September 8, 2014
The fate of a 1905-dated Queen Victorian in Palo Alto, Calif., changed when designer Lindsay Chambers and Young & Borlik Architecture stepped in. Originally a classic single-family home, the house went into disrepair in the 50s when it was illegally split into four rental units.
“The landlord literally started throwing up walls,” said Chambers. “Everything was just very awkward.”
Keeping the exterior essentially the same, the developer gutted the entire home, and a functional single-family layout was created within the same footprint. Chambers came to the blank slate of a home aiming to design a space that would sell in the tech central hub of the city.
“Even though you would think people want ultra-modern houses in this area, traditional homes actually sell a lot better,” she explained. “The developer asked for a traditional home, but I wanted to do something updated with a fresh feel.”
In the kitchen, Chambers began with traditional Shaker cabinetry and an off-white palette.
“The inspiration was really just something that was very pleasing and could be a warm and inviting space,” she said. A soft gray paint backs the cabinets and a gray and white stone tile lines the backsplash. Above the kitchen sink, lead detailing in the window mimics the original design in the front of the home.
Bronze hardware mixes up the traditional design. “For the concept, yes, the white kitchen appeals to everybody, but let’s make it interesting and warm and give it a little bit of sass with the bronze accents,” said Chambers. Two bronze pendants over the peninsula add a hint of an industrial aesthetic.
The peninsula offers elements modern families in the area might look for. Along with a wine fridge, the peninsula holds a built-in cappuccino maker. “Palo Altos do love their coffee,” commented Chambers. Beneath, darker hardwood floors contrast the white palette. “They’re more of a medium hardwood, and it’s still rich and warm enough to allow the whole kitchen to pop,” she added.
Chambers approached the master bathroom similarly. She designed a transitional appeal with a quarter-sawn walnut vanity. Finished with just a clear coat on top, vanity boasts a vivid wood grain.
“If you walk into a house of walnut floors with heels, you’ll have ding marks all over it, but it works for a cabinet,” she said. “Walnut is just a really gorgeous wood on its own.”
A white marble countertop, subtly lined with green and gray accents, keeps the bathroom from being too busy. The tub deck is made of the same material as the countertop.
“I like the master bathroom to feel like you’re going into a spa,” said Chambers. “That’s why the tile is all the way up to the ceiling – you can get water everywhere in there and it wouldn’t matter.”
Made of soft green, Moroccan-style tile, the wall complements the green accents in the marble and gives the bathroom its twist. By lining this tile all the way up to the ceiling and combining the bath and shower, Chambers overcame the tight footprint.
“You want it to feel luxurious, but I didn’t have much room to work with,” she said. “It’s all about having a smart layout.”
Viking and Miele appliances
Backsplash: Ann Sacks stone mosaic
Countertop: Caesarstone Lagos Azul
Circa Lighting Eugene pendant lights
Sink Faucet: Rohl Side Lever Pull Out/Pull Down Kitchen Faucet in oil rubbed bronze
Oil Rubbed Bronze Hardware
Walker Zanger Calucatta Marble countertop
Walker Zanger porcelain morrocan tile
Plumbing Fixtures from Newport Brass & Hansgrohe
Pendant Lights: Tech Lighting Clark Pendant
Cabinets: Shaker, Quartersawn walnut with a clear coat