The Touch of Style
But Pam, trained as a set designer, was unruffled. She knew minor adjustments could yield dramatic effects. She relied on three foolproof methods to renovate the house:
- Use satin and glossy paints, which are easier to maintain than flat or eggshell. The shinier finishes clean up easily and reflect more light.
- Mirrors pop light into a room and wake up dead space. They also add new vantage points. You can have mirrors cut to fit at hardware and home-improvement stores—smaller ones can be attached to surfaces with glue or double-stick tape.
- Keep seating heights the same—you don't want some people positioned higher than others.
She and Haines turned their porch into living space by setting up a wrought-iron dining table under a globe chandelier at one end and a Moroccan rug at the other. Pam brought comfort outdoors with an old Moroccan daybed and ottoman she painted brown. She covered the cushions in a water- and sun-resistant Sunbrella fabric.
The easiness of the porch, she adds, reminds her of the outdoor Persian tearooms she frequented while growing up in Tehran, the Iranian capital she and her family left in 1979.
In the kitchen, a square butcher-block counter anchors the skylit room. Comfortable woven leather stools by Henry Beguelin surround it. A samovar from Iran, Pam's native country, sits on top of an old Wedgewood gas stove.
On a wall near the dining room table, above the wainscot Pam installed, a 19th-century Shaker bed mat hangs above a sophisticated Miró-like oil painting. "We bought the painting at an antiques store," Pam says. "When we went to have it framed, we found a tag that suggested it had been part of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's collection." Pam plans to get the piece appraised.
To create the illusion of more space in the open living-dining area, Pam installed mirrors into the back of built-in cabinets to reflect more light.
The library is defined by a wall of built-in bookcases and a small fireplace that easily heats the whole house. It's outfitted with a tufted green leather Chesterfield (found at a friend's moving sale), and an armchair covered in a Lee Jofa fabric. Both sit just 14 inches high. "I wanted everything low to the ground here," Pam says. With the arrival two-and-a-half years ago of Pam and Haines's son, Reza, Pam discovered the height of the furnishings has an additional plus: It's completely toddler-friendly.
Pam chose pieces with legs to add to the room's overall sense of airiness. A David Hicks rug also defines the bungalow's conversation area.
A sofa designed by Pam's company, Commune, sits below an ingenious gallery wall: Wood slats allow for easy rearrangement of the art, all of which is hung with "S" hooks.
While Pam has streamlined the home, she hasn't obliterated the idiosyncratic charm that initially captivated her. "I almost freaked out in the beginning of the project," she admits. "The whole house was hand-done and nothing lined up." But along the way, she welcomed harmless irregularities. "It's a bungalow," she shrugs. "You just go with it."