Ocean Breezes in the Backyard - A Family Home in San Diego

Sarah Szekeres welcomes Heart Home into her San Diego property

Mother-of-three Sarah Szekeres lives in a five-bedroom, detached house in Caramel Valley, San Diego. The suburban area is just minutes from the beach and boasts nearby parks, schools, neighbourhood pools and open spaces. She shares the house with her husband Dave, a mergers and acquisitions attorney, and their children – Carson, five, Brooke, four, and Dylan, one.

The couple enjoy living in San Diego: “the weather averages 70 degrees year round and we love the proximity to the beach as well as the laid back and friendly attitude of the residents,” says Sarah.

They moved into the property in December 2012 attracted by its location – just ten blocks from their previous home which they still own and rent out – and given that the area was under development: “we wanted a neighbourhood with new home construction which allowed us to select the finishes on our home – cabinets, flooring, countertops, bathroom shower material – and the lot our home would be on,” she explains.

They were especially taken with the walking trail and canyon that their lot backed onto – they now get ocean breezes in the backyard – and the floor plan which suited a family of five.

On moving in, Sarah and Dave spent ten days improving the property including painting the whole interior, adding crown moulding, a bespoke master bedroom closet, white shutters and a custom garage.

A month after, interior designer Cecily Mendell helped finish the kitchen and family room nook, living room, dining room, downstairs powder room and master bedroom.

“She did a great job of nailing our style and then pushing us a little out of our comfort zone. She did a fabulous job and has impeccable style,” says Sarah.

The modern decor of the new house is greatly different from Sarah and Dave’s previous property which was smaller and Spanish in architecture: “we had dark brown cabinetry and furniture throughout and light tumbled travertine flooring with light muted colours as accents,” explains Sarah.

Currently they are in the process of finishing the backyard. The couple have spent $60,000 on improving the property. “We originally planned to spend $25,000 but the scope of the project more than doubled,” she explains.

Sarah seeks interior inspiration from Pinterest and Houzz and favours online shops such as Serena & Lily and West Elm.

What design element is she most proud of? “I love all the bright and cheerful fabrics and colours, the white and bright kitchen with white Carrara marble, bevelled subway tile and large white sink, the living room gallery wall and the way the bookshelves are styled.”

Interior Design by cecyjinteriors.com

Photographs: Sean Dagen.  Words: Rachel O’Brien

This article originally appeared in the Autumn 2013 issue of Heart Home mag.