This Builder-Grade Blank Canvas Added Charm Without Breaking the Bank

This Builder-Grade Blank Canvas Added Charm Without Breaking the Bank

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Mary Ann Skaria has owned this two-bedroom townhome in Alameda’s Bay Farm neighborhood for 16 years, and shares the home with her husband of 20 years, Sajan Skaria; 16-year-old daughter, Esha; 12-year-old son, Zack; and mini schnauzer, Milly.

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When we bought and moved into the house while we were expecting our first child, the house was a blank canvas of builder-grade basics with wall-to-wall carpet, and it lacked character and charm. Determined to make it uniquely ours without breaking the bank, we embraced a slow-and-steady renovation approach. In our decorating strategy, we’ve embraced a mix of high and low. Key pieces like a timeless couch and a great quality dining table are mixed in with vintage treasures & art works and mementos from our global travels.

Moroccan lighting and rugs from the souks of Marrakech, vintage plates and pottery from Japan, and handcrafted blue and white pieces from Jaipur, India, weave a tale of our cultural journey. Originally hailing from India, my husband and I moved to the U.S. 23 years ago, and our home now reflects a fusion of our backgrounds. Having worked under established interior designers for several years, I recently took the plunge and launched my own design firm earlier this year. My mission is to guide homeowners through the overwhelming task of designing their forever homes, ensuring they get the most value for their hard-earned money. Our home’s design is not just about aesthetics, but also a narrative of our family’s unique journey.

My identity is definitely reflected in our home — our travels, my passion for vintage and antique accessories and sustainability through revitalizing old furniture. Being an avid traveler and collector, I have used a muted color on the walls through our living spaces, so that it does not conflict with the finds that I frequently bring home.

Thanks, Mary Ann!

This tour’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
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