California Dreaming

With a nod to Santa Barbara style, a refresh awakens a century-old Spanish Revival home. 

by Kim Hill

Interior Design by ADJ Interiors

Photography by Alise O'Brien Photography


   This is a California house located in Clayton, owned by a St. Louis woman with an affinity for all things Cali. While both home and human are firmly rooted in the Midwest, one reaches back in time while the other fondly looks to the West.

    The owner, Crystal Cobb, is a St. Louis native who previously lived in Santa Barbara, where Mediterranean-style white stucco buildings topped with red-tile roofs reflect the city’s Spanish colonial heritage. “I loved everything about living there,” says Crystal, who moved back to St. Louis with her then-fiancé in 2020. A year later, the relationship ended, and Crystal found herself searching for a new home.

    “My real estate agent, Alyssa Suntrup, knew I would love this house because it looks like it belongs in California,” Crystal says. “It wasn’t even on the market yet; she knew their realtor who said the owners might be interested in selling. I drove by, didn’t even see the inside, and said, ‘this is my house.’ I fell in love with it.”

    The home is a two-story white stucco with arched windows and doors and a red-tiled roof. Built in the 1920s in the Spanish Revival style, the house is somewhat unique among traditional St. Louis architecture. “It has a pool, which for Clayton is practically unheard of,” says Crystal. “And it’s perfect for entertaining.”

    With her Cali-style home secured, Crystal embarked on freshening the house into a “classy bachelorette pad” that would also emphasize the Spanish Revival architecture. “I felt like the home was dark and the architecture wasn’t highlighted at all,” Crystal recalls. “I wanted to make the house much brighter and feel cleaner while bringing it back to its Spanish-style roots.”

    The first order of business—repainting gray walls in a soft white. Beams in the living room and primary bedroom that had also been painted gray were sanded and stained in a dark tone, which pops against the white ceiling. Metal gates opening from the foyer to both a curved metal staircase and the step-down living room are original to the home and were left in place, part of the Spanish Revival charm so appealing to Crystal.

    She turned to the team at ADJ Interiors for guidance for the home’s refresh and to add pops of color throughout. “We really leaned in to the Mediterranean vibe with blues and terra cotta inspired by the roof tiles,” says Alicia DeKold, designer with ADJ Interiors. “And she likes a little glam.”

    The ADJ team went more than a little glam in the dining room. Although the room features large sliding doors and leads directly out to the pool, the previous owners had used the space as a TV room. “We went back and forth trying to decide the best use of this room,” says Crystal, “and settled on creating a formal dining room which the house previously lacked.” Existing built-in cabinetry received new wine racking, increasing its usability. The team upped the glam by papering the ceiling in Thibaut’s “Daintree” wallpaper and choosing a photographic print by California-based artist Stephanie Vovas to hang above the fireplace.

    Crystal says she now hosts all Christmas Eve dinners, and on her first Christmas in her new home, the ever-changing St. Louis weather gifted us an 85-degree day. “We had Christmas dinner in the dining room with all the stack back doors open and it felt like we were in California,” says Crystal. “That is a very special memory for me.”    

    Outdoor living was an important attribute for Crystal’s new home. “The outdoor space I have here is substantial for city central areas,” says Crystal, noting she has two connecting patios for relaxation. She calls her dainty pool a “cocktail pool”—perfect for her and her dog, Reggie, who practically lives in it in the summer, she says, and for hosting smaller gatherings of girlfriends. ADJ Interiors assisted with finding just the right configurations of loungers, chairs and tables to make the spaces work no matter how many guests are enjoying the outdoors.

    Back indoors, entertaining continues in a petite space off the living room. The rounded nook is small and, after much discussion, the ADJ team turned the area into a bar and entertaining space for Crystal. Marc Christian Fine Cabinetry crafted custom round cabinetry with metal mesh fronts, and a beverage fridge installed in the center adds functionality. “This cabinetry just reads like it’s always been there,” says Alicia. And to further customize the space, decorative artist Tim Glastetter hand painted a mural on the plaster walls, adding 18-karat gold to the creamy hue. “It was a challenge finding the right tones,” the team mentions. “Tim made it work. His work is amazing.”

    Tim used the same technique and shades in adding a focal wall in Crystal’s bedroom. “She wanted this room to be serene and tone-on-tone,” the design team says of the creamy white color palette. Crystal agrees the calming space is one of her favorite rooms in the home.  The addition of a new light fixture allows one of her favorite features, the 18-karat gold specks, to shine. “Tim came back a couple of times to get the gold specks of paint just perfect. It’s so coastal in feel, you expect to see this in California.”

    Indeed, Crystal says “sometimes I wish I could pick up this house and put it in Santa Barbara. I’ve actually thought about moving back, but I cannot leave this house.  I feel very connected to it.”

    She says the home’s purchase was the first she’d accomplished by herself. “It was super important for me to make it my own, and ADJ Interiors definitely helped me with that,” says Crystal. “I honestly think the universe sent me this house because it was off market when I was going through a not-so-great time in my life. It’s been an absolute blessing for me.”



Cabinetry: Classic Woodworking

Granite Fabricator: Diprimo Fabricator

Granite Supplier: Triton Stone

Tile Supplier: Boardwalk, Ambassador Floors

Wallpaper: Kleine, Tim Glassetter

Landscape Design: Lokey Design