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144 C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • S P R I N G / S U M M E R 2 0 1 6 "I was ready to just give up on it and sell the house," he says. Then, he met Denise Kuest. "I was relaxing with friends at Los Laureles Lodge when a mutual friend introduced me to Rod," Kuest says. She was deeply impressed. "As he walked away, I told my friend, 'I'm going to marry that guy.'" The two developed a relationship, and Kuest became instrumental in the completion of the remodeling project. "I thought it was essential that we fulfill Pam's vision and fulfill her dream," she says. She also discovered a talent for interior design. "I was talking to various designers," de Leon says, "but it dawned on me that Denise has very good taste and a great eye, so she did it." Lewis' design brought the home's total area to 3,500 square feet and added a bedroom and comfortable living spaces indoors and out. Perhaps the most impressive change was the expansive kitchen, facilitated by Carmel Kitchens and Baths. "Pam had definite ideas," Courtwright says. "She wanted a contemporary look but wanted it to be natural." Kuest and de Leon now live in the house. There are a few things still left to do, but they're progressing nicely. To honor Pam, the couple placed a large black-and-white portrait of the woman who brought this project to life in a prominent spot overlooking the kitchen. "Pam is looking over us," Kuest says. It's a safe bet she would be pleased. The wooden torso by Big Sur sculptor and family friend Greg Hawthorne graces a cozy seating area adjacent to the kitchen. Hawthorne introduced the homeowner to architect Marshall Lewis, whose vision perfectly meshed with that of Rod and Pam de Leon. Rod de Leon and Denise Kuest share their home with Dusty, a Silky Yorkie.

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