This Elegant Light-Filled Home Is the Epitome of Cali-Cool Style

Sacha Strebe

There are some interiors where it's clear that aesthetics led the design direction. They're beautiful and they play by the rules with everything in the right place, but they don't feel like home. Then you come across a house that evokes a sentimental mood, and you can almost feel the heart that pulses at the center of it. That's what happened when Sarah Yates Mora gave us a peek inside her 1750-square-foot home in San Diego. Built in 1926, the three-bedrooms, two-bath abode is a midcentury dream with a visible warmth and dreamy Cali-cool style we'll never get tired of. 

"My personal goal was to make a home that would be an inviting space for friends, a beautiful backdrop to create family memories, and that would feel like a warm hug when we return to it," she says. "I wanted the beautiful design to align with function and warmth to create a family home that feels thoughtfully curated but not precious."

The Spanish-style architecture is quintessential to the region, and Mora tells me it had a huge impact on the design process. Their house prior to this was modern, and they didn't intend to buy a Spanish home, but they fell in love with the giant windows in the living room and couldn’t walk away from it. "I tried to find a way for modern pieces to make sense in a Spanish home so rich with history and design details," she says. But, of course, Yates was always going to nail it. We're big fans of her style at A House in the Hills, and she approached this home with the same attention to detail and a keen eye.

Yates was also resourceful, spending just under $25,000 on small cosmetic updates and converting the garage into a workspace studio. She repainted the entire home, restored/painted the exterior, changed out all the light fixtures, added some landscaping elements, and central air. "I wanted to give this home a new life. When we moved in, it was dated and in need of some updating," she says. "While we haven't done all of the things I hoped to do, mainly renovating the kitchen and refinishing or replacing the hardwood floors, it feels like an entirely different home than the one we purchased. I think we achieved our mission." 

We do too. Read on to see the full home tour and hear how she did it. 

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