an unbelievable before-and-after home makeover
A traditional Victorian townhouse gets an unbelievable makeover.
Published Aug 17, 2015 5:00 AM
Inside a Stunning San Francisco Home Remodel
When Homepolish designer, Annouchka Engel and husband David, moved into their San Francisco home, a remodel was the first thing on their list. The traditional townhouse, in typical Victorian fashion, featured a narrow layout with small boxed-in rooms. With months of planning (plus a few more for a thorough demo) the couple set out to create an open and more welcoming space, while preserving the original character of the house.
B y Anna Kocharian Design by Homepolish Interior Designer Annouchka Engel Photography by Lauren Edith Andersen
How would you describe the overall aesthetic of the home?
Parisian Whimsical, which is also my general aesthetic. Not taking design too seriously and taking some risks.
What makes a home beautiful?
Making it personal. Having personal artifacts, photos, and decorative objects collected over time, which gives you a feeling of warmth and thoughtfulness throughout a space.
What was the inspiration behind the remodel?
My inspiration with the aesthetic of the house started with the custom Trove Peony wallpaper going up the staircase. I knew I really wanted that in place before we even bought the house. Since the peonies were a soft pink I wanted to play up the pink and grey color scheme without making it girly, after all there is a burly 6’3″ man living here. The floors were also a priority. I’ve always loved Chevron floors and they are a staple in Europe (where I’m from) and wanted a piece of home. Lastly, I thought it was very important to maintain and enhance the bones of the historical Victorian house, which this is, and not bulldoze through it all to make it completely modern. It was about modernizing a Victorian, yet keeping the soul of the house.
What is one thing you scrimped on when it came to the decor?
I definitely went hight-low in the kitchen, where we scrimped on IKEA cabinets but went high-end with the appliances.
What did you splurge on?
I definitely splurged on the Marco Zanuso armchairs in the library. We got them from a lovely Italian antiques dealer in London and had them crated to San Francisco. The other item I splurged on was the Trove Peony wallpaper going up the staircase. I started with that as the design idea for the entrance and built around it.
How were you able to seamlessly integrate both your and your husband’s style into one aesthetic?
He trusts me immensely when it comes to our homes and has learned that less interfering is always better. Also he’s a little color blind so that helps! He was a bit nervous about the pink dining room but now says it’s one of his favorite rooms, because it gives off such a nice glow during dinner parties.
What’s your favorite spot in the home?
I would say sitting in the TV room, looking out at the garden. The room color is so soothing and seeing the green of the garden always relaxes me. My husband loves our bedroom, he loves the light that comes through and the calming palette.
What’s one thing you learned from this remodel?
That the old adage “proper preparation prevents poor performance” is entirely accurate. To prevent delays and make sure we were able to move in on time the many months of planning were crucial. There is no sense in demo-ing if you don’t have the plumber or electrician lined up right away. Same goes with ordering materials and lead-times, you have to make sure you have everything on hand so the workers can keep moving at a good pace. It’s also really important if you want to have a project stay on time to be flexible with materials. If something if unavailable or there is a long lead-time it’s always good to have a plan B and C. Having a flexible and trouble-shooting contractor is also invaluable.