Home makeover: An East Coast artist moves her family West and makes space to play
1 of 9Photo by Ericka McConnell
Opening up a Craftsman home
When photographer Ericka McConnell returned to her native California from New York two years ago, she missed the openness of her family’s former loft back East.
The ground floor of the once single-story house—where she and her husband live with their daughter, Flora—is now essentially one combined kitchen, dining area, living space, and home office, with bedrooms in an upstairs addition.
Next, see the dining room before the remodel.
Design: Lillian Mitchell, Harp Ostroy Mitchell Structures, Berkeley (510/705-1061)
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Before: Dining room
McConnel boldly banished many interior walls of her 1900s Oakland Craftsman. Now this dining room space is part of a combined kitchen, dining area, living space, and home office (previous page).
“I love that we can entertain with kids in the breakfast nook, and grown-ups in the dining area or living room,” says McConnell. “It works for everybody. It’s not just a grown-up house.”
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The family decided to build a second story to the home while maintaining the architectural style of the neighborhood. “We didn’t want to be a crazy modern house in a traditional-looking area,” she says.
4 of 9Photo by Ericka McConnell
Raising the roof
With the addition of a story, the home now has space for two bedrooms, a bath, and a playroom upstairs.
5 of 9Photo by Ericka McConnell
Old meets new
The Douglas fir subflooring was uncovered during the remodel and refinished. “I love its character and sense of history,” says McConnell. “The idea of new flooring felt too uniform.” The steel staircase is new, of course, but it has a weathered, industrial look.
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Before: Living room
Despite a lot of tight spaces in the original home, the family saw potential. “It was really important to me to find a home with good natural light,” says McConnell. “And the weather here can’t be beat.”
7 of 9Photo by Ericka McConnell
After: Light-filled living room
Filmy white shades diffuse sunlight through the sitting area—helped by pale fabrics and rugs.
8 of 9Photo by Ericka McConnell
Room to grow
In addition to the second floor’s two bedrooms, a third area serves as Flora’s playroom. “I’ve never had an extra room. It feels so luxurious,” says McConnell, who imagines turning it into a library or painting studio someday.
9 of 9Photo by Ericka McConnell
Guesthouse provides breathing space
A small guesthouse, complete with a mini loft, sits in the backyard. “We left behind a big community in New York,” says McConnell. “But here we can host people, something that wasn’t as easy to do in an urban East Coast home without any bonus rooms—or outdoor space.”