A suburban home gets infused with urban sophistication.
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.”