5 minute read

At Home: The Van Grouws

Making a House into a Home

Story by Natalie Caudle | Photos by Dakota Jacobi

When Kayla and Lance Van Grouw would pass each other in the hallways of CVC High School, they never would have guessed that one day they would create their perfect home as husband and wife. Soon to be celebrating their four-year wedding anniversary, the Van Grouws are overwhelmed by the sweetness of life. “We are so blessed and fortunate to do a project at such a young age,” remarks Lance. “We have been able to build our dream home together.”

After high school graduation, Lance’s plans were rerouted when a neck injury left him paralyzed. His dreams on hold, Lance worked diligently in physical therapy while attending College of the Sequoias and later transferring to Cal Poly. Before graduating, Lance purchased the farmhouse next to his family home in the citrus groves of Exeter. Not knowing where the roads of life would lead, Lance preferred to have his own space after college but desired to be close to his strongly supportive family.

The 1992 farmhouse had been beautifully built but needed a bit of updating. “I dug into the remodel plans when I was still single, working with my mom on the floorplan. We started on the project, plans were done, demo hadn’t started, then Kayla and I started dating,” remembers Lance. Kayla chimes in, “He showed me renderings on a date, it was literally my dream house to a ‘T’. We compared our Pinterest boards and they were exactly the same.”

"I really like the design of modern mixed with something old. Timeless is really our design style."

Kayla was no stranger to the field of design and architecture. Holding degrees from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising and the UCLA Interior Design and Architecture Program, Kayla was eager to jump into the project alongside Lance. With an earthy design style that captures Southern charm and California vibes, Kayla created a lasting style for their home. "I really like the design of modern mixed with something old; timeless is really our design style,” says Kayla. The exposed wooden beams and modern black-framed windows give the home a beauty that will stand the test of time.

Before Bothof Construction began the inside demolition, Lance surprised Kayla with a wedding proposal. Today their custom-made dining table sits in the very spot where Lance popped the question and is one of their favorite spaces in their home.

The dining table was custom built by Nate Stott, Lance’s brother-in-law and gifted woodworker. Nate crafted a 7-foot round dining table out of Black Limba wood from West Africa. The couple chose a round shape so as to facilitate conversations with guests. Lance considers the table an heirloom to be passed down. Behind the table sits Kayla’s favorite piece—a painting from Bravo Farms in Tulare. “I had loved this painting since middle school,” Kayla beams. “Lance bought the art piece as a gift for our house and for me.”

Most of Kayla’s fresh signature comes from a blending of styles she finds through research. Currently working as a lead designer for Derek and Sara Brinkman of dlb designs, Kayla loves to add pops of color in unexpected places like laundry room cabinets. When designing her future home, Kayla seamlessly married aesthetics and functionality. Thankful to be able to customize the home to meet their needs, Kayla designed flat thresholds, a roll-in shower, and a custom-made concrete sink with a front swoop that adds both beauty and practicality.

The little family has grown to three with the birth of their son, Drake, who now toddles around the beautifully landscaped yard. Both Kayla and Lance find their favorite spaces to be outside with front-row views of Rocky Hill and the Sierras. Soaking in the rhythm of country life, Kayla spends her time watching Drake play in the yard and meandering through the garden. Lance echoes Kayla’s sentiments for an intentional pace of work and rest. “We love to be home. We really enjoy a quiet weekend at home just getting to catch up on things and relax.”

Elements of exposed brick and complementing textures create a timeless elegance where guests feel at ease. The Van Grouws see purpose in their home that extends beyond their family. “We were challenged to keep our home open and invite others…we’ve tried to stick to that and make it a welcoming place,” says Kayla.

The inspiration of their faith and the endless outpouring of support and sacrifice from both sides of their families has left a resounding mark on their life. Framed fruit labels hang in the pantry as a nod to Lance’s heritage and the legacy of citrus farming that has been passed down for generations.

"Kayla and I both love life and are passionate about being joyful,” remarks Lance. There’s no doubt that each soul who enters the Van Grouw home can’t help but feel welcomed by an outpouring of love.