When we were called in to design this tiny, 750-square-foot one-bedroom, one-bath 1950s condo in the Point Loma area of San Diego, we were met with a collection of dark, heavy furniture and full wall of mirrors in the living room—a total blast from the past.

Before: The dark, cluttered living room


Before: The closed-off kitchen


Before: The dated bathroom

Our design vision included a major update, marrying midcentury modern with Spanish style to complement both the era in which the condo was built and the seaside town in which it sits. We focused on a neutral and calming color scheme of black, white, and neutral tones mixed with natural wood and metal accents.

Since we were working with a small space, we also wanted to use design to create an open, airy feel throughout the home. Clean lines, light fabrics, and minimal décor allowed us to achieve this goal.

In the living room, we pulled down the dated wall of mirrors, replaced the old carpet with wood flooring, and painted the entire space a soothing white shade that reflects the natural light that pours in from the sliding doors.

Starting on the floor, we added a soft rug in a light shade to add comfortable texture underfoot and maintain an airy feel. The sofa provides ample seating while maintaining an open visual impact with its light-gray fabric. Black-and-light-wood accent chairs add needed a grounding element, as well as balance to the numerous light-colored finishes.

A gorgeous white-and-black mosaic coffee table anchors the space, while a large black-framed round mirror reflects natural light around the room. Beachy art, driftwood, and straw baskets draw in the natural elements that surround this condo.

The living room is now open to the kitchen, but originally, the latter space was closed off by walls, its only access a narrow door. After we tore down the walls, we created a wide peninsula with shaker-style gray cabinets underneath and smooth, white counters on top. A pair of clear globe-style Hinkley Warby pendants hang overhead casting a warm glow below in the evening and allowing sunlight to pass through during the day.

Adding a distinctive Spanish flair are the blue and white tiles on the range hood. Natural wood accessories also warm up the space, with cutting boards, trays, and picture frames arranged artfully on shelves and countertops.

New flooring and paint here matches the living room, allowing the color scheme to continue uninterrupted between the adjoining rooms. We chose white subway tile as the backsplash, which we took all the way to the ceiling, both drawing up the eye and adding texture. White IKEA cabinets with wood and glass doors provide storage above the counters, and a trio of clear glass sconces provide task light above the counter and sink.

Moving to the bedroom, we envisioned a serene retreat and set about adding neutral tones and varying textures to keep the space calm and cozy.

A striped ivory wingback headboard and campaign-style nightstands in warm, rich wood with gold accents exude both elegance and comfort, while an antique-style rug adds blue and rust tones. Bed linens in white, cream, taupe, and blue continue the neutral, calming color scheme.

We brought in natural elements with a unique driftwood wall hanging above the headboard, and a narrow, natural wood bench at the foot of the bed. A wood and white glass ceiling light creates soft illumination once the sun goes down.

When it came to the bathroom, a complete gut job was in order. Building from scratch, we laid black tile in a herringbone pattern on the floor, and created a visual pop with white, light gray, and dark gray geometric tile on one wall in the shower. Black vertical tiles complete the shower walls.

A stunning midcentury-style wood vanity is the showpiece of this room, and hanging clear glass, wood, and black sconces flank the rounded-edge mirror above it. We used matte black for hardware, plumbing finishes, and accessories, like the iron ladder-style towel rack that is both functional and beautiful.

We could not be happier with the complete transformation of this tiny condo that now radiates light, bright, and seriously cool style.