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Inside a Spanish 1930s House in Normal Heights

Real estate agent Amy O'Dorisio spruces up her own abode


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Landscaping by Brett Allen Designs

Amy O’Dorisio knows a thing or two about hot property. Representing Ascent Real Estate, she’s one of the hardest-working agents in San Diego. But when she stepped foot inside this 1930 Spanish charmer and saw the arched picture window in the living room, the adjacent canyon offering extra privacy—she knew it had to be hers.

To spruce up the interiors, she needed a little help from her friends. It was kismet that she’d gone to high school with Kelly Hinchman of Studio H Design Group. The pair worked together to keep the original Spanish character of the house, while giving it a contemporary refresh and incorporating some of O’Dorisio’s treasured family heirlooms.

Keep-forever custom spool side chair by Klaussner and beloved sunflower painting by O’Dorisio’s mother, which influenced the home’s color palette

The living room, with its dramatic fireplace, Cézanne-inspired window treatments, and blended textiles, is the focal point of the house. “I love the sense of arrival when you walk in the door,” Hinchman says. “The palette of rich bronze, burnt orange, raw sienna, marigold, and cream feels historical with a fresh, modern twist.”

A Klaussner sofa and spool side chair anchor the space, balancing traditional shapes with modern comfort and fabrics, like nubby bouclé. Hinchman enhanced the fireplace surround by painting the inset architectural motif a burnt orange-red. A vintage screen, one of O’Dorisio’s family pieces, serves as the perfect accent. “It’s my favorite spot in the house,” she confesses.

Living room sofa by Klaussner, dhurrie rug from West Elm, coffee table from Four Hands

The living room flows directly into the dining space. Hinchman complemented O’Dorisio’s antique hutch and table with sleek lime-green chairs, which add a punch to the warm wood tones. O’Dorisio sourced the stained-glass light fixture from former clients, who thought it was “God-awful.” But for her old-yet-new abode, it was just right.

“Since the table is round and the dining room is a pass-through space to the kitchen, a hide rug is the best flooring option because of its irregular shape,” Hinchman advises.

Hinchman installed natural textured drapery panels to the ceiling to create apparent height in the dining room.

The master bedroom is a sea of calming blues and greens, with an eye-catching custom ikat headboard. “The headboard bridges all of these colors together in a really unique way,” Hinchman explains. “I think it says, ‘I’m well-traveled, stylish, and confident.’”

That theme is echoed by a weathered trunk at the foot of the bed, found by O’Dorisio’s mother at an estate sale in Mission Hills. Hinchman loved how the muted green coordinated with the headboard.

The master bedroom was inspired by O’Dorisio’s love of the ocean. Turquoise, lime, and yellow work together to create the color scheme. Rug from West Elm, lamps from Crate and Barrel, sunburst mirror sourced at the Rose Bowl Flea Market.

The result of this woman-driven design collab is an eclectic blend of aesthetics. O’Dorisio says hiring a professional designer was worth the investment. “I didn’t want to make the mistake that a lot of my clients make. They move in and don’t do what they want. Then they call me to sell it, and I give them a punch list of what they need to do, and they’re like, ‘Why didn’t we do this in the beginning?’”

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