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Modernizing a Craftsman

Contemporary solutions for a historic (read: slightly problematic) house

Modernized Craftsman
Photo by Thomas J. Story; written by Jess Chamberlain

Ready for a revamp

MaryJane and Bob Pauley had always lived in older houses—the sort that had more charm than modern conveniences. So in 1996, when they were looking to buy in Berkeley, they put “garbage disposal, a dishwasher, and a garage” on their wish list. But the early-1900s Craftsman they ended up with had none of these. “We fell in love with this incredible view,” says Bob, a Pixar production designer, pointing to the Golden Gate Bridge with an orange wake of sun setting behind it. “And we were used to not having a fancy kitchen, so we knew we could make it work.”

But 10 years and 2 kids later, the Pauleys were in desperate need of more storage, more room to move, and, most of all, a revamped kitchen. Coincidentally, “at work, we were updating Andy’s house for Toy Story 3,” Bob says. “Of course, adjusting walls and paint colors in a virtual home is much easier—and less expensive—than in a real one.”

Given the house’s historic style, all design decisions fell back on What would the builders have done with today’s materials? “We want to stay true to the house,” says MaryJane, who worked closely with architect Alex Bergtraun on the plans. “We felt a responsibility to do our part, to keep it going for the next century.”

Design by Alex Bergtraun, Studio Bergtraun ( or 510/652-0612). 


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