You’re technically looking at phase three of Lucy and Sergio Hernandez’s decade-long home remodel. It all began with a two-bedroom, one-bath bungalow they purchased in 2010.
Three years later with two kids in tow—Dorian, now six, and Harlow, now eight—they were drawing up blueprints for an extension of the home to accommodate their bigger family. Then Sergio’s brother, homebuilder Paul Hernandez, stepped in with a bold idea: bulldoze the place to the ground and forget working with its 70-year-old studs. “That was exciting,” Sergio recalls, “but also a lot of sleepless nights, like, we just destroyed a perfectly good house.”
In the long run, what they got in return was a house that’s perfect for them—”a little luxe, a little modern, a bit of rock and roll,” as Lucy puts it. “I’m a total city girl. I love the grit of it. I’d always pictured myself in New York.”
In fact, she’d been planning to move from LA to the Big Apple before she met Sergio while visiting a friend here. (He was deejaying at the time, and Lucy mustered up the courage to introduce herself.)
They’ve lived all around central San Diego ever since, but always eyed Kensington for its walkability and location. They liked the proximity to downtown (where Lucy stages photo shoots for her fashion blog, lucyswhims.com) and to University Heights (where Sergio established his ultrasound clinic, Sonohealth). When the couple moved into that bungalow 10 years ago, they brought a little edge to their historic hood—and had to rein in their new build plans just a little.
“Initially, we wanted a concrete cube, then we looked at the neighborhood and realized that wouldn’t work here,” Lucy says. Instead, they settled on a subtle, modern Spanish Colonial exterior to blend in, and opted to build up instead of out into their canyon. “The plans took a long time to draw up.”
That’s because, as Lucy admits, she and her husband are indecisive. Thankfully, that’s offset by their patience and their mindset to work in phases. They also had interior designers to help. First came Christie May of Rockwell Interiors, who worked closely with their architect to ensure the flow of the home fit their needs.
After three years, the interiors were fully livable—phase two, check!—and they called on interior designer Kelly Hinchman of Studio H Design for help with phase three: decorating to their modern-meets-edgy liking.
Phase four is to finish their outdoor spaces, meaning five balconies and a rooftop deck that counts as the third floor, hopefully by summer. Save for his office, this is what Sergio’s most excited about.
“I’ve always wanted a rooftop. We’ve got this beautiful 360-degree unobstructed view. You can see mountains to the east, terra-cotta tile roofs in Kensington. Once that’s finished, this will be a beautiful place to entertain. It’s all good to go.”
Well, almost good to go, because the kids are advocating for phase five: pool, please!
Photos by Jenny Siegwart