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Project Spotlight: Colossus Mfg's Bright Harmony Bungalow

By Kali

Project Spotlight: Colossus Mfg's Bright Harmony Bungalow

Combining two different design styles is a challenge many couples struggle with, but Christina Valencia and Kele Dobrinski have made a career out of it! On their HGTV show, Mash-up Our Home, the design duo behind Colossus Mfg blends homeowners’ design preferences to create spaces that everyone feels at home in–and they reached for Fireclay Tile in this charming bungalow renovation to achieve that harmonious blend.

We sat down with Christina to talk about how she and Kele bring distinct styles together, the Bright Harmony concept behind this bungalow, and her three best design tips (your future self will thank her for number two). Continue on for our full interview.

Meet Kele and Christina !

Colossus


Can you tell us a bit about yourselves & Colossus Mfg?
Kele and I have been together for almost fifteen years and we have three boys, Jack, age 8, Wyatt, age 6, and Adler, age 3. We met in San Francisco, lived in New York City, then moved back to San Francisco and - two kids and a cramped apartment later - moved back to Kele’s hometown area of Sacramento where we found a big remodel project in need of a lot of love (Covered in Dwell). We spent nine months remodeling the place ourselves, then moved in and had our little Adler a year later.

Collosus mfg

Image via Colossus Mfg

Colossus Mfg, the design shop we started in 2018, is our “second life”. We’d both spent almost a decade in the business of brand building and storytelling while living in SF and NYC - myself in communications and Kele as an Art Director in advertising and tech. But we’d long talked about starting our own business together, and the evolution to storytelling through physical spaces felt like a natural next chapter for us.

Collosus Mfg

Tile Shown: Nautical and Tusk in 2x8 // Design: Colossus // Image: Stephanie Russo

Our Sacramento house was the first major remodel we tackled together. We also wanted to focus our work around hospitality and experiential design, so we fully reimagined two homes, in Tahoe and Scottsdale, that we turned into Airbnbs. This gave us a chance to lean into two distinctly different concepts and help develop our range through design. Then we evolved to working with restaurant design and branding. Now we’re the designers and hosts of an HGTV show, Mash-up Our Home. So every day is certainly different!

Collosus mfg

Image via Colossus Mfg

When did you first become interested in design? How did you get your start?
Kele is the innate designer between the two of us! He went to school for graphic design and did a lot of commercial advertising work in his 20’s for brands such as Ray-ban, Levis, and Jeep. His brain is hardwired as a designer - which I’m always in awe of - whereas I’m late to this rodeo. But I’ve always appreciated beautiful design, and I’m hungry to learn and grow as we go.

Collosus mfg

Image via Colossus Mfg

What is your favorite part of the design process?
Our research, in the beginning, is my favorite part of the design process. As we develop the concept for each project we do, we dig into historical and cultural references to help us understand more about a home’s original architecture, our client's wants and needs, and where those all can aesthetically intersect. Our inner nerds get to come out, as we’re basically developing a design thesis that we then get to bring to life in physical space!

Collosus mfg

Image via Colossus Mfg

How would you describe your aesthetic?
Our designs tend to be playful, casual, bright, and liveable. We love to balance old with the new so that our spaces feel fresh but with a timeless soul.

What are your 3 best design tips?

  1. Design a space for how YOU want to live, not because the Internet tells you something is cool or what you think a mythical buyer might one day be looking for. This is your chance to create a space that brings you joy every day, seize it!

  2. Pretty doesn’t always mean practical. As much as my dream living room involves a white couch, we have three boys and so that dream must stay a dream if I want to keep my sanity. If you buy things based on aesthetics alone (which we see happen a lot!), but they aren’t practical for how you and your family live on a daily basis, you’ll end up stressed about ruining the pieces rather than really living and loving them in your home.

  3. Design is supposed to be fun! Don’t take it too seriously. Unless it’s your profession and people pay you to do it, enjoy the process and don’t worry too much about picking the perfect pillow.


Why do you like incorporating tile in your designs?
Tile can have such a profound impact on a space. It’s one of our favorite materials to work with when designing. Tile brings warmth, sophistication, and pizzazz all in one. We love that even the simplest of tiles can be laid in an intricate pattern and have transformational power.

Collosus Sacramento Kitchen Design

Tile Shown: Tumbleweed and Tusk in 2x8 // Design: Colossus // Image: Stephanie Russo

Why do you like using Fireclay Tile in your projects?
Handmade tile is something we often use to make a project feel special and one-of-a-kind. We love supporting fellow Northern California shops….especially ones that also focus on sustainable practices.

Colossus: Kitchen Backsplash Before and After

Tile Shown: Nautical and Tusk in 2x8 // Design: Colossus // Image: Stephanie Russo

Let's talk about the Bright Harmony project. What were the goals for this home? What sort of look were you going for?
For our Bright Harmony project, we wanted to combine a clean, light palette with colorful, energetic warmth throughout the home. The whole show is about blending two styles together. So while the wife wanted her home to be white and all neutral, the husband, a school teacher, wanted to lean into color and patterns. He’s also a musician who loves jam sessions with his kids at night.

Before...

Colossus Mfg

Image via Colossus Mfg

We loved his story and we love how music can make you feel. Music is energizing and lively, it’s harmonious. The Oxford dictionary definition of harmony is ”the combination of simultaneously sounded musical notes to produce chords and chord progressions having a pleasing effect.” That was it, harmony was what we wanted to bring into their new home for the husband. Then, we’d layer the harmonious elements with calming, bright tones for the wife to bring in a sense of serenity: Bright Harmony.

Collosus Nautical and Tusk Kitchen

Tile Shown: Nautical and Tusk in 2x8 // Design: Colossus // Image: Stephanie Russo

What made you choose Tusk and Nautical for the kitchen?
The home is a 1950’s bungalow and we wanted to stay true to some of its original characteristics. Our clients had a very specific color palette that they were willing to bring into their home. The muted tone of the Nautical tile together with the Tusk felt like a classic pairing. We put them together in a slightly retro-feeling tile pattern. Using a timeless color palette in an era-specific pattern struck the right balance.

Colossus Tusk and Dawn

Tile Shown: Tumbleweed and Tusk in 2x8 // Design: Colossus // Image: Stephanie Russo


How about the Tusk and Tumbleweed in the backyard bungalow?
We wanted the Backyard Bungalow to have its own identity yet still feel connected to the overarching Bright Harmony concept. So we used the same tile pattern as the kitchen, but chose a hint of blush - Tumbleweed - as the main accent color. It was just the smidge of sweetness we needed in that space.

Last, which of our tiles would you love to use in future projects?
We would love to find a home for the Grange tiles in your Agrarian Collection. They would make for rad flooring in a small guest bathroom!

Ready to bring Bright Harmony into your own home? Grab samples here to get started on your project today.

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