Now Playing

Peaceable Kingdom

Designer Kristi Will transforms a hillside Half Moon Bay home into a vibrant dual-purpose estate.

In the library, a petal-patterned ceiling and a Best & Lloyd oyster pendant provide intricate texture overhead, while a tufted marigold sofa frames an Alexander McQueen Monarch Fire butterfly rug.

For one young couple living in Half Moon Bay, roughly 30 miles south of San Francisco, what began as a straightforward kitchen remodel quickly snowballed into a full-blown home renovation. After sitting down with designer and longtime friend Kristi Will, the homeowners—both of whom work in the tech industry—realized there was so much more they could do with their spectacular 140-acre property.

Perched on a hillside between a forested canyon and the Pacific Ocean, the three-story, five-bedroom house and neighboring barn were originally built as a meditation retreat and spiritual center, providing an ideal foundation for the homeowners’ intended use of the space. As active members of their community, the couple needed the perfect venue for hosting events and fundraisers, from intimate gatherings to large parties for 100 guests or more.

Will and her team preserved the existing open floor plan but the interior finishes called for a major overhaul to better match the impeccable Cape Cod-style exterior. Working closely with master contractor Bryan Falvey and local cabinetmaker Bob Myers, they gutted the bathrooms and the kitchen, replaced flooring, changed all finishes, added new trims, updated the home’s many built-ins and reworked lighting.

The overall look and feel of the interior was inspired by a patterned scarf the homeowner happened to be wearing during the initial design meeting with Will and her team. Taking the scarf as her cue, the designer’s color palette took on tones of warm colors like red, gold, rust and orange. “This is the first client of mine to really embrace bold colors, patterns and textures,” Will says. “They really wanted the home to reflect those elements.” They also wanted the space to feel comfortable and approachable, with a touch of elegance and an emphasis on durability (after all, they have a preteen son and are constantly hosting guests).

Case in point is the richly decorated library. A tufted marigold sofa is made of a durable, worry-free mohair. “It’s one of the original upholstery materials,” says Will. “They used to make old theater and train-car seats out of it.” The couch lines up against the room’s pièce de résistance: an Alexander McQueen Monarch Fire butterfly rug. A petal-patterned ceiling provides delicate texture from above. Modern French windows open up to canyon views to the south and ocean views to the west, while a Mattaliano coffee table made of cast glass with gold leaf glistens in the sun. The nature theme continues into the dining room, where a stunning infinite butterfly mirror by artist Jocelyn Marsh serves as a conversation piece, and large sliding doors open onto a patio with sweeping sightlines. The kitchen’s clean lines are complemented by a shimmering tempered glass backlash, made of recycled refuse from commercial glass companies in Northern California, courtesy of Ellen Blakeley Studio. 

Leading up to the top-floor bedrooms, the stairwell features framed vintage Hermès scarves hanging above a custom bronze railing—its pattern an extension of the luxury silks. A walk-through closet serves as an anteroom between the hallway and master bedroom, and features built-in shelving that displays the homeowner’s shoes and handbags. “She has a keen interest in fashion, and I wanted to create a space that really showed off what she owns,” says Will. “The closet reads like an art wall, but it’s also functional.”

In the master bedroom, a delicate amber pendant of hand-wired acrylic hangs above the bed, opposite a painting depicting a glowing sunset over the water. A cast-iron Waterworks tub is the centerpiece of the master bathroom. Onyx flooring with an interlocking ring pattern adds texture, while a sparkling Thassos white granite countertop and a delicately laser-cut mother-of-pearl hanging lamp lend a touch of elegance. “We used a lot of onyx throughout the house. The stone is like nature’s art,” says Will.

Butterflies make their third appearance in the wife’s office in the form of Nina Campbell wallpaper, finished off with soft butterfly ghost silhouettes—hand-drawn by artist Shannon Geis—that trail up to the ceiling.

The homeowners’ son—just as tech-savvy as his parents—dreamed up the idea for a secret passageway in his room, cleverly disguised as a bookshelf. A lever opens the pivot door to reveal a bat cave-like hangout room with a hand-drawn airplane (he’s hooked on flying) on the ceiling, also by Geis.

Outside, a tranquil pool gives way to a 3,000-square-foot barn, where the homeowners host large gatherings. The blank canvas makes an ideal event space and features a big open fireplace. A catwalk runs the perimeter of the top floor, giving guests a vantage point from which to look down on the action. An everyday home tailor-made with an extra space for entertaining—it’s no stretch to say that this young couple really did make their dreams come true.



Half Moon Bay

Interiors + Architecture
Kristi Will Home + Design

Bryan Falvey, Falco Construction

Custom Cabinetry
Bob Myers, Bob Myers Design

Landscape Design
Metrofolia Landscaping Inc.

The Rug Company
Library, dining area, master bedroom, and family room rugs

A. Rudin
Library sofa, master bed headboard, family room sectional, barstools, office chair and ottoman, library and family room swivel chairs

Master bathroom cast-iron tub

Jocelyn Marsh
Dining area infinite butterfly mirror

Master bed and bath pendants