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Veneer Retreat Remodel Overview

Hurrah hurrah, the Veneer Retreat is complete. We closed on the small vacation cabin in Yucca Valley, CA on October 31, 2018. I knew with the holidays approaching there would be a slow down in the construction progress but I didn't imagine it would take the almost 6 months it did take to complete. The majority of the heavy lifting was done in 4 months but then a trickle of slower progress happened the last two months so we couldn't really call it done until April. People who have done work out there told me that was fast. But it sure did feel slow from the sidelines in LA. If I could have trekked out every week or so I'm sure it would have come together faster. I was only able to do once a month so oversight was harder to do. You have been following along with previous posts here and here so I will walk you through the final installs instead of the entire process.

The Kitchen

I initially saw the kitchen as a quickie cosmetic upgrade of adding a new counter top and tile backsplash. The vintage metal cabinets were cool and the house came with a new basic model refrigerator and stove. That's more or less what happened except that it turns out the cabinets weren't even attached to the walls so they had to be leveled and attached. I also wanted to keep the original ceiling panels but repaint them, but we decided to smooth the entire ceiling. It looks better, but that treatment added time and expense. We also upgraded all the electrical outlets and exposed conduits for new light fixtures.

I had dreamed up this kind of crazy combination of Concrete Collaborative terrazzo slab counters with chips of black, rust, and gold on a white background to set the color story of the house combined with the enchanting Southwestern inspired Paseo tile pattern by Aimee LaCalle. I thought this combination would dress up the bare white cabinets and walls and boy did it ever. I'm really obsessed with how it turned out. Its probably too much for everyday kitchen but for a vacation house, its bonkers interesting.

The other element that was missing from the kitchen was a vent hood for over the range. What?! I thought the new black steel option would be a nice contrast to the white appliances and play off the accents of the counter and tile. Its the Anzio from Zephyr and its probably too good for the dinky stove. It whispers when its on. No noise whatsoever.

Continuing the modern black accent I selected the matte black finish for the Delta Trinsic kitchen faucet. I have the same faucet in my LA kitchen in chrome (more appropriate for a midcentury house) and have used it another handful of times for client work in the champagne bronze finish. I really like the look and function for the price point. Basically, it looks much more expensive than it is. I chose the black option for this house to give it a more architectural look. I used for placing all the fixture orders since they have been extremely streamlined on past project orders and I knew the semi-remote location needed a reliable source I could track and communicate with easily. They also have their own affordable and equally reliable line of fixtures called Miseno. That's what I used for the single basin kitchen sink.

Lastly, I warmed up the stark black and white with the beige leather handles.

The Living Room

The pot belly stove has been a feature I was obsessed with since we first stepped foot in the cabin and it wasn't going anywhere. The only things we did was paint the pad to match the front door and exterior trim color. Reveal the original concrete slab floor, then sand and seal it. Paint the walls white, new base trim, and smooth the ceiling.

The Bathroom

The bathroom was a little more trying. A low ceiling, septic tank issues, new plumbing lines galore. We swapped the toilet and shower locations and created a curbless walk in shower. We tiled all the wet walls with Ann Sacks Mason field tile in Murphy color. Its has a cool texture and looks like it could be original to the house like the fireplace brick if you didn't know any better. For the shower floor I wanted a mosaic and the Ann Sacks Savoy Arrowhead shape reminded me of the tile pattern in the kitchen.

Yes, that's the Delta Trinsic shower system in matte black from There really aren't that many plumbing manufacturers that offer the matte black option yet in modern profiles. Delta was my choice throughout the house and for a lot of client work.

I did something funky for the vanity. The remnant Concrete Collaborative kitchen terrazzo slab did not go to waste. I used it to have a custom vanity fabricated for the top and shelf. The sides are made of regular white engineered stone. It came out pretty different and indestructible for the wet room. And I continued the suite of Delta Trinsic matte black fixtures with the Trinsic deck mount faucet and a Miseno bathroom sink in the bathroom as well. Consistency is key.


One of the things that sold us on the house was that the majority of the exterior was already cleaned up for us. We only updated the paint colors to our liking and added a deck in the back for expansive outdoor living. There had been uneven pavers out back before that we will save for a future hot tub pad. The dirt was graded and leveled to make way for the beautiful new deck. Its about 20'x20' and left unsealed. It will grey naturally over time.

We did a wood screen in near the dining area of the deck to block off the laundry machines in the carport and mimic the existing slat screens on the front of the house. We also added a fresh baby cactus garden out front.


Next up will be a post covering the furnishings and decor. Let me know if you have specific questions about the build portion since this was a summary and I glossed over a lot of little details.

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