This Interior Designer Covered the Walls of Her Pasadena Home with Panel After Panel of Bold Wallpaper
"I'm such a huge fan of wallpaper and how it makes such an impact in each space," notes designer and homeowner Kirsten Blazek. "I try to go with patterns that enhance the design of a space without being overpowering."
When interior designer Kirsten Blazek (of A 1000x Better) and her family purchased a "traditional on the outside and dated on the inside" four-bedroom, three-bathroom house in the charming Linda Vista neighborhood of Pasadena, California—the home is located less than a block from the Arroyo overlooking the Rosebowl and Brookfield Golf Course—all Blazek saw was potential. "The house was previously owned by one family since it was custom-built for them in the mid-1940s," she tells us. "I loved that the home was a beautiful, classic California ranch house. The board and batten on the front exterior reminded me of the houses I loved in Ojai, California, which is one of my favorite towns."
With the help of contractor group Bayside Builders (who executed a remodel in under five months!), Blazek tackled the major elements of the renovation first; the kitchen was gutted and redesigned and ceilings were raised. "Afterwards, I started layering and adding things like light fixtures and wallpaper, which added extra charm and character to the home," she shares.
But before she worked in those finishing touches (the most impactful of which is undeniably the nuanced, bold wall coverings seen in virtually every room), she dreamed up a cohesive color story. "For this home, I started out by using Benjamin Moore's White Dove as our main shade and Black Fox as the trim for the windows," she says. "I tend to gravitate towards greens and earth tones and the colors I picked were a reflection of what was happening on the exterior of the home, which is surrounded by nature." Ahead, step inside this comfortable, nuanced space, which married mid-century pieces and maximalist patterns with contemporary black-and-white touches.
Board and Batten
"The board and batten front, reminiscent of homes in Ojai, inspired the entire vision," notes interior designer and homeowner Kirsten Blazek. "I wanted to revive the original character of the ranch-style home." A native garden, full of hardy plants that thrive in balmy Pasadena, add color and texture to the exterior.
The first of two living areas, the family room's ceiling was once not so high; raising it, notes Blazek, was a worthwhile endeavor. "The end result is so impactful and made the room feel so much bigger," she says. "I also love that we decided to clad the walls in tongue and groove paneling. It provides so much more depth and visual interest." A mid-century inspired fixture by Andrew Neyer nods to the overall ethos of the space; the sectional is from Article, the art was sourced from Mark Maggior, and the rug (including the rest of the floor coverings seen throughout the home) was purchased from Mehraban.
Wide Open Spaces
An open floor plan connects the family and dining rooms to the kitchen. "Originally, there were cabinets attached to the fireplace on one side and a corner bar on the window wall, with just a regular door opening to the kitchen," she shares. "We demolished that entire wall and opened up the space to create a great room that included the family room and kitchen—and also had enough space for a large dining table." Another statement fixture from local maker California Workshop defines this in-between entertaining area. "I love how this piece adds a simple yet unexpected touch to the dining room," adds Blazek.
Tons of Neutral Texture
Blazek covered the formal living room with Cole & Son wallpaper from the Fornasetti Collection. "I painted the original fireplace and then refaced it with Fireclay Tile in Black Brick," she says. "The room's design was centered around the heirloom art piece by Bill Gollings, which was passed down to my ex-partner from his mother. I knew I wanted the color palette to tie in nicely with the piece."
The primary suite's bathroom was once three separate spaces: a dressing room, toilet room, and shower, bath, and vanity nook. "We decided to open up the entire space to make one large bathroom," notes the designer. "We added an expansive vanity that wraps around the entire right side and offers tons of storage space." The dove-hued Caeserstone countertops pair nicely with the light wooden SemiHandmade cabinets; matte black plumbing fixtures from Kohler offer a touch of depth.
Green with Envy
A Kelly-green bedframe is the only splash of color in an otherwise neutral guest suite.
"Exterior spaces are just as important as interior spaces," affirms Blazek, who wanted to reconcile this outdoor dining and entertaining space with her established interior. The back porch is visibly from the family room and kitchen, thanks to the home's original large casement windows. "There were some pesky structural posts to furnish around, but I made it work. This is a great place to enjoy drinks or an al fresco meal."