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Home: Midcentury Magic

At home with event designer Courtney Isaac of Waters Fine Foods & Catering and her family


Mount Helix

3,000 square feet, with 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms

Their Story

For some, mixing business with pleasure is a risky move, but for Courtney Isaac, an event designer at Waters Fine Foods & Catering, the combination is seamless. In her day job, Courtney researches and creates menus before orchestrating the actual event, from picking colors to furniture to tasting stations. When outfitting the Mount Helix home that she shares with her husband, Dillon, and son, Beau, 21 months, she pulled from that same design know-how. “My friends call my house ‘artsy,’” says Courtney, who majored in art history at the University of San Diego. “I like modern and clean but round out with notes of whimsy. Everything is purposeful.” The couple moved into the flipped, 1960s-built, Joseph Eichler–style home in December 2012, and decorating it became a family affair. While Dillon, an account manager for Main Electric Supply, took charge of the outside and Courtney focused on interiors, their families also rolled up their sleeves to help. The resulting look includes pops of color, a mix of high and low, and a nod to midcentury style. “If I was going to move to East County,” says the Point Loma native, “it had to be midcentury, it had to be on a corner, and it had to have a pool. It’s a mix of family, new, and our past lives. We’ve made a forever home.”

Let There be Light

Sizable windows reflect the Eichler approach of fusing indoor and outdoor spaces. “We have coffee in here a lot because of the morning light,” Courtney says. An Urban Outfitters rug, IKEA couches, and vintage acrylic chairs keep the space cozy, while an Eames-style rocking chair and George Nelson replica pendant lamp from Design Within Reach add a midcentury flair. Outside, Courtney incorporated one of her favorite hues: “The front door is very French country. So my husband painted it orange to make it work with the midcentury.”

To Dine For

Given her work in catering, it’s no surprise that Courtney loves to entertain. “This room is amazing,” she says. “We do most big dinners on this table.” The room also shows off her knack for finding high design at low prices. The dining table is from Crate & Barrel, bench from IKEA, and accent chairs from Tuesday Morning. The tablescape features Diane von Furstenberg flatware, plates and bowls from the Philippines, florals by Isari Flower Studio, and a family memento from a private game reserve. “My husband hunted that boar’s skull.”

“I like modern and clean but round out with notes of whimsy. Everything is purposeful.”

Baby Blue

“The theme is wanderlust and travel,” Courtney says of Beau’s room, which is decorated with a teepee and map mobiles from Land of Nod, a Serena & Lily rug, and a train made by Beau’s grandfather. The chair is an IKEA piece that Dillon’s mother upholstered with Trina Turk fabric.

An unassuming nook adjacent to Dillon’s office is filled with family history, including a futon that once belonged to Courtney’s grandmother, her father’s Bauhaus chair, a Blu Dot side table that was Dillon’s Christmas gift to his wife, and a gilded wedding slipper family heirloom dating back to 1846. Courtney used it as a ring bearer pillow at her 2012 nuptials; another relative inherited the other slipper.

The sleek black marble counter, backsplash, and range came with the house, courtesy of the flippers. As for the chic high chair by Bloom, Courtney can thank another Kourtney (Kardashian, that is). She spotted it in the reality star’s Elle Decor spread.

Table Talk

The recently renovated dine-in space in the kitchen includes a chandelier left over from the Marriott Hotel in the Gaslamp that one of Dillon’s vendors made, as well as Courtney’s own DIY prints and a Crate & Barrel table for future homework sessions.

In Black and White

Using tape and chalk, her father-in-law painted this accent wall in one day. Topping the bar area is an Altuzarra for Target cocktail shaker and tray, while vintage Bertoia high chairs, a Crate & Barrel sunburst mirror (a wedding gift), and a pair of lamps sourced from The Thursday Club rummage sale round out the vignette.

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