Renovation brings home up to date without startling streetscape

No pulls interrupt the simple lines in the new kitchen of a remodeled 1929 colonial, with its Aran modular cabinets, dark-gray Silestone island and Zaneen Blow light fixtures. The only touch of color is in the window shades.

The new front entrance, which is located on the side of the house, sports a bright-red door and simplified side panels. Photo by Cherie Cordellos.

Mili Sarrazin has a definite instinct when it comes to houses with potential. So when she spotted the 1929 traditional colonial in Old Palo Alto, she knew right away how she wanted to transform it.

After all, she and her husband, Hugo, had done this three times before, twice in Montreal, Canada and again in Dallas, Texas.

"It was in live-in condition with a dated kitchen," she said. The home had been renovated in the 1980s. Also, a family room had been tacked onto the back in the '70s followed by a second-story master-suite addition over it, said Carl Hesse, the architect from square three design studios in Palo Alto who took on the project. What started as a makeover of the kitchen and dining room quickly extended to the whole house.

The exterior remains largely the same, with its white-painted shingles and side entrance. Removing the shutters and punching up the entry with a red door helped evolve the home to what Hesse calls a "modern colonial."

In the living room, "We pulled off the ornate molding with a traditional profile and changed to flat stock. We stripped it down to the studs, added insulation, built-in bookshelves," he said.


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