Jillian Harris had three requirements when she was house hunting: It needed to be sunny, have hardwood floors and be in the style of 1920s Spanish architecture
After searching for a year and a half, she decided on this 1927 Spanish colonial revival, which met her criteria but fell short in other areas. She called on her friend of 30 years, interior designer Alison Kandler, to make the small two-bedroom, one-bath starter home more comfortable without losing any of the old-cottage charm.
A Kitchen With Character
When Jillian moved into her home, it still had the original tiny 1927 kitchen that lacked modern appliances.
“The floor plan made no sense,” Jillian says. “I always wanted Spanish tiles and white cabinets. The backsplash tiles are terracotta and avocado green now.” Jillian also wanted the space to look brighter and more open, so the room’s single door was replaced with French doors.
Kandler and architect Joan Swartz took a creative approach to the room’s layout.
“We made it into a lovely open space with a breakfast area, range and dishwasher,” Kandler says. “We took down walls and added French doors. We left the original windows on the wall above the sink because they are so cute.”
The kitchen cabinets are in the style of an old cottage, with flush-frame inset doors and crown molding. For an authentic vintage look, the designer added a farmhouse sink and an exposed plumbing faucet called a bridge faucet. The pendant lighting fixtures are high-quality reproductions, and all of the accessories and furniture are vintage.
“Since we took part of the house apart, we repurposed some of the doors, including one in the kitchen that had been in the laundry room,” Kandler says. “We painted the walls a softer version of the green tile that’s in the backsplash.”
The renovated and redecorated bath is now bright white with periwinkle subway tile. There’s a Spanish vibe that complements the new work in the kitchen, helping add to the home’s cohesive all-over design.
“The previous owner had taken charm out,” Kandler says. “It was a dark and depressing room.” Jillian says the room had a “horrible 1970s style. It had a tiny toilet in a crevice.”
Jillian found it easy to add her personal touch to every room in the house, thanks to her passion for flea market shopping.
“Through Alison, I found a love of fleas,” Jillian says. “The prices are really good and you can negotiate. I didn’t want to just go to a store and get matched sets.”
A large mirror in the master bedroom is a reflection of the friends’ relationship. “I had it in my home, but I thought it would look great in Jillian’s bedroom, so I gave it to her,” Kandler says.
Dreams Do Come True
As a result of the two friends’ collaboration, Jillian now has the home she always wanted.
“I always have a creative vibe in the house,” she says. “The previous owner was creative and I’m an art director. Everything in it makes me happy.”
Her friend notes that the house has evolved as Jillian’s life has, and will continue to evolve.
“Jillian has a lot of parties there, and I go to them,” Kandler says. “It’s a very romantic house at night and a very comfortable house during the day. I think she’ll be there forever.”
The full version of this article appeared on pages 54-69 of the June/July 2015 issue of Cottages & Bungalows (Vol. 9, Issue 3) with the title “New Old-Cottage Charm.”