Archive for Design Solutions

Encinitas Custom Home


Just completed!  This gorgeous custom coastal contemporary home is located in Encinitas, California and has fabulous ocean views!

In order to lend the home a casual coastal feel and to balance out the more contemporary features of the home, I opted for Siberian Oak hardwood for the main living areas flooring.

The stacked stone fireplace wall adds drama to the focal point of the room and separates the indoor/outdoor living spaces.









For the main back splash in the kitchen I used a large format porcelain tile in a cement look and a mosaic glass and stainless back splash on the adjacent wall. I kept the open feel by using a combination of stainless open shelving with barn door hardware and glass panels, and upper cabinets with aluminum framed glass paneled doors. Easy care Quartz counter tops and a large island with two levels for casual dining completes the look.

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The master bath features a glass tile wall, floating vanities, and an enormous shower!

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Gorgeous sunset and ocean views!!

Staging by RBR Style



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Sophia La Marca

Sophia La Marca

Ahh the kitchen…. Our favorite room in the home! And why wouldn’t it be? It’s where we gather with our families and friends, where we indulge in all kinds of culinary creations! It’s where the conversation and laughter happens, and it’s where memories are made. The kitchen is most definitely the heart of the home!

Because of this, we need the kitchen to convenient and effortless. We need it to flow so that people can move freely as they perform various tasks, we need it to be open so that we can gather in a relaxed and casual way, and we need it to be warm and inviting!

So what are the latest trends that help us to accomplish all of our desires for that perfect kitchen?

This year we are seeing neutral finishes in cabinetry, counter tops and flooring. Clean, modern designs are big with warm touches pulled from nature. Natural elements still play a big role in design as the eco-conscious trend continues. Whites, off whites and grays take center stage in cabinetry, and the beauty and simplicity of natural quartz counter tops have become a favorite of designers! Warmer hardware works well with this trend as we are seeing more iron, copper and brass. Wood flooring or new “wood look” porcelain tile are big, as well as natural stone to keep the look warm and inviting! Built in and concealed appliances are essential in keeping the kitchen clean and uncluttered!

Here are some of my favorite kitchens this year!


“Natural stone look” laminate is a great affordable option for counter tops! by Wilsonart


Love this natural kitchen with reclaimed wood cabinetry and floors, and stainless island counter top!


Up the” Wow” factor! Try dual apron front sinks flanked with beautiful sconces! Gorgeous!!


A corner sink can work well for that hard to use space!


These industrial light pendants really punch up this island!


Black counter tops are still on trend in a white kitchen warmed up with wood flooring! Beautiful!

fashion hardware for cabinetry

Vintage hardware takes center stage in this fabulous kitchen!


Glass doors on the cabinetry really open up this smaller kitchen!


Gray cabinetry is a huge trend this year! Love it!


A perfect blend of tile work, fabrics and hardware in this gorgeous traditional kitchen!


Painted mullions – A great way to infuse color into your white kitchen!!


Love the full mosaic tiled walls!


Splurge on great fixtures to really make an impression!

Large islands create a gathering space for conversation, food prep or simply mingling!

Large islands create a gathering space for conversation, food prep or simply mingling!

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Sophia La Marca

Sophia La Marca

I will admit I am a sucker for all things coastal! Since I live by the sea I tend to gravitate toward design elements inspired by the sea! It’s only natural, right?

Soft linens, light colored woods, colors which hint of the sun, sea and sand… Ahhh, I can feel the waves washing over my toes!

I know, I know, coastal inspired design is soooo overdone, but I have yet to encounter a single person who doesn’t appreciate and instantly relax in a well designed coastal inspired room and  it will never go out of style! So please bear with me and my self indulgence as I share some of my latest finds.

Keep it simple and sophisticated!

  • Keep it organic by incorporating reclaimed woods, metals like zinc, and glass in your furnishings
  • Think about using Limestone or Quartz for countertops
  • Utilize natural linens and cottons for window treatment and upholstery fabrics. I prefer to keep the main fabrics soft in whites and creams and accent with colorful pillows and a custom chair or two in great print! A couple of slip covered pieces will add to the relaxed atmosphere!
  • Search for interesting artwork in bright colors inspired by the sea, sun and sand or perhaps find a local photographer who specializes in black and white images of your coastal town and have them framed in driftwood frames!
  • Keep walls soft: Some favorite paint colors are Dunn Edwards Riverbed and Your Bluff, Sherwin Williams Jogging Path and Sandbar; Also consider covering the walls in a grasscloth.
  • Find interesting light fixtures in clear or vintage glass, reclaimed metals or woods.
  • Reclaimed oak wood floors are beautiful, Throw down area rugs in a colorful flat weave or a natural jute, sea grass or sisal.
  • Accessorize with vintage glass, natural wood or rock elements and coastal plants
  • Keep it clean and uncluttered!


Now breathe in that salty air, kick back, relax and enjoy!

Branch out with Agates and twisted woods!

Bring the outdoors in with twisted woods and Agate!


Perfect Harmony!


Assortment of vintage glass jars in colors from the sea!

Round Oak tables! Clean and sturdy!

Round Oak tables! Clean and sturdy!

Bring in some color with this nature inspired artwork!

Bring in some color with this nature inspired artwork!

Succulents in a Shell!

Shell planter filled with succulents!



Reclaimed Oak Stool! Love it!

Reclaimed Oak Stool!
Love it!

Shell Lantern from Arteriors

Shell Lantern
from Arteriors

Reclaimed Wood Square Dining Table!

Reclaimed Wood Square Dining Table!


Whale Pillow, Adorable!


Framed Sea Fan, classic and elegant!


Love this mirror!



Framed Sea Fan in Blue!




roost recycled glass terrariums

Love these terrariums!

Colorful PIllows!peking_PH24TT89BC26OB_sm

Aqua Glass Lamp Arteriors

Aqua Glass Lamp

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Wild about Wallcoverings!



Need a new look for your interior, but tired of the plain old painted walls?  Express yourself and kick it up a notch with


Today’s papers are much different than what we saw even just ten years ago.  They are meant to really make a statement with bold, eclectic patterns and textures!

Check out some of my favorites! GB56550-1






The design strategies are endless!

There are textures that mimic wood grains, brick, cork, metals even crocodile!

Use  wallpaper on the ceiling or try a paintable paper for that truly custom look!


Call for a personal consult and I will help you express your personal style with wallpaper!

Sophia LaMarca CID

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More on Counter tops!

Did I forget to mention concrete as an option for counter tops?

Concrete has become very popular as a choice for counter tops for good reason!

The sky’s the limit for creativity!!

Concrete can be cast in any shape, the color choices are endless, and other substances can be mixed into  the wet cement to create one of a kind designs!

Just take a look at these stunning designs!

Concrete Counter tops:

Pros and Cons


  • The Color and Design possibilities are endless
  • Concrete is usually made locally, so it has a low carbon footprint
  • When done yourself can cost as little as $8 a square foot
  • Lasts for generations


  • Concrete is porous so should be sealed and waxed for protection and sheen
  • Sealant can be damaged by heat and scratches
  • Can get hairline cracks if not cured properly
  • Can be expensive on par with marble or granite if using a contractor

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Tackling the 5th Wall!

Sophia LaMarca CID

Painted white wood planking on the ceiling adds an open, airy feel to this waterfront bedroom!

Are you tired of that drab, old, white ceiling?

Is the ceiling too high or too low?

Is it oddly shaped or cracked and peeling?

Not only can you make the ceiling more interesting, but you can  address these design dilemmas with some clever ceiling solutions!

Check out these fabulous ceiling designs!!

Don't be afraid to go dark! A dramatic color on the ceiling will tie the room together while bringing down the height of the ceiling.

A cove ceiling with hidden lighting will make a low ceiling seem higher while adding the illusion of natural light!

Wood beams will add coziness to a room with high ceilings.

A tiled and coffered ceiling adds warmth and distinction to this beautiful kitchen!

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Choosing the Right Countertop for your Kitchen

Thinking about remodeling the kitchen?   Choosing the right counter top can be so overwhelming!!  There are many wonderful surfaces out there so here are a few things to consider.

    1. Granite

    is the countertop material of choice. Although it can be expensive, as the use of granite becomes more widespread, the price comes down. There are also prefabricated slabs available which can help make this desirable stone more affordable.

Pros: holds up to heat; comes in a range of almost 3000 colors; looks permanent and substantial; will last a lifetime; new sealers are almost maintenance-free; 2nd highest hardness rating after diamonds; is prestigious and has a high value to home buyers.

Cons: Expensive, but is becoming more affordable; Requires a minimal amount of maintenance; Some stones absorb stains if not sealed; Knives can become dull if you cut on it; Can crack if stressed or improperly installed;  Being an igneous rock, granite is known to emit low amounts of radon gases.

2.  Engineered Stone

such as Silestone is made with natural quartz crystals, binding resins and coloring agents.  Quartz is an extremely hard natural stone.  Engineered stone is ideal for counter tops and is just as good as granite.

Pros: Heat and scratch resistant; Has antimicrobial treatment built-in; No sealing required, Extremely hard; Silestone comes in 6o colors; Seams can be easily matched without a shift in the pattern or color that can sometimes be seen with granite; Has very low to zero radon gas emission

Cons: Expensive; Cannot be used outdoors as the resin and coloring agents will fade with direct sunlight exposure; Not heat or scratch proof and can be damaged by intense heat or certain chemicals like bleach and food products such as… wine, vinegar, tea, lemon juice, coffee, soda, some fruits and vegetables if these substances are left to dry.

3.  Solid Surface

Because solid surface counters are just what they’re called, solid, any scratches can be sanded out. The countertops are custom-made to your specifications by companies such as Avonite, Corian, and Swanstone.

Pros: comes in a rainbow of colors and patterns; seamless; stain resistant.

Cons vulnerable to hot pans and stains which can damage the surface; can be moderately expensive.

4.  Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile is durable and easy to clean. Add to that inexpensive and you’ve got a really good choice for countertops for the average home. Because it’s installed a section at a time, it can be done by most resourceful homeowners.

Pros: takes hot pans; easy to clean; wide range of price, color, texture and design.

Cons: counter surface is uneven; tiles can easily chip or crack; grout lines become stained; custom-designed tiles are very expensive.

5.  Laminate

Laminate counters bear trademarks such as Formica, Nevamar, and Wilsonart. They’re made of plastic-coated synthetics with a smooth surface that’s easy to clean. The pieces are cut to size and finished on the ends.

Pros: you can buy laminates in lots of colors; easy to maintain; durable; inexpensive.

Cons: scratches and chips are almost impossible to repair; seams show; end finishing and front edge choices can be pricey.

6.  Wood or Butcher Block

Wood countertops offer a beautiful warm look and are available in a wide range of colors and finishes. Hardwoods such as maple and oak are most often used as countertop woods.

Pros: easy to clean; smooth; can be sanded and resealed as needed.

Cons: can be damaged by water and stains over time; scratches must be oiled or sealed according to manufacturer’s instructions.

7.  Stainless Steel

For a really contemporary and industrial look for your kitchen, stainless steel is a good choice. They are heat-resistant and durable. Because they’re constructed to your specifications, you can have a seamless countertop.

Pros: takes hot pans; easy to clean.

Cons: Expensive; noisy; may dent; fabrication is expensive; you can’t cut on it.

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