White paint, bright accents, and a whole lot of windows helped a neglected farmhouse see the light
It’s airy and idyllic now, but five years ago, this 1910 farmhouse was—well—downright dirty. When Christopher and Lisi Dean and their three children first laid eyes on it, the rickety 2,023-square-foot house had low ceilings, a maze of wood-paneled rooms, and a strange smell. The piles of trash left inside had been cleared away, but the signs of neglect had not.
In short, this wasn’t the sort of place that inspires breathless sign-on-the-dotted-line love. Lisi hesitated at committing to the overhaul the home would need, but Chris, the offspring of architects, wasn’t deterred. “I grew up knocking down walls and I love it,” he says. “I knew the place had potential.” The San Francisco–based couple—he’s the CEO of a mobile marketing company and she’s a private wealth manager—had spent seven years looking for a second home in Sonoma’s West County. Chris convinced Lisi that this was it.
To tackle the renovation, the Deans tapped San Rafael-based architect Constance Treadwell and interior designer Allison Bloom, both friends of Lisi’s. “We thought, ‘What’s the quickest way to draw a line from the house’s seedy past to something pretty?’” says Bloom. “A total whitewash was the immediate idea.”