Name: Andrew, Kathleen, and Ruby
Location: Berkeley Hills — Berkeley, California
Size: 2,600 square feet
Years lived in: 7 — owned
It’s all about respect. It is, at least, for Kathleen and Andrew when it comes to decorating their 1947 mid-century modern home in the Berkeley Hills. When they first moved into the space they were perplexed by the layout of the home. The bedrooms were small and awkward and the living spaces were open and undefined. After seven years of getting a feel for the space and a few renovations later, Kathleen and Andrew’s design style is a testament to the progressive yet intimate nature of the building itself.
As I made my way through their home, I found myself at ease and comfortable in each room. Nothing was overbearing in its design aesthetic. The space reflected the adoration and awe Andrew and Kathleen have for the architecture of the home. Their strategy was for the house to be the art and the things inside to be the home and reflect the style of the structure. The couple made this happen by mixing vintage pieces with modern basics and local wares. Their secret weapon: estate sales.
Kathleen, a seasoned estate sale guru, knows how to find the goods. The house has an impressive collection of designer furniture and one-of-a-kind wares mostly from estate sales in the Bay Area. She loves the spirit of discovery. After all, her favorite source is the perfect estate sale. It’s all about creating ‘the look’ for Kathleen and Andrew, not buying a look. And through the process they have created a style that both enhances and respects the craftsmanship and design of their home.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
Our Style: Relaxed Mid-Century Modern with an Arts & Crafts accent. The house is the art so we have made the interior comfortable. We don’t want to live in a museum.
Inspiration: The House. It is so progressive for the time it was built, 1947, and northern California modernism.
Favorite Element: The view from the living room looking down the hall into the guest room. The shape of the house really controls your view. And the fireplace!!
Biggest Challenge: The awkward sizes and small space of the rooms. Another challenge was defining the spaces of the living room and dining room.
What Friends Say: Where’s the front door? We should probably paint it orange so it is easier to find. Guests that stay over are surprised at how quiet it is. They enjoy the coziness even though the layout is so open.
Biggest Embarrassment: We bought some amazing house numbers to put on the house but they were so complicated to put on are sitting in a drawer.
Proudest DIY: Demolition!! We did the demo in the bedroom and the bathroom when we opened up the space. Kathleen designed the ‘random’ placement of the tiles in the bathroom, which was a bit of a challenge.
Biggest Indulgence: The Arne Norell chair and the Eero Saarinen for Knoll dining room table. Because there is so much wood in the house we needed to break it up so we focused on picking out pieces made from leather, rock, and concrete.
Best Advice: Live in the space and move things around as you discover where the walking patterns lay. If you are shopping at estate sales make sure to edit. Kathleen puts back half of what she has even if it costs one dollar. You can supplement basics from stores that are inexpensive.
Dream Sources: The perfect estate sale!! It’s all about the spirit of discovery and treasuring something that someone else once loved. Also, Heath and ABC Home.
Resources of Note:
• Furniture from estate sales. Woven pillows on the bed from ABC Home.
• Arne Norell leather chair from Klassik by Lynne in Emeryville, California
• Couch from eBay and refinished and upholstered by Cornelius Ross at Retrospect Furniture.
• Moroccan rugs from Kathleen's mother.
• Heron rocking chair by Mitsumasa Sugasawa for the Tendo Mokko Company of Japan
• Tall silver lamp with shade form Design within Reach
• Table by Eero Saarinen for Knoll
• Zuo modern wire frame chairs from eBay
• Shams and bedspread by Wallter
• Heath tiles
• Storage cabinet re-purposed from bedroom closet remodel. Work done by Charles Campbell - Berkeley-based contractor (510)612-3099
• Woodworker/carpenter Joshua Tomlinson
• Lisa Russell from Design Within Reach in Berkeley
Thanks, Andrew, Kathleen, and Ruby!
Images: Lilias Pettit-Scott
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