Our California dream home: bringing the Arts & Crafts to life | Life and style


When Jennifer Doebler and her husband Pat Kelly made the transfer from an condominium in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village to San Francisco they nonetheless wished to really feel as if they have been on the centre of issues. However in addition they wished a real household escape and a eternally home for themselves and their two daughters. They discovered a means of balancing their wants within the type of an Arts & Crafts residence in bustling Berkeley, simply throughout the Bay from San Francisco correct.

“The homes are cheek-to-jowl in Berkeley, however we now have a good-sized lot and a backyard that’s personal and delightful,” says Jennifer, who’s, alongside along with her husband, an govt on this planet of prescribed drugs. “We beloved the form of the home, the redwood, the home windows and the views, and we might image our household and our two women rising up very fortunately right here.”

The home itself was constructed with timber in 1915, in a mode identified within the US as American Craftsman, and nonetheless has a lot of its authentic options, together with the staircase and wall panelling. The household requested New York architects Studio Geiger to work on restoring the interval Arts & Crafts parts, in addition to on an improve on the foundations, earlier than turning to designer Roman Alonso of LA-based atelier Commune to work on the interiors.





Among the trees: the terrace where the family often spend time together.



Among the many bushes: the terrace the place the household usually spend time collectively. {Photograph}: Richard Powers

“We had admired Roman’s work for a very long time, so we have been very excited to work with him on our residence,” says Jennifer. “It wasn’t nearly getting it achieved. It was all concerning the course of for us, so we have been very concerned and Roman was very affected person. It was a whole lot of enjoyable.”

Alonso additionally embraced the unique Craftsman, chalet-style aesthetic, with its sense of heat and chic proportions for the rooms. The home has landmark standing, which meant a light-weight contact all through and limits on any main adjustments, which was a problem when it got here to the precedence of introducing extra pure mild into the home. Alonso’s answer was a set of photo voltaic tubes that discreetly pump extra sunshine into the doorway hallway and stairway.

“We additionally used some outdated tips to usher in extra mild,” says Alonso, “like lining glass cupboards with mirrors, and utilizing metallic wallpapers and reflective finishes.”

Jennifer and Pat wished the interiors and furnishings to be of the very best high quality, however they didn’t need the rooms to really feel fussy or pretentious. “At our first assembly, as we sat in the lounge, Jennifer instructed me: ‘I would like my daughters to have the ability to do their homework and get married on this room.”’





Getting cosy: the master bedroom, with furniture by Commune and Henribuilt, and a rug by Christopher Farr.



Getting cosy: the master suite, with furnishings by Commune and Henribuilt, and a rug by Christopher Farr. {Photograph}: Richard Powers

Alonso and his purchasers shared a mutual love for the work of Viennese architect Josef Hoffmann, one of many pioneers of early Modernist design, and a ardour for midcentury Scandinavian model – each of which fed into the design course of. The generously scaled lounge – or “nice room” – is blessed with a big run of home windows and superbly detailed timber panelling, in addition to a brick fire.

Right here, Alonso designed customized storage cupboards, together with one to cover the tv and stereo, and for the low shelf that runs below one window he used brass detailing, which helps to maintain the daylight circulating. The snug sofas are additionally bespoke Commune items, forming a few of the 90% or so of recent and customized designs introduced into the home, along with a couple of refurbished treasures transported from the outdated condominium in Manhattan.

The big formal eating room was lovingly restored, utilizing some tips of the sunshine, as was the grand staircase. Right here, Jennifer and Pat selected a line from Dante’s Divine Comedy, which interprets as “halfway alongside the stroll of life’” to brighten the unique frieze line between the redwood panelling and the ceiling. This band of blue with gold lettering is echoed by the blues used on the ceiling panels within the entrance corridor on the foot of the staircase.





Light touch: the kitchen floor is custom painted in Farrow & Ball paints.



Mild contact: the kitchen flooring is customized painted in Farrow & Ball paints. {Photograph}: Richard Powers

Behind the home, Jennifer, Pat and their designer opted for a really totally different therapy. The kitchen and “mud room” (entrance space) provided the proper alternative to inject extra in the way in which of color into the home, with a customized geometric sample painted on the flooring and an attention-grabbing Vivienne Westwood wallpaper.

“The kitchen, breakfast room and dust room have been meant to really feel a lot lighter and brighter,” says Alonso. “The wooden panelling in these areas had both been eliminated or painted over years in the past, so it made it attainable to maximise the brightness by the usage of paint. The intention was to have some distinction between these extra utilitarian however cheerful areas and the extra formal rooms.”

A set of balconies, terraces and pergolas affords a selection of outside rooms and fresh-air areas, lifted by the inexperienced backdrop of the gardens. Full of heat and welcome, the home is a real haven by the Bay.

“It actually met all of our intentions,” says Jennifer. “Dwelling in such a harmonious setting, even with the litter of two youngsters and two canine – actually lifts your spirit and your temper. It’s not about perfection, however the workings of magnificence in your life.”

For extra info go to commune design.com. This home seems in The Iconic Inside by Dominic Bradbury and Richard Powers, printed by Thames & Hudson at £24.95. Purchase a duplicate for £20.96 at guardianbookshop.com.



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