Living in Harmony—With 6 Kids

Designer transforms Newport Beach tract home into a child-friendly charmer
Living in Harmony—With 6 Kids
Emily, left, and Annie, do their homework at the Kelly Lamb oak-and-inlaid-brass dining table in the Rodoskys’ combined living-dining room. PHOTO: Melissa Valladeras

With a house full of young children, interior designer Kim Rodosky and her husband, Steve, a PIMCO portfolio manager, were fast outgrowing their four-bedroom home. They loved the family atmosphere and the excellent schools of Newport Beach’s Harbor View neighborhood where they lived. So in 2005, when a two-story clapboard with double the space and an enormous backyard with a pool became available in the same neighborhood, they snapped it up.

For two years, they considered how the family actually lived in the 7,000-square-foot traditional tract home. Then Kim began making changes “in bits and pieces.” First to go were the dark wood floors and painted wall murals of trees and farm animals. In their place: white French oak floors and crisp gallery-white walls—“the better to show off artwork and create a light, airy environment,” she says. The spacious open kitchen got a makeover, too, as snowy cabinets and white marble countertops replaced dark cabinetry and speckled brown granite counters.

Most design treatments were made with the kids in mind—at the time there were five, ages 8 to 18. This meant lots of spaces where the family could interact, and for the children could play and study. Today, there are six, and the home is a wonder of functional space for them, inside and out. A library-playroom off the living room often finds Emily, 8, and Annie, 10, reading or entertaining friends after school, that is, if they’re not in the backyard playhouse with its nifty slide, or jumping on the trampoline. The guesthouse, outfitted with four bunk beds and a trio of TVs, is ideal for sleepovers, while a room appointed with a low-slung Roche Bobois sofa allows cushions to be stacked in various configurations or hauled into the adjoining family room when they all want to be together.

“All the furnishings have to be comfortable and functional, as well as kid-proof,” says the designer, who opts for dark or multicolored fabrics that don’t show dirt, or washable and stain-resistant materials. Each of her ladder-back kitchen chair cushions has two Ultrasuede slipcovers, “so when one’s being laundered, there’s always a clean one.” These days, she’s even fonder of sturdy outdoor fabrics, used inside and out, because “stains wipe right off.”

Her mix of contemporary and unique vintage pieces, as well as local and global salvaged items, are similar to those in her Newport Beach furniture emporium, 503 Found, which she opened with partner Kim Johnson last June. In the living room, a pair of old wood Corinthian columns flanks a large, blue abstract acrylic painting, while a pair of weathered black wood columns, sans capitals, helps divide the kitchen and the family room. Doors throughout the house, including the new front Dutch door, were custom-made using reclaimed wood for texture and character.

And because every home needs a little spice, an array of chandeliers adds sparkle to nearly every room. “With four little boys running around, they were the only really nice things I could add that weren’t in danger of getting broken.”

 

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