A historic craftsman-style home, built in 1911, is transformed by designer Laura Martin Bovard.
A mosaic backsplash from Ann Sacks, pendants from Visual Comfort and chairs from Palecek grace the bright and functional kitchen.
A couple with a 6-year-old son moved from San Francisco into a craftsman-style home on a quiet Piedmont street; they wanted their child to be able to walk to school, and they also desired a neighborhood where they could become part of the community. Their new 8,655-square-foot home was well maintained but outdated. It was in need of a complete renovation and an interior design revamp.
The couple selected Oakland-based Laura Martin Bovard, principal and founder of LMB Interiors, to transform their house. “My personal design aesthetic is a warm approach to modern,” says Bovard. “I love playing with jewel tones and layers of textiles in more traditional homes. Not every client wants a neutral, restful space. Sometimes, as in this timeless craftsman, a home begs for more color, more life. Juxtaposing new finds with old or found treasures keeps it exciting and delights the part of me who loves variety. I’m simply obsessed with natural, textural fibers and materials, plus anything that looks and feels soulful.”
Bovard says she wants the slow-design movement to return, along with an appreciation for a craftsman-style grace—that is, the infusion of soulful stories incorporated into a home through the quality and provenance of a trained artist.
When it comes to working with clients, Bovard says her team begins with a personal approach. “We love to learn how our clients take care of themselves, what fills their hearts, what their philanthropic endeavors are, how they connect with each other as a family and how they gather with their community,” she says. “Understanding who they are is essential; when we’re designing, we become a conduit for what we think will fill them up. Then we approach the home itself and merge the two.
We want to be respectful stewards of the house while prioritizing how the homeowners will use it and feel in it. There’s always a convergence where they meet in the middle, and it’s our job to find where that is.”
Designer Laura Martin Bovard loves playing with jewel tones in more traditional properties like this craftsman-style home.
“These homeowners wanted a team who had worked together before,” says Bovard. “As much as a beautiful, comfortable, welcoming home for themselves and their loved ones was the end goal, it was just as important for the project to run smoothly.”
Contractors Kristofer Brekke and Mark Bohon—with whom Bovard had collaborated before on a Sea Cliff project—were instrumental in bringing the LMB team’s ideas to fruition, while also caring for and preserving the architecture of the original 1911 home. “Their craftsmanship and expertise truly shine throughout this project,” says Bovard, whose colleagues touched every room of the house, especially focusing on the main level and primary suite. The kitchen, primary bathroom, powder room, laundry and two bedroom baths were gutted and remodeled. LMB also transformed two bathrooms and a partial media room—and furnished nearly the entire house.
The pandemic elbowed its way into the Bay Area just as the project was getting underway. “The lead time for the kitchen cabinets was one of our biggest frustrations,” says Bovard. “Our plumbing orders also experienced delays, but we kept at it and, of course, everything finally came together.”
Grandeur is the watchword in this space, particularly with an ornamental fireplace serving as its anchor. Bovard believed the paneled ceiling was in great shape, so her team allowed its warm patina to remain as an homage to the home’s history.
“A pair of chairs gathered in a window creates the perfect grace note—a beautiful focal point when you walk in the room and an invitation to pause for a visit,” says Bovard. “We wanted this living room to feel grander for entertaining, maintaining the historical vibes while brightening up the space. When the fireplace comes on, no one wants to leave. It feels like you’ve stumbled upon an old Tudor in the woods, a hearth inspiring visitors to linger, to connect, to be together in a sense of timelessness, which is exactly what this family had hoped for.”
Standout pieces in the room include custom chairs lined in Janet Yonaty (janetyonati.com) velvet from Loggia (loggiashowroom.com), a navy faux Belgian linen coffee table from Made Goods (madegoods.com), drink tables and lounge chairs from Palecek (palecek.com) and a console by Vanguard (vanguardfurniture.com). A window bench from Loggia is lined with Jacquard weave fabric by Casamance (casamance.com), and the living room cabinet from Arteriors (arteriorshome.com) features an oak sable finish and brass inlay tracing the frame.
The living room holds custom chairs lined in Janet Yonaty velvet
“Everyone wants to be in the kitchen, so why not bring the family room to the kitchen?” says Bovard, whose team established zones for counter sitting, making coffee, food preparation and lounging. Bovard even created a zone with a little desk and chair for homework or checking the mail. “The sitting space really elevates this room. I love the sofa from Cypress Furniture with Maria Flora fabric in the kitchen,” she says. The space is outfitted with a Savoy white mosaic backsplash from Ann Sacks, pendants in antique bronze from Visual Comfort, counter stools in mocha raffia black from Palecek and a button-tufted occasional chair in Designers Guild fabric from Vanguard.
A tucked-away desk in the family room is perfect for catching up on work or serving as a drop zone for mail.
“These clients love to entertain, and the husband is a bit of a mixologist. We set him up with a custom built-in bar featuring an antique mirror, and pocket doors in a wire mesh for peeking through to the sexy bar behind its panels,” says Bovard. “When it came to the wallpaper, we ended up bringing our installer back three times because we loved the blue wallpaper so much. It began with one wall, and then another, and then another. Before you knew it, we had done the whole thing.”
The home thrives with custom built-ins that serve utilitarian roles and for displaying art and family photos.
Bovard says the space originally had elaborate fabric lining the walls, which she believed was simply too overwhelming alongside the ornate ceiling. Her new strategy: Swap out the fabric for a timeless, wheat-colored grasscloth from Phillip Jeffries, which soothed the room and allowed the decoratively painted ceiling to stand out as a prominent feature.
“The ceiling panels were painted by an artist at some point in the home’s history,” says Bovard. “We conserved the art and drew out some of its cool jewel tones to brighten the room and keep it rich at the same time. We executed the captain’s chairs with a nod to the old wallcovering—a modern damask fabric laid out to highlight the birds in the pattern. We added an epic bar cart furnished by Anthem Home.” Finishing touches include art by Karine Leger via Slate Gallery.
“The challenge we often have with a primary suite is balancing the masculine and feminine,” says Bovard. “We love it when we strike a perfect neutral balance, as we did in this light-filled room, with its lavenders, blues and grays. We left the old coal-burning fireplace as a feature to anchor the room and the bold, playful artwork. There’s a beloved sitting chair in the corner, which the couple uses for quiet time and occasionally reading to their son.”
The dining room’s captain’s chairs complement the restored wallcovering.
The room is lined with rugs by Jaipur, and LMB sourced the bed, dresser and bench from Vanguard. The ornamental jewels of the soothing room include window treatments with motorized roman shades in Shumacher herringbone linen and art by Jenn Shifflet, which was purchased at Simon Breitbard Fine Arts.
“Of all the rooms in the house, this one feels a bit like a vacation to me. It’s a wonderful spot to gather on a weekend to play a card game,” says Bovard. “The homeowners wanted this room to feel casual, lighthearted and very loungy.” She selected a sofa from Lee Industries, ottomans dressed in a Lee Jofa chevron pattern from Loggia, coffee tables from Arteriors Home and the crowning jewels: a game table with a rattan honeycomb base, along with game table chairs with rope backs, from Palecek.
The primary suite balances a masculine and feminine aesthetic with lavenders, blues and grays.
Since Bovard’s team completed the work, the family has hosted numerous gatherings that prove the function of each space. “The home is beautiful without feeling pretentious,” says Bovard. “It’s playful without being juvenile, grand without being garish and warm without being too casual. This truly sounds like we are describing our clients! Such down-to-earth, playful people with generous personalities.”
The team from LMB Interiors chose bold hues and jewel tones in a hall bathroom.
Laura Martin Bovard, LMB Interiors
Mosaic backsplash, kitchen
Bar cart, dining room
Cabinet, living room
Coffee tables, solarium
Fabric on chairs, living room
Art, primary suite
Coffee table, living room
Sofa and gold chair
Drink tables and lounge
chairs, living room
Wallcovering, dining room
Shades, primary suite
Console, living room
Pendant lights, kitchen
Photography by: PHOTOGRAPHED BY PAUL DYER AND TIM COY