She particularly enjoys a Pacific Rim aesthetic mixed with 19th-century European flair, and brings this eclectic approach to all her remodels.

 

Before

Challenges

» Combine three dark rooms below ground level into cohesive, bright entertaining-work space that is
practical and useful.
» Needed an elegant setting for entertaining with a “wow” factor, yet also functionality and comfort.

 

After

Solutions

» Demolished soundproof wall, leveled floor, and opened up columned archway to make three connecting rooms: a lounge-theater, a bar-cocktail space, and a glass-enclosed temperature-controlled wine cellar reconceived as a conference room.
» Added warmth with contemporary sofas and Regency chairs, as well as bold and playful art and accessories.
» Updated lighting and floors to create elegance and style, and painted walls in a light color to brighten underground rooms.

Local Inspirations

Florali for its elegant and “supremely chic” floral designs, 2345 Boulevard Cir., Walnut Creek, (925) 934-6877, florali.com.
San Damiano Retreat’s fantastic scenery and the renewal it inspires, 710 Highland Dr., Danville, (925) 837-9141, sandamiano.org.



 

Bathroom: Functional beauty

The Project: Pleasant Hill client wanted a beautiful and functional bathroom for taking care of disabled dogs.



Dorene Gomez

Senior Designer

With a background in designing and selecting furniture for home-furnishing stores, Dorene Gomez loves to work on residential remodels. She especially enjoys the variety of work that comes with creating practical and functional rooms that have a casually elegant style.

 

Before

Challenges

» 30-year-old bathroom needed updating.  
» Standard tub needed to be replaced with something larger to bathe dogs.
» The room was dark.

 

After

Solutions

» Opened up bath area by replacing tub with over-sized step-in shower and added bench/sitting area to easily bathe animals.
» Used glass brick to lighten up the room and make it seem larger.
» Added multilevel cabinets and countertops to add more storage and give depth to the space.
» Used glass mosaic tile backsplash to tie it all together, and accessories that were traditional  yet modern, with long-lasting color and materials.

Local Inspirations

Lesher Center for the Arts’ mix of great theater and art, 1601 Civic Dr., Walnut Creek, (925) 943-7469, lesherartscenter.org.
Cal Shakes’ outdoor amphitheater, which makes you feel worlds away, 100 California Shakespeare Theater Way, Orinda, (510) 548-9666, calshakes.org.

 

Faces