Nestled in a grove of redwood trees, an old Georgian Revival house gets a colorful, family-friendly update while its rich history is preserved.
A couple’s search for a new family home led to an old Georgian Revival house that was once part of an estate built by William Kent, an early conservationist for whom the town of Kentfield, California is named. In the early 1900s, the California congressman and civic leader donated hundreds of acres of redwood forests in Marin County to the United States government, establishing Muir Woods National Monument (named for Kent’s friend and famous naturalist John Muir).
The house sits on about 1½ acres of level land at the base of Mount Tamalpais, a Marin County landmark and mountain-biking mecca. The 1890s house, however, was showing its age. Rooms had been added over the years, making for an awkward layout.
Enter Wendy Posard, a Marin County architectural and interior designer, who combines a love of history and classical architecture with an understanding of the needs of today’s families. “Our first on-site meeting was to discuss how we could preserve the historical elements of the original home while really opening up the plan for informal gracious living,” Posard says.
The structure was taken down to its foundation, and within the year, a new 6,000-square-foot Georgian Colonial replaced it. But the new home took more than design inspiration from the original. Much of the old-growth redwood used for framing the old house was re-milled and used in building the new structure. The contractor painstakingly removed and reassembled each piece of trim from the original front entry, which is now the home’s back door.
Interiors are trimmed with elegant crown molding, coffered ceilings, and tongue-and-groove plank walls and ceilings. The floor plan is a nod to formal design, with a dining room and living room on either side of the center staircase foyer. But a casual attitude quickly takes over, thanks to an abundance of sunshine, multiple views to the outdoors, a layout that puts the kitchen in control, and an upbeat blue, white, and lemon yellow palette.
Moroccan-style ottomans covered in bright fabrics were found in the West Hollywood design district.
A sunny palette takes an energetic spin in the dining room. Posard papered the walls with a lemon yellow grass cloth and laid down a graphic yellow-and-white area rug.
The wall covering from Phillip Jeffries and rug from The Rug Company turn up the energy in the formal dining room, which opens to a front terrace. The oil-rubbed bronze chandelier is from Rose Tarlow, and the draperies are a Rogers & Goffigon linen.
The family eats most meals in the window-lined breakfast room at a 10-foot-long double pedestal farm table with chairs slipcovered in a mix of four patterns in easy-care, indoor-outdoor fabric. Family dog Bones keeps an eye on the dining, draping his paws over the breakfast room’s double Dutch doors to peer inside.
Oversized white-lacquered conical light fixtures with brass interiors from Circa add a modern touch. Easy-care all-weather Perennials fabric was used to slipcover the chairs.
Soothing greens, blues, and creams in the bedroom create a peaceful reverie. A tufted settee at the foot of the bed adds a touch of traditional among the patterned fabrics at the bed and chair.