before and after: updating

there is always a question of how far to go in any renovation-- and in collaboration with my clients i try to walk the line as carefully as i am able.  when a house, like this one, was carefully designed in a particular era with particular design details, it becomes even more difficult to find the right balance between updating so that the house will easily move forward into the future,  and losing important details that tell us its history.

a 1939 house, updated in 2003-- many of the surfaces were worn, some of them very much outdated.  in many ways this house had become an ugly duckling.  for this renovation we: put grasscloth over the dark-stained plywood veneer walls, which instantly brought the house up from being dark and worn to being light and sophisticated; painted the  dark built-ins a chalky-gray/white, which lightened and brightened and defined the woodwork without making while keeping a clean, modern feeling; replaced rotted windows with new full-glass doors to give direct access to the deck outside; and updated the hardware everywhere-- to give the rooms a freshness that is now undated.  this room is still contemporary, but now it has a beautiful wine rack, and it better sets off the walnut table made by the home owner's great-grandfather.

small things were lost along the way-- many of the definite mid-century details-- but the house has been given a new life that will carry it a long way into the future.  and yet i still wonder if we made all the right choices--


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