When New York architect W. Stephen (Steve) Wood and clients toured a dark and dated 1920s Spanish Colonial house, they were all charmed by the modest home’s grand spirit with its arches, wooden beams and gracious step-down living room. Beyond that, endless little rooms resulted in a dizzying floorplan, not to mention a lack of light. Steve immediately recognized the potential, and he drafted a plan so compelling the clients ended up purchasing and renovating the property, despite the dreariness.

More than a year later, the results are breathtaking rooms filled with natural light plus many custom details. The home is simple but sophisticated, historic but fresh, and subtle but showstopping. There aren’t elaborate moldings, as typical of Spanish Colonial architecture, but what’s been added is striking thanks to the Art Deco gestures – they add flair to the backdrop of white plaster walls as well as a sense of modernity.

Steve explained that it’s not uncommon to find Art Deco elements in Spanish Colonial works. The former reached its height in the 1920-30s, while the latter was popular during the 1910-30s. So there is crossover. The 1939 Los Angeles Union Station is an important example showcasing the marriage of these two styles.

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Furnishings are mostly vintage and antique pieces – from family to Tone on Tone items 🙂 Steve had sourced pieces from Tone on Tone for a previous project – that’s how we met. I’m delighted he thought of my shop when it came time to furnish this project as well.

I’m grateful to be featuring this special home. I know how much you all enjoy house tours, so I was thrilled that our clients said yes, even though they are still finishing the rooms. Many thanks to them!

Let’s start the tour with some before photos:

No words here! Although that wallpaper on the ceiling and those stains: scary!!

ABOVE: The original staircase.

BELOW: The step-down living room with wooden beams. Beyond the arched doorway are several small rooms, which became one large space during the renovation.

Get ready for the changes . . .

Here is the reception / dining room with a view to the step-down living room; the entry foyer is behind the stone column. The clients did not want a formal dining room, so this space doubles as a reception and dining room. Architect W. Stephen (Steve) Wood gutted this area to make it one open room. The floors are limestone with tumbled edges.
Stepping down to the now light and airy living room. A new wall of three oversized glass windows replaced the small front door flanked by mini sidelights.
The French steel, brass and glass coffee table is from Tone on Tone – I featured it here. Also French is the pair of gilded Louis XVI armchairs in old, threadbare leopard print fabric from 25 years ago – still chic! Those along with the vintage Bloomingdale’s mohair sofa and rug brought back from Istanbul are all family pieces.

The fireplace is unusually small, but charming nevertheless with its original arched opening framed with granite. From Olde Good Things in New York City is the fireplace screen which the clients purchased for their previous home. Perfect fit here!

BELOW: Looking up to the reception / dining room. Compare it to the before photo with the three arches – this is the same view. What a dramatic difference!

Also from Olde Good Things is the stunning pair of antique carved stone columns and the wrought iron gate panels. Steve tells me that OGT is a favorite source for architectural elements and eclectic goods. The center hall / dining table along with the pair of vintage railroad signs came from the Marche aux Puces (flea markets) in Paris. A set of 6 vintage iron chairs were found in Hudson, NY for $30 each.

The clients originally came to my shop looking for a Swedish gray painted buffet. I suggested this 19th century French cherrywood sideboard instead. With all the stonework and metal surfaces, the space needed the warmth.

Aren’t those railroad signs cool?

I love the custom iron register covers that Steve designed. Together with the antique sconces from Paris, they inject a bit of Art Deco flair.
Speaking of Art Deco, look at this graphic, zig zag staircase railing designed by Steve – brilliant! And, yes, those are Warhols 🙂
By the way, this staircase is new – the skimpy, original staircase is shown at the beginning.
Upstairs in this bedroom are a pair of Swedish Gustavian style chests and bench from Tone on Tone – all recently delivered.

Back downstairs, let’s go into the new kitchen behind the wrought iron gates found at OGT. They remind me of the fanciful ironwork in Andalusia, Spain.

Welcome to the new gray-and-white kitchen with classic subway tiles and Calacatta marble counters. Gorgeous!

The fun pendant lights are available at DWR, but I hear you can get them directly from the manufacturer in Brooklyn, NY.

Reclaimed beams were added here and in the family room (not shown) located on the other side of the island.

I hope you love this home as much as I do. It’s an original, and everything in it has a story.For architectural services, please contact W. Stephen Wood Architect: WSWOODARCH@AOL.COM

With many thanks, once again, to Steve and our clients!