After my clients bought a sweet 1920s classic California Spanish bungalow in the Rose Garden area of San Jose, they came to me for some design guidance. We toured the empty house and I asked them what their style direction was and what they were thinking of doing. The heavily ornate, dark wood moulding and trim is original to the house and I naturally assumed that they would want to keep them.
But I was thrilled when they identified themselves as modernists, liking clean lines and a lighter color palette. So we chose a strong white for all the dark trim and a warm neutral for the walls. With that canvas, we began layering on contemporary furnishings but with a sense of luxury that still feels traditional enough to sit in such an historic house. Remember Design Mantra #1 (at right): Contrast brings interest. And modern lines next to the arched windows and elaborate moulding from the early part of the last century is a wonderful juxtaposition.
Custom drapes in a plum-colored Kasmir fabric set the tone for the color palette in the living room. Sumptuous ripplefold panels hang from a ceiling mounted Architrac allowing the full height of the arched window to be enjoyed from inside. The fireplace received a coat of a slate blue color from Kelly Moore. A comfortable sofa with mid-century lines plays nicely with a custom ottoman and a custom rug from Dalyn. And finally, discreetly presiding over it all, the Re ceiling light from Visual Comfort offers a bit of elegance without being fussy.
With white trim, the dining room feels larger, lighter, airier. Custom drapes in a Kasmir fabric hang from Robert Allen drapery hardware. The rough teak pearl finished top contrasts beautifully with the gleaming stainless steel base on the Bernhardt dining table. And the Ziyi chandelier from Visual Comfort adds stately drama.