Victorian home at Palo Alto

I was working on this project with architect and licensed contractor, Daren Shu.

His intention was that the 3,600 sq.ft. living space would be turned into a modern and cozy area, and would include a spacious contemporary kitchen. Keeping the balance between the Victorian exterior character and the contemporary interior, and still make it work well with each other, was a major challenge.


The house was built in 1895 near the down town of Palo Alto, California. As a Victorian home, it is classified as a historical building, and therefore the original façade has to be maintained as is. But when entering the home, you step into a different world.


The main living area was turned into an open floor plan that incorporates the living room, dining room and kitchen, which was a dramatic change to what it was like before.  I had to combine the use of technology, function, and aesthetic to influence the rest of the house.


Professional style stainless steel appliances were used not only to contribute functionality, but also to add their contemporary appearance to the space. Their modern look was incorporated into cabinetry that I specified with a soft color pallet and a contemporary clean touch of creamy yellow, vanilla and charcoal grey, some frosted tempered glass doors that give a sense of transparency to the space. All of that alongside the ocean blue mosaic backsplash and the limestone counter tops, created a look that blends easily with the rest of the house.


Daren Shu added some varied ceiling heights in different areas of the kitchen and incorporated light fixtures that which gave the kitchen the open feel. Also, a big skylight was added to add natural daylight  into the space. I also added square fluorescent lights fixtures that provide sufficient task lighting and light the counter tops.


When the project was completed, I was amazed with the final result. The old exterior with the new contemporary interior made a jaw dropping combination unlike what you’d expect when looking at the house from the outside.