Before & After: From Mishmash to Amazing! / by Anne Bussone


A 4,250 square foot vineyard retreat in Templeton, California, is a recent remodel project designed by Reiss Design Studio. The 10-acre property includes a main residence, a caretaker’s unit and apartment, a barn, and mature vineyards. The property is five minutes to town, yet feels remote amid many large equestrian and vineyard estates. The main residence is completely remodeled and includes a pool, pool house, mother-in-law unit, a large deck with extensive views of the vineyard and valley, and multiple entertaining spaces. As if that isn't enough, the site also has a spectacular wedding venue nestled in the vineyard.

The original residence was a collection of many competing design styles, and the interior spaces were cramped and dark. A lack of indoor/outdoor connectivity, dated finishes, a history of remodels and additions, poor construction quality, and unorthodox layout made the residence non-functional. The property came under new ownership in 2012. Reiss Design Studio worked with the new property owner and an interior designer to establish design goals for the project and re-create a modern ranch.


Multi-Generational - The project needed to accommodate the owner’s entire family, regardless of age or ability. This required moving the kitchen from it's original location on the second floor to a location on the lower floor. This allowed the primary gathering zone to occur on the lower floor, making it accessible to all members of the family.

Indoor/Outdoor - The project needed to have strong connections between the interior and exterior spaces. This was accomplished by creating outdoor spaces directly off of the interior common areas, such as a new deck off of the family room and a new covered porch off of the kitchen and dining room. Multiple sets of large French doors were provided to make the access points wider and more inviting.

Utilize Existing Structure - The owner requested that the design incorporate as much of the existing structure as possible. The finished design stayed mostly within the footprint of the original building, except for the front entry and the new deck off of the front of the residence. The roof and roof structure remained intact, interior structural bearing points were maintained, and walls were modified only after completing a cost-benefit analysis.

Inviting & Comfortable - The owner wanted to create an environment that had a sense of arrival while also promoting relaxation. The original entry was lackluster from the exterior, and the interior did not have an arrival vestibule (the original living room was immediately inside the front door). The segmented floor plan, along with low ceilings that had been made artificially lower by a reverse-cove treatment, created spaces that were uncomfortable. The remodel utilized structural posts and beams to replace walls, allowing the rooms to flow into one another. The ceiling treatments were removed, and windows and doors were added to take in the expansive views. The front entry and progression through the interior spaces were designed to allow a visitor to “arrive” without being accosted by the small spaces. Colors and furniture selected by the interior designer created a calming environment.



Before - The stucco, horizontal siding, lower roof, columns, and flattened arches competed with each other, rather than working with each other. The front door was hidden in a dark alcove under a very heavy guardrail. As a compilation, this was not an inviting facade.

After - A cohesive color and material palette, grand entry, high-end finishes, and maximization of windows and doors make this a residence visitors cannot wait to enter!




Before - Faux arched openings, stucco accents, and unusable space at the covered entry created an outdoor area that was of little benefit to the residence. 

After - This western elevation is prone to afternoon heat, but it also has the best views on the property. The design provided a shaded outdoor patio for enjoying the views. Access from the kitchen and dining room are provided by two sets of French doors. Modern landscape design ties it all together to create an inviting indoor/outdoor experience. 




Before - The original fountain was in disrepair and the rear deck/stairs were a safety hazard, due to poor construction. However, the "bones" of the backyard had a lot of potential.

After - A fire pit replaced the fountain, landscape and site work were repaired and upgraded, and the hazardous deck was removed. This backyard was one of the areas of the property with amazing potential, and with minor updates it became an integrated design component. 


Downstairs living room & kitchen


Before - This was the original arrival space. It was closed-in, dark, and dated with low ceilings, undesirable finish treatments, an uninviting staircase, and no view. There were zero redeeming qualities in this space.


After - The downstairs is renovated to create a beautiful open floor plan. The new kitchen is now located in the former garage, and is designed for entertaining. Features include a large island, new cabinetry, recessed and under-cabinet lighting, upgraded appliances, and specialty wine refrigerators. Direct access to the front patio and backyard pool areas give a sense of indoor/outdoor living with spectacular views of the vineyards. The old staircase was replaced with floating treads and cable railing to add to the open feeling. A mosaic fireplace and wide plank wood flooring add to the elegance of the space.


BaR (ORIGINAL Kitchen)


Before - The original kitchen was one of the most unfortunate areas of the residence. It was small, filled with oak cabinetry, and had a recessed lighting detail that was very dated.

After - The finishes are updated, and this space now serves as the bar for the upstairs family room. Recessed and under-cabinet lighting, custom cabinets, and new cork flooring were added to make it a warm, comfortable space.


Family Room


Before - While the original upstairs family room did have spectacular views of the vineyard and valley, the finishes were quite dated.

After - The remodeled family room is now open to the new staircase and window with views to the pool. The deck off the front of the house is accessed directly from the family room by two sets of French doors. High-end materials and finishes such as cork floors, stone veneer at the fireplace, built-in cabinets, and recessed lighting make this family room inviting and a great place to relax, socialize, play games, and take in the views.


Master Bedroom


Before - The original master bedroom ceiling treatment lowered the height of the space, making it feel cramped and uncomfortable. In addition, the finishes in the room were dated.

After - Light and life were brought back to this room, and it truly is a master suite in size, decor, views, and luxury. Access to the front deck and the addition of two very large windows bring in light and views. 


Master Bathroom


Before - This master bathroom was many things, but luxurious was not one. The shower and tub leaked, the angles and arches were dated and awkward, and the finishes and lighting made the space look drab and dark.

After - New waterproofing, new fixtures, and new finishes gave this room a much-needed make-over. Tile flows from the new soaking tub into the shower, which has been completely renovated to function properly (most importantly) and to be an elegant component of the master bathroom.



The Vineyard & Wedding Venue

  The residence is surrounded by a mature vineyard.

The residence is surrounded by a mature vineyard.

  The wedding venue provides beautiful views of the vineyards and surrounding Central California hills.

The wedding venue provides beautiful views of the vineyards and surrounding Central California hills.

If you want to experience this beautiful property firsthand, you can! It's a vacation rental that sleeps 20 people, so go ahead and invite 19 of your closest friends! 


Landscape Architect: CM Design 

General Contractor: KGM Construction 

Interior Designer: Clark Design Studio 

Structural Engineer: Allshouse Engineering