Contemporary solutions for a historic (read: slightly problematic) house
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 (studiobergtraun.com or 510/652-0612).
Before the remodel, the dining room had limited storage space and no buffet area; narrow doorways made entertaining difficult.
Now, the room benefits from a built-in sideboard and wider, open doorways. Adding the sideboard yielded four square niches.
The Pauleys hired Chehalis, Washington, painter Robert Flanary (holtonframes.com) to fill those slots.
New cabinets were constructed, while old ones were repurposed. Originally located on another wall, the glass-door cabinets now bookend a madrone-topped sideboard. New glass knobs from Omega Too (omegatoo.com) match the originals.
The new natural palette links the indoors with the outdoors. Wall paint is Twisted Oak Path #226, and the sideboard is Cleveland Green #1525 (both from benjaminmoore.com).
Before, the kitchen had old-fashioned appliances and sparse storage. Furthermore, the room felt cut off from the rest of the house.
Besides adding (finally!) a dishwasher and a garbage disposal, the Pauleys upgraded other appliances (including a refrigerator
that opens, sensibly, toward the sink). They also introduced such innovations as concrete counters.
Using decorative serving platters, the Pauleys now keep kitchen items handy. “Before, we had to store some dishes in the basement,” says MaryJane, “and we had serving platters under our bed!”
To keep the kitchen from feeling too new, MaryJane installed era-appropriate fixtures and fittings (pendant lights from Omega Too, omegatoo.com; cabinet hardware from Belmont Hardware, 510/548-5757).
A new color palette softens the look. Creamy whites brighten the earth-toned Craftsman palette while greens keep it tied to nature. Cabinet paint is Acadia White #OC-38 (benjaminmoore.com); the island picks up the dining room’s Cleveland Green. In addition, glass tiles add subtle pops of color: Lucido in Coal, Ivory, and Chalk, plus Satinato in Papyrus (all from italics-stone.com).
The breakfast table—its top is salvaged madrone—triples as a prep station and a desk for doing homework. Bonus: One end of the table has three drawers for still more storage.