A creative update preserves the character of a great 1930s Oakland home
When some house hunters hear about a 1930s structure that hasn’t been updated since, well, the 1930s, they think, Demo. But
Jamie and Jeremy Kidson were looking for a home with a story.
To the couple, owners of the popular Bay Area stores Atomic Garden and Jeremys, it was important not only to retain the home’s history but also to tread lightly on the Earth. The Kidsons, who have two daughters, chose to do what they call “a preservation” rather than a full-on remodel.
“The patina and wear patterns are things we love about this house,” says Jeremy. And, with the exception of the kitchen and bathroom plumbing, most of the house was in good shape.
Click ahead to see what they did with it.
A wall between this area and the butler’s pantry was removed to provide access to dishes and pantry goods, and open up the cramped space.
Family meals take place at this table. They serve formal meals in separate dining room.
Seating: The Kidsons found these steel “1934” chairs in the Sundance Catalog ($245 each).
Here, the cabinets were replaced using the same footprint; the countertops and walls were resurfaced, appliances updated,
and plumbing revamped.
To maintain the integrity of the house, the Kidsons had the walls repaired with plaster, not drywall.
Island added: It increases counter space and allows for a prep sink beyond the main farmhouse sink.
Cabinet doors subtracted: “If a door’s closed,” says Jamie, “I have a tendency to forget things are there.”
The kids like to do homework on the new zinc table-top; during parties, it’s a handy spot for aperitifs.
Aside from a coat of paint, the living room is as it’s been for nearly 80 years. Even the chandeliers are original―no rewiring
The patina of the floors are Jeremy’s favorite detail. “Those nicks and scratches represent something,” he says. “You can’t replicate that.”
1930s-style camp chairs: UO Lux Leather Butterfly Chair from Urban Outfitters are similar ($248 each).
Textiles: Jamie found most of her old kilim and sumak rugs and Peruvian awayu shawls on eBay.
The reclaimed redwood canopy here was designed to mimic the wood rafters in the house.
The Kidsons tried to recycle everything they could (even old fence boards, which found a new purpose as walls for the chicken coop).
The original light fixtures had to be discarded, but the Kidsons installed replicas custom-made by a local blacksmith.
The dilapidated carpeting was also replaced; the room felt too cavernous without carpeting underfoot.
Bed: The custom design from Brindisiamo, in Sonoma, echoes the room’s fixtures.
All the surfaces and fixtures are original. The couple had the metal rechromed and the plumbing restored piece by piece.
“Some things were really hard to get parts for,” says Jeremy. “The first few plumbers who showed up just shook their heads.”
Before searching eBay, the Kidsons asked the phone company what would have been installed circa 1930.
Similar antique Talavera- style tiles are available through Tierra y Fuego.
Similar knobs from Omega Too. Also try Rejuvenation in Portland and Seattle.