There’s something to be said for nostalgia — but sometimes, we just want a fresh start. So when a young Bay Area family approached designer Cathie Hong to help renovate Mom’s childhood home, Hong stepped up to bring them the best of both worlds with a fresh, modern space that embraced both contemporary aesthetics and the neighborhood’s enduring appeal.
SAN FRANSISCO GLASS HOUSE, A CATHIE HONG INTERIOR DESIGN, OCT. 2021
The two-storey home was stripped down to the studs and rebuilt as a three-level modernist “forever home.” “They wanted it to feel zen and calm and clean and minimal,” says Hong. Mission accomplished: with huge windows overlooking the Bay Area, the serene, modern home, decked out in a neutral palette and quietly luxurious materials, is bathed in light from dawn to dusk.
In the kitchen, Hong installed slim, three-quarter-inch shaker-style cabinets in a warm, white finish. “Bringing in a hint of those traditional elements keeps it from feeling super cold,” says the designer. A unique Hollis and Morris light fixture hangs above the extra-long, marble-topped island — the brass here ties into the chic California Faucet sink fixtures and Rejuvenation cabinets handles. Handmade square tiles neatly line the backsplash and bring in a layer of texture.
Tying it together is what Hong calls “the perfect blonde oak” — BREVIK floors, part of CRAFT’s Contempa Collection. Against a palette of whites and greys, the fresh, modern wood tone warms everything up.
The wire-brushed, ultra durable BREVIK flooring is made with 100-percent sustainable American White Oak and a Spruce solid-sawn core. With Greenguard Gold certification, these Red List Free floors ensure a healthy living environmentwith excellent indoor air quality.
The homeowners actually already had flooring picked out when they brought Hong on board, though they admitted to the designer that they weren’t completely satisfied with their pick. To Hong, that hesitancy meant that the option wasn’t right, so she pulled out some Craft samples from a previous project for consideration instead. After all, as she points out, flooring is an intrinsic part of the home’s overall design, and to settle for a product with awkward lengths, lower grade or not-quite-right color would be doing the whole project a disservice.
When the homeowners got a chance to see and touch the quality Brevik samples Hong shared, it was true love. “They immediately said, this is the one,” she laughs. (She can relate: she’s installing the very same flooring in her personal home renovation, set to wrap in 2022.) Even though they lost their deposit on the initial pick, they were thrilled to change courses to “the perfect blonde oak.”
It’s a floor that will last this home a lifetime. “With three little kids, the homeowners were looking for something that would be durable and that they wouldn’t have to replace,” says Hong.
Hong chose to mix in 25-percent 10-foot LongCRAFT boards for the open-concept living-dining-kitchen area, a must for elongating sight-lines and reducing seams.
A custom oak vanity in the ensuite plays off the warm wood of the floor; Juniper Lighting sconces illuminate the room, flanking the black-rimmed mirror. Over in the homeowner’s bedroom, a sliding door leads right onto the balcony to offer instant access to even more California views. The stairwell, meanwhile, pulls in ample light through oversized windows.
While the BREVIK floors run through the majority of the home, the walk-in wet room is an exception. Featuring large-format, concrete-inspired porcelain tile from floor to ceiling, it’s a light-drenched space where the homeowners can have a soak while soaking up the view. (Tinted windows flick on and off for privacy.)
It’s just another incredible moment in a contemporary and elegant space that bears almost no resemblance to the original — and yet, continues to feel just like home.
Behind the scenes in the making a CRAFT BREVIK floor:
BREVIK starts from North American White Oak lumber. White Oak is the most sought-after of the oaks due to its high degree of stability, and a versatility that is unparalleled by any other wood species. White Oak is loved for its grain patterns and consistent cream to light beige colour.
Planks are hand-graded CRAFT Premium Grade wood that features lots of clear space and has just enough natural character in the form of sound knots to portray the authenticity of real wood.
CRAFT Artisans then put BREVIK through a multi-step, specialized colour treatment process to create a natural tone without changing the underlying wood’s inherent beauty. With its sophisticated clear grade and subtle staining, BREVIK is the epitome of a light and natural floor.
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