A rustic tin sign with the words “Kia-Ora,” a well-wishing Maori greeting, hangs over the front door to warmly welcome guests into this eclectically styled 1911 Craftsman home. Bought two years ago from a family that had lived in the house for over 40 years, “it was obvious that the house had a long history of haphazard renovations, yet I knew that the bones of the house were solid,” says Martin Scaia, homeowner and owner/operator of Green Island Builders.
Despite the home’s dated grass wallpaper, yellowing paint and tiny galley kitchen, Scaia and his partner, Pam Lewis, had a vision that would embrace the home’s rich history and quirky imperfections. Their intention was to uncover the interior’s hidden beauty to reveal its personality and celebrate its time-worn craftsmanship while accommodating plenty of breathing room for their family of six.
“We were inspired by the modern rustic movement that emphasizes what is essential, durable and has longevity,” says Scaia. In an age of Photoshop overuse and image filters, the couple wanted to celebrate instead of conceal imperfections, and created a home that highlights textures and stories in the materials. Scaia adds that they crafted a meaningful home that has become a reprieve from a world that demands us to be constantly technologically connected. The outcome is simple and sensorial, allowing the family to connect in more meaningful ways without the distraction and complexity of technological clutter.
Scaia worked within the existing footprint to revive the primary rooms on the main floor and make cosmetic changes to the remaining six bedrooms and three bathrooms. In their quest to create a focal point, without yielding to the ubiquitous open concept layout, Scaia kept the Craftsman proportions and bone structure intact while stripping the kitchen down to the studs to increase liveable space. He explains that the original kitchen had been reduced to a galley style, the wiring was inadequate, it had aged vinyl plank flooring and all of the original trim was gone. While maintaining their “what is essential” ethos, the new kitchen also needed to become the dwelling’s headquarters where they could prepare food, eat breakfast, do activities and homework and still have enough room for a chill-out area. But most importantly, it needed to be connected to the rest of house, so a large opening to the central hall was created.
Although the kitchen received the most carpentry attention, built-ins were thoughtfully installed in the living area. The dining room and vestibule required more cosmetic remedies like plaster repair to the ceiling, new light fixtures, paint and a wallpaper refresh. The floor that runs through the hall and vestibule was stripped clean of carpet and linoleum to expose the original fir.
“The fir was in really rough shape — cracks, gaps, dings, scratches and uneven,” says Scaia, “but rather than rip it up and replace it with new, we embraced the imperfections, stained it and wire brushed it to emphasize the grain. I even put all of the original trim back in place and manufactured what had been missing.” Celebrating materials, textures and worn-in finishes, “these spaces were to be perfectly imperfect.”
- Design/Build: Green Island Builders
- Countertops: Peerless Forest Products and Green Island Builders
- Kitchen Sink and Faucet: Emco
- Millwork: Green Island Builders
- Paint: Bespoke and Dulux Paints
- Stairwell Light Fixtures: Water Glass Studio
- Kitchen Pendants: Moe’s Home Collection
- The Vestibule Pendant: Urban Barn
- Dining Room Pendant: original to the home.
- Dining Room Curtains: Pigeonhole Home Store
- Appliances: Trail Appliances
- Persian Carpets: Babak’s
- Dining Room Wallpaper: Hygge and West