An interior designer puts the labor of love into her 1900's Craftsman home.
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A Labor of Love
It's safe to say that interior designer Brett Folken and her husband took a leap of faith when they bought their 1900's Craftsman home in California's Bay Area. The pair didn't even see the space in person before putting in an offer, but Folken had a feeling that it was the one.
"We wanted a house that had good bones, but that we could make completely our own and that's what this house was. The possibilities were endless," Folken explains.
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Before the Remodel
"I think the house scared away a lot of people because of the overall poor condition and the level of work that needed to be done. It definitely was a huge undertaking, but I knew it was exactly what we were looking for," says Folken.
Though there was no denying the amount of work the house needed, Folken wanted to keep its beautiful bones intact. From the custom built-ins and crown moulding to the wood columns and ceiling beams, much of the home's vintage charm was preserved while still being modernized to fit the world today.
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Folken brought light to the dining room by painting the old built-in and wooden wall panels white, adding farmhouse pendant lights over the table, new hardware to the cabinetry, and of course, a fresh bouquet of flowers to put the finishing touches on the bright new space.
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Before it was touched, the small, dilapidated kitchen was an unfortunate shade of blue, crumbling under years of neglect.
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The Eye-Catching Kitchen Transformation
The once cramped, unattractive kitchen is now completely unrecognizable from before. By removing the wall and doorway, Folken opened up the space, allowing light to flow in from around the house. The counter that once sat against the wall became a built-in eating area decorated with simple, industrial pendants and a pair of wooden barstools. Open shelving and clean, neutral colors make it an ideal space to cook and spend time in.
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The living room is an example of Folken's effort to make her new space both meaningful and functional. "In our home, my aim was to keep things simple, but significant," she says. Mixing a minimalist aesthetic with a hint of midcentury, California style, Folken crafted a well-curated space that represents her lifestyle and seamlessly blends the old with the new.
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Folken knocked down a few walls to make the house feel more spacious and open, but she still maintained a sense of coziness by designing separate nooks throughout the home, like this little office area that connects to the living room.
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Even the bathrooms got the royal design treatment. The same dark wood, brass hardware details and navy blue accents that carry through the rest of the space were used in one of the house's bathrooms.
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In terms of how she hoped their new home would feel, Folken explains, "I wanted to incorporate only things that brought us joy or served some kind of purpose even if that meant less stuff. My goal with the layout was to have everything flow seamlessly and to maximize the amount of natural light in the home to really create that breathable, airy feeling."
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A Happy Home
Though Folken found that designing a space for herself was a much more difficult endeavor than designing for a client, the renovation proved that no matter how long it takes or how hard the process, a labor of love is always worth it.