Houzz Tour: Sunny Update for a California Bungalow
Budget-Friendly Makeover Opens Mill Valley Home
Between career stops at a lifestyle magazine and now at a major home furnishings retailer, and owning a 1915 bungalow whose repair situation was once described as akin to playing Wack-A-Mole, I've spent a lot of time considering home design ideas. Sometimes I'm surprised by the things that capture my attention.
Between career stops at a lifestyle magazine and now at a major home furnishings... More »
It's difficult to imagine that not that long ago, this home was a dark, outdated California bungalow. But San Francisco-based designer Tineke Triggs helped it evolve into what you see here: an open, airy, contemporary (but not too contemporary), welcoming space. She is friends of the owners, artist Tjasa Owen and Scott Kalmbach, who used to own a furniture store and is now a realtor. "The house had all old-fashioned wood cabinetry, and all the doors and windows were Doug fir," Triggs says. "The goal was to make it feel like more of a modern bungalow." She brightened the space with lots of white paint, added wood beams to retain a tasteful amount of rustic charm, and repurposed and rearranged some of the space to make the home more functional and free-flowing.
The entire Mill Valley, CA, home is less than 1,500 square feet, but a palette of mostly light neutrals helps it feel much larger. "We opened up the kitchen completely," Triggs says. There used to be a wall separating it from the living space, but by removing that they increased the usable space. She added the overhead beams, made from reclaimed wood, to evoke some of the home's vintage character. The entire redesign took about six months, and Triggs says it was done on a tight budget, forcing them to be creative without spending a lot of money.
They created a play space in the main living area with a kid-sized table and chairs. The table was purchased at Maison Reve, a story in Mill Valley; owner Yasmine Mcgrane had found it in Avignon, France. Triggs explains with a laugh that the arrangement of the markers in this photo is not for the purpose of staging — it's actually always set up like that. The floor is oak, and they played around to create a custom finish in a matte medium gray-brown that would complement the home's furnishings and the reclaimed wood of the ceiling beams. The fireplace facade is ceramic tiles from SpecCeramics that are rough cut for an undulating texture and are designed for an easy locking installation.
An oversized image of the horizon creates the illusion of a sweeping view between two sunny windows. The communal dining table, 1950s Eames chairs, stools and bench are an eclectic mix. The table and chairs came from Kalmbach's furniture store, and the bench came from the owners' friend Jonathan Rachman. The stools were found at Crate & Barrel, and the chandeliers are Robert Abbey.
Throughout the home, the owners wanted a mostly neutral palette, which allows the colors of Owen's artwork to stand out. Asked about numerous appearances of animal hides and faux fur in the home, Triggs explains, "When you have to stay with neutral palette, the next idea is texture. They are not the kind of people who like a lot of color, so the best way to deal with that is to add lots of textures. Another way we did that was with a tile that looks like horsehair on the floor and in the shower of the master bathroom." That tile is also from SpecCeramics.The painting of the woman at left is by Mill Valley, CA, artist Eric Zener.
A kitchen with a small footprint feels open and free-flowing thanks to the removal of the wall at right. A large post marks where the wall used to be. Beyond the frame of this picture at left is a hallway, into which they extended some kitchen functionality with the addition of a pantry.
The master bedroom is right off the main living area. "To make the entrance more dramatic, we installed sliding barn doors," which they had the contractor custom-build, Triggs says. "We painted them white to make it more contemporary."
More rich textures show up in the decorative pillows atop the bed, the sherpa throw and a plush rug at the foot of the bed.
Triggs says that one problem with using real reclaimed wood is that it can introduce real pests to the home, in the form of resident beetles. In the master bathroom, the vanity is crafted from new oak that was stripped with metal brushes to give it texture and depth similar to authentic reclaimed wood. In addition to being bug-free, the density and grain of it is more consistent than with vintage wood. This relatively small bathroom — the shower is at left and the toilet is at right — gains an illusion of spaciousness with a wall-spanning mirror over the sink.
The drawers in the master bedroom closets — there are his & hers (shown here is "his") — are crafted from the same custom-distressed wood as the bathroom vanity. The handles shown here are leather. In the "hers" closet, the bureau top is used to display a colorful jewelry collection.
This family area is in a separate building, formerly an unfinished studio, behind the main property. An authentic rust-colored Eames rocker adds retro charm to the space.
The vintage file cabinet is another relic from Kalmbach's store. "They love to mix uber-modern pieces with antiques, collected things from different places and from Scott's store," Triggs says. "All his stores were a mix of new and reclaimed. He would do modern custom furniture and mix it with a lot of reclaimed antique pieces. He started doing that way before it became popular."
Another element of the outhouse, this is the place where Owen's artistic magic happens, and is the one space where they used authentic reclaimed flooring. The planks came from Black's Farmwood in San Rafael, CA.
This boy's bedroom mixes vintage, modern, playful and stylish themes. The colorful lockers came from Kalmbach's store; the surfboard is actually a creative take on a growth chart. The clean, simple bedding is from Garnet Hill. Overhead, models built by the room's inhabitant add sci-fi-inspired character.
This bathroom is for guests as well as the owners' daughter. The vanity top is Caesarstone, which Triggs says has a bit of movement in its texture and color.
Triggs likes the story of the ladder in the daughter's bedroom: she and Kalmbach had liked the idea of stationing a ladder there from the start, but Owen wasn't so sure. The one seen here was also purchased at Maison Reve, and all three agreed it was perfect. The bed is original to the home, but used to be in dark wood tones. They brightened it with white paint and bedding Garnet Hill, and chose one of Owen's paintings that carries through a touch of the bedding's pink color. The light is from IKEA.
Triggs added the custom built-in desk for the daughter, with a linen corkboard above for posting favorite artwork and photos. Open shelving is used mostly for display but can become convenient storage as her needs change.
When the current owners moved in, the backyard was pretty overgrown. They used some of the trees that had to be pruned to bring a little of the outdoors into this office, another area of the "outhouse." The desk — which looks in keeping with the character of the wood throughout the main house — is from Restoration Hardware.
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Ideabook updated on Nov. 5, 2011.
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