Updating a century-old home can be a complex balancing act, requiring deference to the past, realism about the present and an eye toward the future. Through her work, designer Sarah Stockstad has become adept at walking this tightrope over the years. So when a 1920s Craftsman-style residence she’d previously renovated needed her experienced hand once again, she knew just how to proceed. “It’s about reviving the history and making sure the feeling and original intent of the house stays intact,” she says of her strategy. “You want it to feel beautiful but not like a museum.”
The owners had purchased the property a decade prior, when Stockstad had transformed it from what she calls “the worst home in the best neighborhood” into a more modern residence. But when the family of four grew to five, it was time to expand their surroundings—this time, beyond the original project scope. “We started to think long term,” the wife says. “Knowing we would need more space, we were going to add just another bedroom and bathroom upstairs—but then it snowballed.”
For the house’s newest iteration, Stockstad and designer Taryn Roberts partnered with architect Gregory A. Jones and general contractor Jeff Sweet. Together, the team devised a plan to refresh the structure, optimize the layout and generate extra space with a new addition while respecting the property’s roots. “These historic homes consist of predominantly smaller, individualized rooms,” Jones observes. “The owners wanted to create more of an open flow, connect the spaces and update the floor plan so it is more conducive to a family environment and entertaining.”
The group worked to incorporate an addition that “complements the existing home, rather than competes with it,” the architect says. Situating this at the back of the house, so the front elevation didn’t change, was an important consideration to maintain the structure’s integrity. The details of the existing façade, such as the siding, windows and trim, were documented and prefabricated to maintain continuity with the exterior. “We had to go back in time and think about the way it was built 100 years ago,” Sweet says. The attention to detail was so precise that when the general contractor discovered the original type of brick was no longer made, his team hand-scored each new brick to match.
Even with the addition, interior space was maxed out, so Stockstad found ways to make the rooms “live larger than they feel,” she describes. For instance, the wife desperately needed a new home office, so the team carved out a workspace in a widened hallway. In the children’s bedrooms, built-in wardrobes and desks as well as vaulted ceilings make up for the lack of closets and small square footage. And part of the back porch was enclosed and transformed into a breakfast area, which the designer fashioned into a focal point with a gray-blue palmetto-print wallcovering and an oversize chandelier composed of tiny shells.
The architecture’s Craftsman style guided the interior design, inspiring Stockstad to install woodwork such as wainscoting, trimmed columns and, for extra storage, built-ins—lots of them—in spaces like the living room and mudroom. An understated color palette, clean-lined furnishings and textured materials, meanwhile, respond to the revitalized setting. “The whole vibe of the house is fresh Florida style,” the designer says. She kept things bright with white walls accented by soft colors, such as light-blue plaid armchairs in the sitting room, cream-colored living room sofas and pale-pink accents in a daughter’s bedroom. The simple, relaxed look is augmented through elements such as rattan and wicker seating, raffia rugs, bamboo window shades, oak bathroom vanities and, of course, livable performance fabrics. “It has a textured feel, even though the decor is minimal,” Stockstad says. “It’s about using subtle material differences.” Strategic pops of brighter tones come from the family’s art collection, including dreamy waterscapes in the dining room and by the staircase. Yet none are as personal as the pieces in the playroom, where the designer created a gallery wall of the children’s vibrant artwork, amping up the fun with a bold pink-and-navy Moroccan-style rug.
As Stockstad had hoped, the reinvigorated spaces truly live large for the growing family, while the structure still honors its history—which, to Jones, is a mark of success. “When I see the home in its completed state,” he says, “it looks as though it was always supposed to be that way.”