Design Rewind: Little Italy Residence

By Sean Canning

In this episode of our Design Rewind video series, I am revisiting one of my earliest projects, the Little Italy Residence. 

This project may have been small in scope—a master bathroom and closet remodel—but it offered valuable lessons that shaped my architectural career. 

Today, this type of project is so small that our studio couldn’t take it on due to the client’s budget constraints. 

Like all the other videos in this series, it unfolds in three parts. 

First, I talk about the client brief and the project's constraints. The clients were a young, newly married couple on a tight budget. Despite the financial limitations and the size of the project, I was committed to bringing significant improvements to their home through modern + functional design.

Next, I delve into the design process, explaining every transformation step. 

One of the fundamental changes was transforming a window into a door, reconfiguring the space to incorporate a hallway into the master suite. I also managed to expand the walk-in closet, providing the homeowners with more storage space. 

Thoughtful additions such as placing the toilet in its own vestibule and installing a double sink added both functionality and aesthetics to the space.

An essential aspect of the design process was considering lighting and electrical layouts. I made sure to prevent shadow casting and provide ample light where needed. I presented various design options to the clients, allowing them to choose the layout that best suited their preferences. 

I also shared several SketchUp models, which was the first time I used this software on a project which has now become our standard rendering software at the office. 

The clients who undertook the renovation and enjoyed the changes. The last I heard, they were still enjoying the design, living in the same home with two children. 

This project, though smaller than what we usually undertake now, was an integral part of my journey as an architect in San Diego and the first project Ten Seventy Architecture undertook in Little Italy.

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