Behind the Scenes of a Historic Home Update


I feel so lucky to live in an area with historic architecture but as an interior designer it's a blessing and a curse.  As you might know Berkeley was the home of architectural innovation in the early 1900s and everywhere you look you can see the rambling brown shingle early craftsman homes with architectural pedigree.  I've been lucky to work in several of these (my own home is one from 1903) and I love them but there is one problem:  Wood panelling. 

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It's everywhere in these houses people, and I love it but at the same time, it can be hard to work around. 

A few months ago I was interviewed by our local Berkeley publication about best ways to update a craftsman home for today.  You can see that article here

We are currently working with a client on an historic home by famed architect of the period Leola Hall.  (I love all these women who were breaking ground back then!).  Leola loaded up on the redwood panelling and clinker brick in her houses back then too and since we can't touch any of it (I would have a hard time painting it honestly--it made it this far!) I'm utilizing some tricks to update it, brighten it, and let the light in, while staying true to that period detail of the day--wood on the walls!

The image above is an in-process shot of this project.  We are bringing in new lighting and we lightened the frieze area around the dining room with a lovely warm-white grasscloth.  We have silk drapes coming in for more light and texture too.  All the finished walls got a very thoughtfully chosen warm white from Drikolor that works beautifully with the tones of the wood.  

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We also have the tiniest legal powder room ever made, wallpapered in this lovely pattern:

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And finally, we are bringing in lots of upholstery in the living room to make that wood recede and feel like a cozy cocoon instead of an oppressive, dark, box.  The before and afters should be really dramatic!

Check back in about a month or so to see the finished product.  Historic homes can be fresh and new without sacrificing their charm!