Megan Bachmann is a designer to watch – her project just won Remodelista’s 2018 Considered Design Award for Best Professional Bath. Her ability to bring a contemporary feel to space while respecting its traditional American architectural heritage gives her work a uniqueness that we at Rue truly appreciate. We swooned over her home in Burlingame, which recently received a second floor to accommodate her growing family.
We wanted to find out more about her original home and her process creating a new addition instead of moving to a large space.
Tell us about your home prior to the renovation…how long ago did you buy it and what attracted you to it?
We lived and owned this home for seven years before we moved out to start the construction process. It was an adorable almost century old, two bedroom, two bathroom bungalow which we loved and put a lot of effort and energy into remodeling the space as it was – including a new kitchen and two new bathrooms.
We fell in love with the higher ceilings and potential. We always assumed we would move to a bigger house when we outgrew the place but it turned out it was more cost effective to stay where we were and add a second story addition! We love our neighborhood, it’s walking distance to parks and a small downtown area. We’re glad we decided to expand rather than move – We couldn’t imagine leaving this location. We had to move out for well over a year, but it was totally worth it to be back here, where we want to be.
Sounds ideal, we wouldn’t want to move either! What was the space like before you designed it?
The downstairs was more of a bungalow style that you see so often in the SF Bay Area. We were able to really transform the entire space with new oak wide plank floors, modern light fixtures, white walls, and a mix of old and new furniture and decor. I love that we were able to keep the cove ceilings in the living room, a charming detail from the original home.
Before, this living room was used as a multi-purpose entry, living room, and playroom – and had an enormous ugly brick fireplace. Now, the marble slab gas fireplace actually created a lot of space, and we have a separate dedicated entry closet to keep the mess away.
Designing a space completely from scratch must have been such an exciting project to take on – what did you absolutely want to include?
When adding a second story addition, we wanted to keep the lower level as in-tact as possible to save on cost. We worked with Form + One Architecture to transform it into a Craftsman style two story house. For my own house, I always dreamed of a light and bright interior which was decidedly more modern than what we previously had. Beachy, Airy, Modern was our design mantra for this space. We only kept things we really loved and only brought in new furniture we could see living with for a long time.
So, how big is the space now, after the addition and how long has it been since the project was complete?
The space is now a little over 2600 square feet and we’ve been back in our house for over a year.
Bringing your work into your personal life can be double-edged – how was designing your own home different than for clients?
It’s such a cliché as a designer but I am my own worst client. I wanted it to be too perfect because I knew I would need to look at it all day, I should have just trusted my gut intuition! Next time I remodel or build my own house, I am going to approach it differently and more decisively. With my clients, its totally different, making design decisions is much more effortless.
What were the materials and construction resources that you used?
For the new bathrooms upstairs, the majority of the tile was from Heath Ceramics. In Sausalito, they have a factory showroom where I was able to pick up some overstock tile for my kids’ bathroom floor (the green tile). My husband, Philippe Bachmann of Bachmann Woodworking is a cabinet maker, so we collaborated on a lot of custom furniture and built-ins around the house.
Was there a choice that you weren’t sure about at first but turned out well in the end?
We thought long and hard about what to do with the staircase. I really wanted a light and airy feeling with narrow metal balusters and have it be a little bit unique but still go with the style of the house. I had designed them to extend past the tread on the side creating a really linear look. I had no idea if it would actually work and I really loved how it turned out!
What are some tips you can share about renovating and decorating your home?
The best advice I can give anyone commencing on a remodel project is to align on a vision for your space. Put some words and images together of how you want the space to feel and make sure everyone involved loves it! If you have this design mood board you can always refer back to that when making decisions.
That’s a great idea to avoid buyer’s remorse. Any other big lessons learned through your work or doing your own home?
Only bring in furnishings and artwork that make you happy and bring you joy! Since moving back into our home we’ve kept our place quite minimal, the white space feels so good at the end of each day, and the kids have lots of space to run around. We didn’t have to fill it with clutter to create a well-designed home.