interior design

Classic Coastal Renovation

We always love when clients return and we get to work with them on a new project. This next design was like a little family reunion as one of our longtime clients had us come back to remodel her upstairs. About 6 years ago, we turned her downstairs living area into a classic coastal space, and she wanted to carry that same feel to the rooms above. We were overjoyed to work with her again as well as some amazing contractors to help finish the design. Of course, what’s a remodel without a little before and after? Take a peek at the rooms just as we were starting to demo them and keep scrolling to see them in their final glory!

The Guest Room




We wanted to make the guest room feel inviting while designing it to fit the rest of the house. We gave the room a fresh coat of paint, brought in new furniture and accessories, and created a space that would welcome any guest who comes to stay.

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The Guest Bathroom




While the guest bathroom was certainly functional, it was outdated and had no specific style. We completely demolished the room and then removed the wall separating the shower. With a new vanity and bright fixtures, the guest bathroom feels airy and spacious with a touch of coastal ambiance.

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The Master Bathroom




Who doesn’t dream of a beautiful master bathroom? We were so excited to make that dream a reality for our clients by removing everything and starting fresh. Bringing the wall out into the master bedroom, we were able to create a larger walk in shower and give the bathroom some more space. From the vanity, to the tub, to the finishes, we gave these clients a master bathroom they could truly love.

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The Master Bedroom




The master bedroom definitely had a lot of space and good natural light, but the room still felt dark. To brighten things up, we repainted the space and added white trim work behind the bed. The fireplace also got an update with new tile and trim which gave it classic character. Window treatments and curtains were kept light as well to add onto the airy feel and using blue hues as our pop of color, the room is simple but definitely classic coastal.

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We absolutely loved giving these wonderful clients a home design that carries throughout the entire house. They were a joy to work with and we hope they enjoy their design to the fullest! Thanks for reading!


Mid-Century Modern With a View

Getting a little piece of the ocean is the San Diego dream, but for these next clients a view of the sea was a surprise! After searching for the perfect piece of land, they found a little plot that ran right along the edge of a beautiful state preserve where the natural beauty of neighboring trees and boulders would be their backyard. Little did they know, by building up, they’d find a view of the big blue. Of course, this was more than a chance for an ocean view. This was their chance to build their dream home—a two-story mid-century modern vision—and it was our team who came in to see that the design fit that vision. 

From the beginning, these clients wanted comfort while still being modern. Our goal was to help them achieve that welcoming feel and contemporary style while keeping it timeless. They trusted us and were willing to try out ideas which made the process an amazing experience. From paint and flooring to knobs and accessories—the design required that every detail be planned and executed with intention. While we worked on keeping the design on track, the architect and contractor moved step-by-step through the red tape that surrounds building a home next to a nature preserve. After three-and-a-half years, we finally moved in their furniture and placed every carefully planned accessory to bring them the home of their dreams!

The Guest Bedroom

When it comes to Mid-Century Modern design, accessories are minimal but crucial. Because the design needs to be kept simple, the details need to be chosen with a purpose. Throughout all of the bedrooms, we made sure to use art and minimal accessories to create a strong style without overcrowding.

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The Guest Bathroom


A Modern Staircase

A staircase is of course functional, but it can also be a statement. With the rich colored wood and metal details, this staircase provides access to both floors and contributes to that modern look.


The Media Room

Extremely cozy and a little retro, the media room provides a comfortable place to hang out. Complete with a small kitchenette for drinks and snacks, this is the room where “Netflix and Chill” is meant to happen!


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The Bathrooms


Beautiful yet simple, these bathrooms are definitely show-stoppers. Using beautiful tile and rich textures, each bathroom has it’s own unique and modern twist. (Psst, take a look at that bathtub in #2—I think we could all use one of those!)

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The Dining Room

Hello, windows! This home was meant to invite the outdoors in through the use of floor to ceiling windows. We love how the dining room is framed by the nature preserve and features natural textures and colors to compliment the beautiful surroundings.

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The Living Room

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The Kitchen

We love a bright and airy kitchen. This one is not only lovely but it connects to the living room and upstairs patio making it just right for entertaining.


The Entry


The Designers

Lead Designer: Kathy Abell

Assistant Designer: Daniel Merk-Benitez


We absolutely loved working on this project and poured our hearts into every detail from the ground up. We have to say, there’s no better feeling than seeing what you’ve worked on for so long come to fruition. Plus, it’s even better to see your dear and beloved clients finally get their dream home. They were amazing to work with and we were honored to be their design team. May they enjoy their beautiful home for years to come! Thanks for reading!

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Modern Hawaiian Remodel

After twenty-five years in the original design of their house, our clients were ready for an update. We had already redesigned their downstairs living space, which you can check out HERE, so this time we moved upstairs to remodel their master suite and guest room. Living only a few miles from the ocean and being lovers of Hawaii, we knew their master bedroom needed to be serene and resort-like. We began with muted colors and created a modern fireplace for an atmosphere that’s inviting and calm. Adding in a relaxing sofa and cozy reading chairs, we transformed the room into the ultimate at-home getaway. Finally, to get a touch of the island, we made sure to use warm lighting, natural textures, and tropical greenery.


When it came to the master bathroom, we wanted to create a spa-like atmosphere. The dark wood closet doors are reminiscent of what you would see on the island, while the stone detail on the tub brings in a sense of serenity. Of course, the sea glass chandelier is what completes the look with a bit of ocean detail. 


Our clients wanted their guest room to be relaxing and inviting for friends and family that come to stay. Using robin’s egg blue and lighter fabrics, we carried over that same sense of calm from their master suite so that future guests feel that same resort-like ambiance.


We love that this design makes our clients home feel like a sanctuary and we hope it’s now a place where they can truly relax and unwind. Thanks for reading!

A Bright and Airy Update

Older homes often come with plenty of potential, and if you’re willing to put in the work, that potential can turn into a home with tons of charm! That was the case with this historic coastal home. After designing the master bedroom and family room (which you can see HERE), the living and dining space was up next. Beginning as a fully wood paneled room, it felt outdated and dark. We believe preserving history in an older home is important, but we find that it has to suit a client’s lifestyle in order to be enjoyed. This room had great features like the wood beams, fireplace, and french doors, but with so much orange-stained wood, the space wasn’t inviting and all of those special features just blended in. We decided that instead of preserving the entire room, it would suit the clients and the space better to highlight the best features and bring the rest up to date. So, with lots of creamy white paint, natural colors and textures, along with fresh greenery, we brightened it up and created a space with timeless coastal charm. Check out the before and after photos below!





While we designed the rest of their house to be kid-friendly, our clients requested a more formal room where they could entertain. Of course, the layout of the space meant it was too big to be just another family room, and we really wanted it to be functional as a more formal space. So, we had the idea to make two rooms in one. On one side is a comfortable tone-on-tone sitting area, and by the fireplace is the formal dining space. To finish it off, the lighting fixture acts as a defining detail making the two spaces feel separate while remaining complimentary.


Now bright and airy, the best features of this room have come out of the woodwork (so to speak) and are now showcased in this timeless space. It’s now ready for good conversations, scrumptious meals, and new memories to be made! Thanks for reading!


 Design by: Julie Benitez

Elegant Outside

Bringing a backyard to life is about more than making sure there’s enough seating for BBQs and get-togethers. We take into account the purpose of the space, the size, the way it connects to the interior of the home, and of course, the elements. Once we’ve figured out those aspects, it’s time to bring our vision to life and create a space that invites its owners to enjoy the outside.

We recently finished the interior of this elegant home (which you can check out HERE), but to make it the complete package, we needed to carry on its cozy coastal features to the outside. One of the great qualities of this home is its ability to open up. The patio connects to the family room through glass french doors which creates an outdoor extension to the room. These clients love to entertain and host family and friends, so we wanted to enhance the patio’s ability to connect to the inside by using complementary colors. Just open the french doors, and it becomes one continuous space. The clients wanted a firepit, so we found a great one that doubles as a coffee table when not in use.


With cream, navy, and robins egg blue acting as the primary colors for the interior, we carried this palette out into backyard as well. The pool area was already beautiful, but with so many hard surfaces, it needed to be softened. Using fabric as our means, we placed custom upholstered pieces throughout the space which adds both a cozy and useful flair. The seven umbrellas also soften the space while creating shade and dimension.


Just off both the family and the living room is this outdoor dining terrace. With enough seating to host friends, it’s ideal for scrumptious dinners on cozy evenings. By finishing the area with a large rug, this area feels inviting and complete.


We love that this backyard has been transformed into a place that’s useful and welcoming. From pool party to elegant dinner gathering or enjoying the rising sun with a cup of coffee, it’s genuinely become another cherished part of the home. Thanks for reading!


Not Your Mama's Southwest Style (Part 2)

Welcome to part two of Not your Mama’s Southwest Style! (You can check out part one HERE). As I mentioned in part one, Southwest style can get a bad rap, so if it makes you think of the 80’s—erase that idea. No peach, no turquoise, and no white wicker here. When it comes to today’s Southwest style, we want to create a natural look with pops of color and character. Here are a few tips if you’re looking to integrate this fun style into your own home. First, mind your color palette. Choose a variety of warm and cool earth tones. The desert has tans and terra-cotta, but it also has cool navy blues too, which we used in this particular design to balance out our colors.


Second, find a few statement pieces and have fun with them! We used antique wooden shutters, the clients favorite artwork, and other wooden tidbits with character to really add in that southwest flare. As with any style, always think scale, proportion, and balance. Make sure your furniture and accessories are all big enough to fill your space. Every detail should compliment the scale of your home.


Texture can also be brought in through patterns. With lots of natural fiber and neutral hues, adding in pops of colorful, patterned fabric ties in the art and creates that modernized southwest style.


We loved bringing together this southwest home and creating a fresh style for this family to enjoy. We also hope you’ll never think of southwest the same! Thanks for reading!


A Playful Project

Whenever we get a new client, they become a part of the Kathy Ann Abell Interiors family. After all, they allow us to bring our creativity and influence into the place they call home, the very space where they make memories and live everyday life. So, of course, whenever we get the chance to revisit a past client, it’s like visiting another part of our design fam. This next project meant visiting longtime clients and friends who, after having us design most of their home over the years, called us in to do something special for their own family…their two kiddos! Now, while a master bedroom might be all about relaxation, a kid’s room is all about vision! It might be based on a favorite color, a special jersey, or the princess that currently takes up the T.V screen every morning. And, really,  it’s all about making a kid feel like it’s their very own special place.

The Girl’s Room

The first room up was for a very sweet girl. Her requests were the colors of light pink and mint, or, in her own words, “I want my room to have the colors from this sign, please,” as she held up a little portrait with a painted mint green bike on the front, complete with a basket of pink flowers. (See inspirational sign below). Her wish was granted by painting the walls “Sea Salt” from Sherwin Williams, and adding pink and mint accessories along with custom pillows and drapes.


This cute bike sign was the inspiration for the whole project!


The Boy’s Room

For their son’s room, we kept to his favorite theme–sports! Through art, cool knick-knacks, and a lounge area we created a space perfect for just hanging out. We also added custom pillows and blinds to create a more unique and cohesive look.


What a fun project! We gotta say, we had a ball creating these special rooms for two sweet kids. The best part, of course, was seeing how much they truly loved the outcome of their very own spaces. Thank you for reading!


Tranquil Traditional

After a full remodel of their home, these clients wanted fresh decor to compliment their new space. But after trying to design it themselves, they found the look was never quite what they hoped. Color, scale, and proportion are the design ingredients that make or break a space. They can either act as culprits for a design that doesn’t fit or create a well-balanced, curated home. Once we got the call to step into this project, that’s where we began. We pulled current fabrics that would compliment the tones found in their living room rug, the only piece of decor they wanted to keep. Drawn to a more traditional style, rich woods, and neutral hues were the key to the surrounding furniture, while pops of blue tie the rug, art, and accessories together. These details combined with a balanced proportion and scale finally gave these clients a home that truly fit their vision.


While the rest of the house needed to be durable and fit for the whole family, their master bedroom needed to be a place of relaxation and rest—a getaway with something special. Keeping the colors light and the decor bright and airy, we gave them a room that acts as a retreat for just the two of them.


We love that we got to bring these clients vision to life and made their house into a true home. Thanks for reading!


A Tribute to Bill

In a little house on a busy corner in Pacific Beach, Cummings Family Enterprises (CFE) runs its carwash and gas station business. But before it became business headquarters, the office design was the vision of Bill Cummings, former head of CFE, and his wife, Katie, a talented designer here at Kathy Ann Abell Interiors. It began as an outdated cottage before the small-house-turned-office was transformed into a functional space with hints of industrial design, bits of the outdoors, and nods to the carwashes and gas stations it oversees. From the vintage canary yellow gas pump in the corner of the conference room to the green speckled bass hanging on the reclaimed wood wall, the design is something special, and, more than that, it stands tribute to its visionary, the late Bill Cummings.

On January 11th, 2017, Bill unexpectedly passed away from a prolapsed heart valve while on a hunting trip. He was a man who loved the outdoors, his work, and, above all, a man who truly loved his family. Once you learn a little bit about Bill, it isn’t hard to see him in the makeup of the office Katie finished to honor him. The raw edge wooden desk coupled with hunting and fishing treasures show his clear love of nature while the antique Shell gas pump and art featuring the inside of a water-speckled carwash stand as a reminder of the business he worked so hard to run. Of course, the reclaimed wood wall stands out the most for on it hangs pictures of Bill with his most prized possession—his family.


The office stands as a little snapshot of Bill with small pieces of who he was placed around by the only person who could have done it right, Katie. Without the option of delaying the install of the office design, she carried out the vision she and Bill had created together just three weeks after he passed. In her own words, the install was, “Bittersweet. Bill was excited about it and to have it finished how we both wanted it was a blessing and a gift.” For Katie, finishing the space—from unwrapping the antique gas pump they had both fallen in love with to installing the glass garage door they had used to create a cool conference room—was a way to honor her husband and see his vision through. Of course, even with the office finished and ready for operation, Katie wondered if keeping Bill’s business was even possible.


In the end, it was her and Bill’s four sons who encouraged Katie and were adamant about keeping their father’s legacy alive through CFE. Now, over a year after Bill’s passing, it’s his oldest son, Brock, who’s stepped into his father’s shoes to keep CFE thriving. Along with his grandfather, Brock has kept his dad’s business successful and stepped up in a way that Katie says, “would have made Bill very proud.” Though the office still reflects Bill and pays homage to him and his vision, perhaps the best tribute to his memory is the picture of CFE this past summer, when all four of his sons came to work their father’s business together. While Bill will always be a part of the business in some way, his true legacy is found in Katie, his wife of 28 years, and their four sons, Brock, Noah, Billy, and Jake. It’s in their love for him and for each other that Bill will always be remembered.

In memory of William Todd Cummings


A Breezy Backyard Patio

These next clients made the best of this fair-weather city by building a covered patio that has more than enough space for their whole family, which is perfect since family is everything to them! Being lovers of the outdoors, they wanted this area to be an extension of their home—a place to hang, chat, and eat together all year round. In essence, we created a second living room and dining room, just outside! And, of course, we used durable Sunbrella fabrics and slipcovers that can easily be washed and cleaned. The ideal space for games, food, and conversation, this backyard living space has it all.


Our clients also requested a table that seats ten, so we had a custom farmers table made that would fit the design and ten people. To finish the look, we added slipcovered host and hostess chairs. The result is an open dining area with a beautiful view of the surrounding valley. 

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We loved bringing this patio up to its full potential and hope this design gave you some inspiration for your own outdoor space. Thanks for reading!