Before and After: Newport Beach family home grows up

Allen and Margot Condon could never fully commit to decorating their children’s rooms in any particular color or theme.

That’s because the couple raised 13 children, 10 of them adopted, in their roughly 3,000-square-foot Newport Beach home.

“It was just easier to leave everything neutral, because we never knew who was going to be staying there next,” said Allen, 76. Margot died last year.

Given the revolving-door nature of their household — today, the Condon children range in age from 18 to 50 — interior design was not a consideration; the house had barely been touched since the family bought it in 1999. There was even a makeshift bedroom in the garage.

“There were no windows, and the kids staying there never knew if it was day or night,” said Allen, a real estate investor. “We called it the ghetto.”


The rest of the bedrooms were in similar need of a refresh. All had basic closets — sometimes with just a hanging rod, and there were cabinets everywhere. Mattresses or trundle beds lined the floor. The kids kept their clothes in bins that were switched out at the start of the season and transferred to the garage.

After his wife died, and with only three of their children now living at home full time, Condon enlisted interior designer Diana Tomei to transform the house.

“The house was never a priority; the kids were,” Tomei said. “And people get used to a certain way of living. When I asked Allen’s daughters what colors they’d like their rooms, it was something they’d never been asked before.”

The palette was just one of many considerations in the revamp, which took five months to complete and cost about $300,000.

“I wanted it to be open and uncluttered,” Allen said of his ideas for the renovation. “Diana got it. She knew exactly what was needed. When she showed me her plans, I never said no.”

Plantation shutters were removed to make the rooms airy and light-filled. In the living and dining spaces, Tomei used an easy-to-clean tile on the floor (the Condon children — many with kids of their own — congregate here monthly).

Son Tyler Condon said the family is grateful for the “relaxing, warm vibe” of the new design.

“It’s the perfect house to come home to,” the 38-year-old said.

In the living room, the color scheme is ivory and pastel blue, accented by a hefty dark-wood table and wicker chairs.

In a den off the kitchen, a chestnut-colored couch is enhanced with cushions in burnt orange and mauve, a graphic patterned rug beneath. The former kitchen island, in an unwieldy triangular shape, has been replaced by a rectangular one with counter seating.

The master bedroom has been revamped in shades of white and pale blue, with cafe-style curtains shielding the window in the master bath, and a large white tub gives it the look of a boutique-hotel bathroom.

An upstairs bonus room, once lined with boxes and cabinets, now boasts a plush tufted rug, cozy recliner, spotlights and plants. A couch from Room & Board easily transforms into a bed.

“The furniture is designed with wear and tear in mind,” Tomei said. “We wanted it to have that relaxed, beachy feel. We didn’t do crazy, wild, expensive stuff. We just made the best use of the space and the light.”

Tomei said she also wanted to respect the idea that the house would always be a touchstone for the Condon clan, a place they could return to any time.

“The house had been well loved,” she said. “It had given all it could give. Now it just feels like a new chapter.”