Patrick Spalding is proof that you can go home again. In 2017, the native San Franciscan and his interior designer wife, Katie Spalding, returned to the Jordan Park residence he was raised in, where “the wide streets catered to water balloon fights and street hockey matches on Rollerblades,” he recalls.
The current primary bedroom was, in fact, once his childhood bedroom, though it has been transformed under Katie’s purview. Patrick’s parents purchased the 1919 dwelling in the mid-1980s, when he was 3. The family eventually rented out the property and, six years ago when it was between tenants, his mother suggested the couple (who had recently had their second child) move in. “We fell in love with it,” Katie says, “but it was definitely in need of some TLC.” After acquiring the abode outright from the family, the couple embarked on a major renovation—even enlisting Barbara Chambers, the same architect that Patrick’s parents had hired decades prior. “It’s a very beautiful, classic structure, and we stayed in the same vocabulary both times we worked on it,” Chambers says, adding that it was important to Patrick and Katie to “do enough to the home to make it theirs—not just a decorated version of his parents’ house.”
According to Katie, Chambers and general contractor Victor Mezhvinsky were key to executing plans for appropriate and balanced interiors. “My challenge was honoring the traditional bones of the house and infusing it with modern elements to make it to more relatable and livable for my three young children,” the designer says. “I knew what I wanted it to look like, but I was careful not to ruin the proportions.” Case in point: The entry area “shrunk,” as Katie puts it, with a newly conceived staircase and a relocated powder room. These modifications, along with ones made to the back of the residence, allow for a sight line from the front door through to the backyard—which was refreshed by family friend and landscape designer Elizabeth Everdell, who had also previously worked on the grounds.
In the back of the home, the transitions from the kitchen were reimagined: The portal to the family room was widened, and a jib door now separates the cooking space from the dining area. “The kitchen went from compartmentalized to an open gathering place,” Mezhvinsky describes. Katie painted dark cherry wood paneling in the adjacent family room with a fresh white color to brighten the space, but she retained the green marble fireplace surround, which inspired her choice of a jade-green sectional.
On the same level, the living room, with its white and cream palette, “is much more formal,” Katie says. “When we have friends over, we have cocktails in there before dinner.” Set against the room’s picture-frame molding, a Cole Sternberg painting holds special significance: Not only was the canvas dragged through the waters of Lake Michigan, where Katie spends summers with her family, but the artist is also her best friend’s husband.
In the color-and pattern-rich dining room—anchored by a table that belonged to Katie’s grandmother—the design concept called for replicating the existing paneling and molding, adding the jib door, and installing a wallcovering matched to the green trim. “Katie did a gorgeous job,” Mezhvinsky observes. “The dining room feels like its own jewel-box experience.”
Upstairs, the layout was reconfigured to accommodate four bedrooms with en suite bathrooms. Katie and Patrick’s quarters gained square footage by eliminating a rarely used porch as well as assuming the closet in their son’s bedroom. The designer festooned each of the kids’ bathrooms with a different wallpaper, including a custom whale-tail motif that nods to father-son fishing outings.
“A number of the families I lived next to in the ’90s never left, including my next-door neighbor, who is now retired,” Patrick says. “The sports balls our kids frequently launch into his backyard give him a sense of nostalgia.” Adds Katie with a laugh: “He told us, ‘I’m having déjà vu.’” Although the house already holds countless memories for the Spalding family, they are looking forward to making more.