Historic Restoration Petaluma Farmhouse

We remodeled a 130 year old farmhouse into a 21st century fully-loaded dwelling. And further added contemporary interior design to this Sonoma County home. It was a lesson in understanding capacity and then adding a little more. At one time, the house oversaw a small chicken farming operation with acreage but now is a typical lot in a fabric of single-family homes from the 1900’s to the 1940’s. Only a few blocks from Main Street, the house sits on the edge of a hill that allows views of Sonoma Mountain and the downtown.The goal was to rethink the interior as a modern home without losing the character of the original shell for a blended family of 5, who are not only tech savvy with an eye for design, but also down to earth gardeners who like to preserve and can foods. The program was to open up the living areas to gain a spacious quality, arrange five bedrooms, four and a half bathrooms, a media room and pool room. Originally built in 1897, the Victorian Farmhouse stood at 2500 SF with a root cellar and small distinct rooms. By excavating, creating a livable lower floor, the total area is now at 3500 SF.

The clients and MAD architects were playing with some key products decided early on, yet explored a myriad of options for implementation. The challenge of an experienced online shopper as client teamed with architects who could reframe the original intent, kept the process fluid, exciting and made the outcome better.

The key feature of the house is the custom steel and walnut 3 story staircase acting as the vertical thread with an open and airy railing enhanced by the skylight and the Poulsen pendant light. The heart of the house is the kitchen/dining space with a large working island, a LaCanche range, and soft blue Heath tile. Custom Douglas Fir cabinets wrap the kitchen to the Living room making it feel like one space. Because the window openings needed to remain per history, the variety of sizes and heights loosened up the rules, creating a playful spirit inside. The architects embraced these conditions using clustered pendants at the dining area and built-ins that responded to the windows in every space.

The interiors are modern with the exception of the Parlor with a painted wood built in library, a tin ceiling and a classic wood wainscot. The home is wired for Nest; the walnut floors have radiant heating; the water filtration is state of the art; the media room is soundproofed for top of the line acoustics and speakers; the pipes and wires running under the floors pushed the old farmhouse to capacity. Walls were out of plumb and the level of correction was an ongoing debate.
What is seen on the exterior is a quiet restoration with a traditional front garden of roses and the original palm tree. The bright green door (which is the original) gives a hint that things might be a little different on the inside.


Petaluma, Sonoma County, CA

Renovation & Interior Design