When Orange County designer Ashley Clark first met with her client, she realized her work was cut out for her… in a good way! Alison, a young mother of two, had just undergone chemotherapy. Many of the last months had been spent in bed, battling her illness and staring at the walls. After the treatment was done — and the cancer gone! — she and her husband made the easy decision to sell their home and start fresh. A Newport Beach cottage was the perfect fit for their new start, and Ashley was ready to materialize that for the young family.

Though the home is surrounded by mansions, Alison and her family fell in love with the smaller size. Ashley laughs, “I think most people would have wanted to tear the house down and build a mansion to match the rest of the street, but they wanted to keep the house. It is the perfect size for a family of four!” The only requirements? With the young kids, nothing could be “too fancy” or off limits. Ashley says, “They wanted this house to entertain their friends and family, play with their kids, and just love and enjoy life!

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Structurally, nothing was changed. However, every wall was painted white at the start, brightening everything up. The bathrooms were all gutted and redone using organic materials — keeping that California-cool vibe alive in every design decision. Built-ins were added for extra storage, ensuring every inch of the home was put to use. The end result is a joy. With a smile, Ashley says, “I love the way that it came together. They love to surf, they love the ocean. The house is ‘so them’. They were really involved in all decisions and it was such a fun project to work on!”

Start the slideshow for a closer look at the thoughtful details.