Blog post

Style Reset

A suburban home gets infused with urban sophistication.

By Catherine Warmerdam
Interior Design by Molly Erin Designs
Photography by M Portraits

KARIANNE PULLI approached Placerville-based interior designer Molly Erin Carter with a tall order: Take her 5,000-square-foot Mediterranean-style home, with all its fussy embellishments and dark wood, and transform it into a bright space with clean lines and a whole new modern aesthetic. The cookie-cutter old-world look just wasn’t working for Pulli, who wanted to bring a more urban sensibility to her El Dorado Hills dwelling.

“The house came beautifully done. But after living in the home, it just wasn’t the style or vision that I wanted,” she explains. “I personally really like loft-style living, but I live in suburbia and I have three children. I wanted something stylish and sophisticated but where my kids could be kids.”

Undaunted, Carter tackled the exterior first, replacing the ornate iron railings on the patio steps with a streamlined glass-paned banister and installing sleek new garage doors with a modern bent—small changes that made a big impact.

Inside, Carter overhauled every room, leaving just one element untouched: the flooring. “There were existing hardwood floors throughout that were a little more rustic than what Karianne would have liked. But because they were everywhere, we decided to keep them and work with them,” explains Carter.

Shiny surfaces, bold wallpaper patterns and statement light fixtures are scattered throughout the house, bringing a bit of Kelly Wearstler-style glamour to the residence. In the kitchen, the look is carried out with lacquered cabinetry, marbled wallpaper and metallic-finish glass tiles that shimmer when the light hits them.

The lounge-style family room—which includes a piano, pool table and bar cart—is where the fun happens. The space is full of texture (velvet and leather seating, a deep shag area rug) and shine (mirrored end tables, chandelierlike lamps). “It’s probably my favorite room,” says Pulli. “I told Molly that I wanted a room that was very loungy and sultry. There’s just enough glitz to make it fun.”

The living room, with its subdued palette and unfussy furnishings, serves as a counterpoint to the strong patterns and reflective finishes that pervade the rest of the house. “Originally, this room was really dark, but Karianne wanted a fresh change. So we painted every inch of wall and ceiling Benjamin Moore Super White,” says Carter. The original fireplace, which Carter describes as “a huge monstrosity of a design,” is now faced in large-format porcelain tile and is encircled by a floating hearth made of Caesarstone.

Carter also selected some splashy light fixtures that Pulli was initially hesitant about but grew to love. “Now they are my favorite things in the house,” says the homeowner. “Those statement pieces turned out to be really cool and have made certain parts of the home really unique.”

As for the dark wood and wrought iron, Pulli doesn’t miss any of it. “There’s such a sense of peace to the design now,” she says. “It’s light and airy instead of dark and dreary. Molly did such a great job of understanding my vision and producing something for us that is really amazing.”

Kitchen Design

An oversized drum pendant dominates the kitchen nook, adding instant drama to the eating space. Custom-built benches surround the classic tulip table.

Living Room Design by Molly Erin Design

The living room, with its Roche Bobois sofas and iconic Womb Chair by Eero Saarinen, provides a serene setting for this busy family to relax together.

Lounge Design by Molly Erin Designs

The lounge, as homeowner Karianne Pulli calls her family room, is where she and her three children gather to play pool, practice piano and entertain guests. “There’s just enough glitz to make it fun,” she says.

Glass Chandelier Design

The Sputnik-style glass chandelier by Arteriors brings a glamorous retro feel to the bar area.

Comments (16)

  • ellen

    March 24, 2017 at 11:19 pm

    Great photos. Thx for the share.

  • Eddie

    March 25, 2017 at 2:51 pm


    1. Dan

      March 27, 2017 at 12:26 pm

      Thanks Eddie!

  • Amy

    March 26, 2017 at 10:28 am

    Hi there. Just wanted to comment and say I loved the article and the photos are stunning! Great job!

    1. Dan

      March 27, 2017 at 12:26 pm

      Thank you for the kind words Amy!

  • Katie

    March 27, 2017 at 1:16 am

    Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely check back for more articles. A great site/reference for the Sacramento Home & Garden scene!

    1. Dan

      March 27, 2017 at 12:25 pm

      Thank you Katie. That’s our goal, much appreciated!

  • Colt

    March 27, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    I was happy reading your article and want to make commentary on few general things. The website style is wonderful! Modern, fresh and sophisticated. The articles are on point. Cheers!

    1. Dan

      March 30, 2017 at 9:06 am

      So kind of you Colt. We appreciate your kind words!

  • Style

    March 28, 2017 at 8:54 am

    Such a great new website. I look forward to reading more!

    1. Dan

      March 30, 2017 at 9:05 am

      Thank you Style!

  • Jon

    March 28, 2017 at 7:27 pm

    Amazing article here. Thank you a lot and I’m taking a look ahead to contact you. This website is fast and clean. Keep it going!

    1. Dan

      March 30, 2017 at 9:05 am

      Thank you Jon. Looking forward to your message. Glad you enjoy the website.

  • Hankko

    April 19, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    Really wish that living room was mine! Beautiful photos.

  • Winn

    June 18, 2017 at 9:17 am

    Hello, I really enjoyed reading this post.Your writing style is awesome, keep up the good work! This website is great looking and it’ll get better with more articles.

    1. Dan

      June 20, 2017 at 10:50 am

      Thanks Winn! Much appreciated.

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