All Images: Courtesy of Sunset (unless otherwise noted).
With the help of interior designer Lynn K. Leonidas , our custom Color-It Tool and classic square tile, Sunset Magazine Editor-in-Chief Irene Edwards transformed her 1878 Victorian kitchen into a storied retreat. With tile that goes ceiling high, we couldn't be more in love with this kitchen and all its thoughtful details. We're sharing more about Irene and Lynn, as well as this beautiful home below. For more on this remodel, head to Sunset.
This is Irene (left) and Lynn (right):
Here's a bit about Irene:
My style can be described as…Magpie collector in the making.
My design philosophy is…Surround yourselves with meaningful objects that tell you a story.
I find inspiration in…A really beautiful garden.
I can't live without…The people I love most.
My best design advice would be…Work with someone who can apply order and reason to your eclectic tastes.
I love tile because…It completely transforms a space in ways that range from subtle to showstopper.
And a bit about Lynn:
My style can be described as…Pretty neutral and classic. I am influenced by historical architecture and prefer to use all natural materials.
My design philosophy is…Honor the architecture of the building. I also work to bring the history and heritage of furnishings into my client's vocabulary to hopefully incite passion into the homeowner's life for what I appreciate so much.
I find inspiration in…Art, museums--I like to see what the people are doing outside of my industry.
I can't live without…Sitting in the sunlight in my work studio.
My best design advice would be…Invest in the things that you love. And when it comes to budget, buy the thing you love the most and budget around it.
I love tile because…It is a beautiful and easy way to make a statement in the design.
Can you tell me about the house? Is there a story behind it you'd like to share?
Irene: Four days after we first moved to California, my husband went to an estate sale and met the lady who would sell us our home. From the moment I first stepped inside it, I knew it was special. The scale of the rooms, the original detail—even through all the layers of floral wallpaper and the ancient kitchen and so on, it was obvious that this was going to be a wonderful family home. Luckily, we had no idea how incredibly stressful a gut remodel of a 140-year-old home would be. Or else we would never have done it! The real blessing was in being able to showcase all the ideas along the way to the Sunset audience. Just like any magazine editor, what makes me happiest is to share something I love with those I’m writing for.
What did you want to change?
Irene: Structurally the house was sound, although we did have to replace the roof (and found an extremely unpleasant rampant rat situation in the attic. Hazmat suits were required). Our goal was to preserve as much as possible—the original oak floors, solid wood interior doors, windows with old glass, and obviously all the molding and ornate detailing. But some rooms that saw more recent changes, like the kitchen and bathrooms, pretty much required starting over.
What type of look or aesthetic were you going for?
Irene: I don’t know if I ever quantified it to myself as such. I knew I had eclectic tastes and a lot of vintage and antique furnishings and items that Jason and I collected at auction, at flea markets, church rummage sales, you name it. But I also loved toile wallpaper and had a collection of contemporary fashion photography. Lynn’s genius came in making it all work together.
Lynn: I wanted it to feel like it could be original to the house but updated.
How did you and Lynn come up with your color scheme and design for the kitchen?
Irene: My wardrobe has a lot of creams, blushes, and grays, and I have gravitated to those colors long before they became so Pinterested. It was natural that they found their way into my interior, with dark trim to tie everything together. The palette really comes to life in the kitchen, with its two-tone cabinetry and 11-foot ceilings. From the start I’d been adamant that I wanted the cabinetry to go all the way up to the top; a library ladder, which I’d always yearned for, provided easy access to top storage. The adjacent breakfast room is home to our main sink and my favorite tile moment in the house.
Lynn: Irene had a lot of inspiration images with two tone color palettes and glass front cabinetry, so we went through her wish list to put together cohesive ideas. For the colors, all the shades are very creamy and subtle. Irene was very adventurous and was open to having all the walls in her home blush pink, so we continued this theme in the kitchen with the Shell square tiles.
Tile Shown: 3x3 tiles in Shell
Why did you choose to go with the handpainted pattern, Winter Mountain?
Irene: The curves of the pattern feel organic and sensuous, and honestly it just felt right with the home’s vibe. Very elegant yet friendly. And the hues express my home’s entire palette in one lovely package.
Lynn: It was going in a space where there would be no cooking and it is a part of the kitchen that we wanted to make really special. The Winter Mountain tile is in the breakfast room, which is separate from the main kitchen.
Lynn and Irene went for a custom colorway (using our Color-It Tool) of our Winter Mountain handpainted tiles, to draw more on the blush tones of the other walls. Below is our standard Neutral Motif:
Tile Shown: Winter Mountain in Neutral Motif
How about the square tile?
Irene: This subtle beauty catches the light in the most stunning way. I absolutely love its elusive hue and the way its shape feels so fresh. The tile covers such a large area of the room, so it really has an opulent effect in a low-key way.
Lynn: We chose Shell 3x3 tiles to go from floor to ceiling to reference a classic kitchen that has no sheet rock.
Tile Shown: 3x3 tiles in Shell
Image: Lynn K. Leonidas
How did the installation process go? Did you face any challenges?
Irene: I am not entirely sure that Winter Mountain was originally meant to be installed in that manner. But honestly, now I can’t imagine it any other way—I love looking at it when I wash up and thinking about how it was made.
Image: Lynn K. Leonidas
Here's one to you Lynn, what colors/shapes?
I really want to use Hexite in Carbon.
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