When it came to their home, Grady and Amy Burnett wanted to have it both ways: They desired a house that was not only family friendly (the brood includes Sydney. 7; Evan. 5; and Miles. 8 months) but also elegant enough for grown-up entertaining. When a larger ranch house with a bigger yard went up for sale on their tree-lined street in Menlo Park, the couple jumped at the chance to embark on their first major remodel and create a home to fit their vision.
Although the house was anything but decrepit, its dark wood floors, low ceilings, walnut-stained cabinetry and white ceramic tile, complete with wide grout lines, needed a serious nip and tuck.
“Because of Grady’s job. we had moved seven times in 10 years of marriage, so no house ever felt permanent.” says Amy. “But this one did. and it was the first one I cared about.”
Architect Steve Borlik helped the couple design a more open space with higher ceilings and a new second story that houses a playroom. “We made a decision to keep the feel of ranch-style living.” says Amy. “We wanted the bedrooms and the living areas to be on the first floor.”
Interior designer Martha Angus and her associate. Mead Webster, concentrated on the finishes, fixtures and furnishings. “We were looking for something that was not too traditional and stodgy, and not too stark and
modern ~ says Amy. “We wanted a home that was comfortably in the middle.”
A print by Polly Apfelbaum hangs over the new fireplace – which replaced a traditional molding-laden mantel. “I have clients say that they don’t want to buy prints,” sais interior designer Martha Angus, “But, in the words of gallery owner Gretchen Berggruen, it’s better to buy a great print, than a bad painting. Her father-inlaw, Heinz Berggeruen, was an early collector of prints, and over time they cam to be worth millons.”
“I have a philosophy about color: I like to create a shell, where the floor, the walls and the window coverings are one color. This makes the art, which I think is the most important thing, really stand out,” says Martha Angus. “Here, we matched the color of the carpet, drapes and walls to the Portuguese Limestone tiles, that cover the living room floor. It’s almost a greige.” The space gets a hit of glam from the glimmer of a mirrored coffee table and metallic lamps, along with stools with zebra print seats.
Design Tip from Martha Angus
Dress Up a Mass-Market Chair
The custom sofa in the living room is an expensive item, but the charcoal-colored chairs are from CB2 and retail for $599. “I have these chairs in my own home, and they are absolutely gorgeous. Why would you pay more?” Angus Says. “I love the mix of high and low – it’s like wearing Gap with Jil Sander.”
Bedroom from Martha Angus
The previous kitchen, located where the family room now stands, was much darker than the new light and white version, where Miles has breakfast One of Angus’ ideas was to install glass backed cabinets on either side of the
refrigerator and freezer. It is a great place to display Amy’s collection of white pottery and a way to add light to an otherwise windowless room “I saw these kinds of shelves years ago at a resort.” Angus says “I’ve been waiting for the right project so I could use them”.