Sass Construction and Design

Sass Construction and Design is a division of Shelley Sass Designs, and was the next logical step after the many bathroom, kitchen and entire home remodels undertaken and delivered by Shelley Sass Designs.

As a local business in the San Diego area, we attribute our reputation (see reviews here) to the lasting customer relationships we’ve developed throughout the years. 

Shelley Sass Designs

Contractor Number: 1067716


Third Times A Charm Project

Tell us more about the project? What was the home like before and what was the client’s goal?

I worked with these clients on three separate projects hence the name. My first project with them involved general furniture throughout the house and lighting sourcing and selections. My second project was their master bathroom remodel. And the third project was pretty extensive including: complete kitchen remodel, guest bathroom remodel, new wooden floors throughout the entire downstairs, a new bifold La Cantina exterior door leading out from their dining room, and outdoor landscaping and remodel.

My client’s goal was to refresh and update their home to better suit the needs of their busy lifestyle, personal style, three growing beautiful daughters, and one delicious dog! They enjoy cooking and entertaining and really “live” in their home, so it was imperative to create a space for them that would serve their needs well both aesthetically and practically.

The home is about 20 years old and nothing had ever been remodelled or changed since the home was built, so it was really “tired” and worn and my clients wanted to give it a complete new look, overhaul and update.

What do you find most exciting about the renovation/remodelling process? 

There’s nothing more exciting and rewarding than seeing a transformation take place and come to life, and knowing that I played a huge part in the design and material selection process, and of course the gorgeous end result! 

As a designer and contractor, it is my job and mission to present a design and plan that will result in a cohesive, well-planned, and executed space.

The joy and happiness that I see on my clients faces upon completion of the project is all I wish for and nothing is more exciting!  I believe it is my job to see the potential and opportunities in every home that I work in, and a well-planned and executed remodel has the ability to elevate the home to new heights. It’s a little like building a puzzle where there are multiple viable options, and putting all the pieces together correctly will result in a fabulous end result that will not only meet but exceed my clients expectations.

Another aspect that I love about the remodel process is that it allows me to really use my brain and draw from my many years of experience and knowledge, think about hundreds of potential options,  and use my creativity to its fullest potential to curate a space that is truly special and loved by its owners.

Where is this project located (neighborhood not address)?

Torrey Hills which is a suburb in Carmel Valley, San Diego.

How long did this project take to complete?

The first project took around 6 months, the second master bathroom project took around two months, and the third largest project took around 5 months to complete.

We love how you transformed the kitchen, especially the big center island! Did the client specifically request for the kitchen island? How do you know if an island works for a particular kitchen space or even the client’s lifestyle?

My clients had a centre island from the beginning but it was really small because they also had a wrap-around side counter which limited the size of the center island. If you look at the before pictures you will understand what I mean. 

We took away the wrap-around side counter and made one big island which opened up the entire space and changed everything. It was the most obvious thing to do and they love it, and it is now far more practical and aesthetically pleasing than it ever was. 

And because of the stunning quartzite we selected for the countertops as well as the backsplash, it makes a big beautiful statement! I always do space planning so that my clients can see exactly how the space is going to look and that really helps. I also provide CAD drawings if my clients request them or if I feel they are necessary.

We noticed you used quartzite for the countertops and backsplash. Aside from its elegance, what are the advantages of using quartzite particularly in the kitchen? Is it not as high maintenance compared to marble?

Quartzite is a natural stone and as such is a lot more interesting than for example a quartz stone which is man-made which means every slab in a batch will look exactly the same. With quartzite you get to choose your exact stone and bundle, so no 2 pieces are ever the same. 

Quartzite is a super durable very hard stone but does need to be sealed. Quartzite is a lot more “special”, unusual and interesting than quartz because of its nature. I convinced my clients to run the same stone up the backsplash because I just love the seamless, elegant look, and they were very happy that they agreed and they love it. 

Regarding marble, I totally LOVE it and its unique, one-of-a-kind appearance, but because of its very porous nature I am nervous to use it in kitchens. I know a lot of designers do use it but I am very practical by nature and don’t want to be worrying about spilling anything and getting stains, so I always give my clients that advice and leave the final decision up to them. In this instance, my clients have 3 young children so it just did not make sense for them to consider marble.

Let’s discuss the flooring choice for the kitchen and family room… It looks really sophisticated, is it hardwood? Why did you choose this specific style and material for this home? 

The flooring is super gorgeous and it runs throughout the entire downstairs and up the stairs in the house. It is a french oak engineered hardwood and is 8” wide and has random lengths up to 72”. My client actually saw it and loved it and I gave them my blessing since it is perfect for their home. It suits their needs and style so well and is so versatile that if they ever change their furniture or color palette it will work in most scenarios. I always love wide, long planks, and the random lengths create interest.

Tell us a bit about the color choices for this project. How did you make the neutral palette work without making it too boring (as some would say)?

My clients and I wanted a cool, relaxed, and calm feel and look, and the neutral color palette just evolved and felt right in this home. After many discussions and a lot of brainstorming the color palette became obvious. Because they have three youngish children and a big dog, we had to take into account that durability is a huge factor, and as such the fabric choice for the sectional in their family room had to be a performance fabric since it’s a light color. 

To be honest performance fabrics are mostly what I specify these days, and since there are so many awesome options out there it makes so much sense for most people from a practicality perspective. They also went with wooden counter stools and wooden dining chairs in both their kitchen and dining room for the same practical reasons. And the 2 gorgeous swivel chairs to the side in their dining room are performance fabric too. It’s easy to make neutral not boring if you put it together in the right way!

Was space a big challenge when you remodeled the guest bathroom? How did you maximize the small space and still made it very functional?

I guess that space was a small challenge because the space is small and it did dictate that the layout was going to remain exactly as it was since we didn’t have too many other options that would work. To accommodate the small space and give them a little more storage, for the vanity mirror we chose a super cool frameless inset medicine cabinet that offers additional storage while still looking cool. That said, the end result is beautiful. 

The master bathroom is so spacious and has plenty of natural lighting already. How did you play around these inherent features to transform this space into the client’s dream bathroom?

We were very fortunate to have a large space to work with so the sky was the limit and we were able to create this gorgeous resort style bathroom. That said, it’s always nice if you can keep plumbing items in their original location from a cost perspective, but in this case we were only able to keep the shower where it originally was, and we had no choice but to move the bathtub and vanity locations. 

If you look at the before pictures you will see how poor/ridiculous the original layout was, with the vanities back to back in the middle of the room. That wall had to go! We redesigned the space to give our clients the bigger shower they were after which made complete sense given the large space we had to work with. 

Removing the vanities in the middle of the room opened everything up and allowed us to incorporate the super beautiful extra large and long free-standing tub. My clients are tall people and they have three daughters who love to take baths together so this is a real treat for them. The design of this bathroom from an aesthetic, as well as a practical standpoint, could not have been better and my clients were thrilled with the results.

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