A Noe Valley Victorian Gets a Stylish, Family-Friendly Upgrade



Homeowner Bonnie Smolins worked with friend and interior designer Regan Baker on her Noe Valley renovation.I collaborate closely with all my clients,” says interior designer Regan Baker, “but this project was special. From the beginning, it was a labor of love.” And, it quite literally, was: Baker and her client Bonnie Smolins first met when both were pregnant, and the fast friends went on to deliver just two months apart. Before long, Smolins had commissioned Baker to reconceptualize the Noe Valley house she shared with her husband and children, and both brought a similar vision to the project: a gut renovation with décor that is meticulously detailed yet feels bohemian. “Now, its stylishness belies how functional and family centric it all actually is,” says Smolins.

Baker’s interiors are intricate studies of a homeowner’s personality; so much so that a showhouse room she designed was once likened to one of Wes Anderson’s idiosyncratic film sets. She often comes up with her style concept after familiarizing herself with a client’s wardrobe, an approach particularly apropos in this case. “We have so many things in common,” says Baker of Smolins, “including a similar fashion sensibility.”

The pair sketched out every square inch of the building and discovered that the challenge with the 3,000-square-foot house was its hodgepodge of elements that likely dated back to its original 1906 construction. The main floor had three different ceiling heights (now all a uniform 9 feet, 4 inches), and the other two floors felt equally disjointed. They ultimately tore down every wall that wasn’t load bearing, and the home’s expansive feel is thanks to an inventive new floor plan—especially that of the loft-like first floor. Raised door heights also let in more light, as do additional windows and Bonelli folding glass doors that integrate a patio and kitchen and visually extend the master suite into the back garden. “Now there’s a flow on and between each floor that draws you in,” says Baker.

Pops of yellow enliven the master bedroom thanks to the Joybird bed and Anthropologie throw. Artwork includes sculpture by Matt Devine through Simon Breitbard Fine Arts, an oil painting by Andrew Lesko and photograph by Danielle Mourning.They stayed within the existing footprint and roof structure so the Victorian still feels true to period, but without being too literal. Apart from an occasional ceiling rosette, there’s no explicit acknowledgement of Victorian architecture. Instead, panels applied to the walls have a shadowy relief that brings to mind an even earlier period of French boiserie and serve as a veiled reference to Smolins’ Canadian heritage, as do the black-grouted subway tiles, with their distinctly bistro vibe, and wallpaper with a novel take on Toile de Jouy that depicts urban scenes instead of traditional pastoral landscapes. Throughout, lightly stained wood flooring in a chevron pattern is also reminiscent of Parisian hôtels particuliers.

By contrast, the relocated kitchen is sleek and streamlined. Outfitted with Caesarstone, walnut and stainless steel, it’s clean-lined and clutter free. “We even measured my kitchen gear to make sure it would fit into the new cabinetry,” says Smolins. Deep-seated sectional sofas, retro chairs and textural wood surfaces are chic and functional against vegetable-dyed rugs and delightful pops of color. Artwork by local photographers like Jessica Todd Harper, Parker Fitzgerald and Danielle Mourning is hung sparingly and adds a layer of drama, edge and nostalgia. “I tend to edit more and more,” says Baker. “I like to let the eye rest and savor things.” Smolins fully appreciates being the recipient of every carefully considered nuance. “Every time I walk through the front door, I breathe a sigh of relief,” she says. “This is my dream home and I did it all with my friend!”

A version of this article appeared in the September 2017 issue of SFC&G (San Francisco Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: A Confidante Redesign.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags

Architect Spotlight

Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Property of Note Listing

15 Kings Dock Road, Garrison, NY
Enjoy the best that the Hudson Valley has to offer at this 9-acre estate offering awe-inspiring vistas, stunning passive architecture and a unique private deep-water dock on the Hudson River. Sited to take full advantage of the amazing scenery, the three-bedroom residence is a triumph of modernist design featuring airy open-plan living spaces and vast window walls that dramatically frame the blissful water and mountain views. The setting, boasting ¼ mile of frontage along the river, also hosts a two-bedroom guest house, a striking Greek temple/playhouse overlooking the river and a detached garage.



View more details about 15 Kings Dock Road
Nautilus Architects
Christopher Arelt’s practice, Nautilus Architects, involves collaboration and interpretation, with each design evolving in its own way in response to the site, context and client. Chris’ work is seen as a continuation of but also a response to Modernism; or, more specifically, a return to regionalism and artistry, where clients’ projects are developed with the “head, hearts and hands” of all those involved. All of our buildings explore the use of natural light, reveal the inherent beauty of the materials being used, and bring the outdoors in.


Edit ModuleShow Tags

Architect Spotlight

Laura Kaehler Architects
Laura Kaehler Architects is an Award Winning Architectural Firm. Along with Laura Kaehler, AIA, we have a talented staff of 5 architects and designers who create new homes, renovations and additions and apartment renovations. Designing a smaller footprint while obtaining a "big look" with an open floor plan design, better craftsmanship and detailing and richer materials is what we call "Responsible Luxury" and is a key element of our design philosophy.

Laura Kaehler

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Designer Spotlight

Fiona Leonard Interiors
Fiona Leonard Interiors, LLC is a full service design firm that specializes in making a client’s home unique and custom tailored to the owners taste and lifestyle. Projects are personally supervised from initial consultation to installation. Strong relationships with carefully selected creative artisans, highly skilled craftsmen and subcontractors ensures that your project will be in good hands. With over 20 years experience working alongside well established design professionals in Connecticut and Manhattan, Fiona Leonard Interiors, LLC was established.Fiona designs interiors with a casual elegance and timeless approach. Inherent in all her work is Fiona’s passion to combine clean lines and an artistic use of color that is comfortable for the client and reflects their personal lifestyle.

Fiona Leonard Interiors

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Architect Spotlight

Daniel Conlon Architects
Wind and weather, the ebb and flow of the tide, changing color and light define the rhythm of coastal living. This recent home embraces the idea with light-filled spaces , expansive views , cozy niches, and outdoor living environments. Landscape terraces and stonework ground the building to the site, while respecting all current building codes. Daniel Conlon Architects, based in Wilton CT, has designed numerous waterfront homes throughout the Northeast.

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
 
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags