ABD STUDIO BRINGS A FASHION-FORWARD YET TIMELESS LOOK TO A HISTORIC PACIFIC HEIGHTS HOME.
When a home has lived many lives, does the owner have a responsibility to respect and preserve its past? For Tracy Falconer and family, who reside in a 113-year-old Federal-style home built by a Welsh immigrant, the answer is a resounding yes. “The house has this traditional element because of when it was built,” says Falconer, who notes that a former owner was one of the first women admitted to the California State Bar as an attorney. “We never wanted to stray too far from some of those beautiful Victorian details.”
Despite all that, Falconer was keen to update the home she and her family had lived in for nearly 20 years to fit their current needs and personalities. Falconer, a fashion enthusiast who loves to entertain, was after a modernized look and feel, but one with warmth that would preserve the architectural integrity. Falconer found the perfect partner to execute her vision in Brittany Haines and her team at ABD Studio. “A friend of mine had Brittany help her design her vacation home in Tahoe at Martis Camp,” Falconer explains. “And as soon as I saw Brittany’s aesthetic for that project, I knew we’d be a great match.”
Beyond that, Falconer and Haines had shared experiences like summering in Nantucket. “Once we put that together, it helped unlock a little bit of the things she gravitates toward designwise because Nantucket has such a specific feel,” Haines explains. “And their home has an almost Federal Nantucket feel to the exterior.”
Falconer brought many of her own ideas to the table throughout the design process. “I’m passionate about fashion and interiors,” she says. “That is my joy, my candy, my love.” In fact, the large inspiration boards she created—along with actual items from her closet—served as a springboard to the whole home renovation. “She really appreciates design in a way where you’re almost geeking out over the smallest details together,” says Haines, who notes that clothing items from Falconer’s closet inspired many of the colors and textures throughout the home. “She understands about how the investment and thoughtfulness behind design can really influence your life in every single way.”
Although the home was in great shape when Haines first viewed it, “there was a definite need for the spaces to be more consistent,” she explains. “Tracy wanted to bring in a more authentic feel to who she is, a more bohemian, eclectic feeling—super comfortable and family friendly, but a slightly modern twist on a traditional home.”
To achieve those goals, Haines preserved things like the architectural moldings but brought in new lighting, window treatments, fireplace mantels, rugs, furniture, fresh paint and a brand-new kitchen. Additionally, one bedroom was transformed into a dressing room for Falconer. “We converted this room to have built-in closets along the wall,” she explains. “I love wearing dresses, so they are a part of the whole aesthetic of the room.”
The duo took trips down to Los Angeles, where they shopped at several inspiring showrooms, including Marc Phillips, where they selected a number of rugs, and Nickey Kehoe. “I’m heavily influenced by Nickey Kehoe,” Falconer says. “I love how they’ll take vintage pieces sourced in France and pair them with things like African fabric—the traditional with a bohemian vibe. Their whole aesthetic sums up what I love.” There are many pieces from Nickey Kehoe that ended up in the house, including a bench in the living room, fireplace tools in the kitchen area, and the family and rec room coffee tables.
Another studio they visited was lighting designer Lindsey Adelman’s in downtown Los Angeles (it has since closed). Before ultimately selecting the sculptural light for over the dining room table, Falconer constructed a mock-up. “We were considering two or three different Lindsey Adelman lights,” Haines says. “And I’ll never forget, Tracy literally took Ping-Pong balls and paper towel rolls to mock up what it was going to look like so we could visualize it.”
Out of all the refreshed areas, Falconer names the kitchen as one of her most frequented. “The kitchen is our favorite spot because it’s where everyone gathers,” she says. “I love the dark moodiness of it.” Besides the existing cabinets—painted in Benjamin Moore’s Narragansett Green—everything in the kitchen area is new, including the Calacata Oro honed marble countertops, the Thomas Hayes counter stools, the De La Espada chandelier and Waterworks faucet. “The kitchen is basically an open space that includes the dining area and family room,” says Haines. “Tracy lights the fireplace every morning, which I think is so cool.” The dark and moody dining room’s update—which includes a new Poliform table, custom chairs, a rug from Merida and the sculptural Lindsey Adelman chandelier—has drawn the family to use it more. “That may be because we’ve been eating inside our home for the past year,” Falconer says with a laugh. “Since we’re home all the time, we’re more motivated to eat in areas besides the kitchen.”
The bedrooms and closets were redone as well, with Phillip Jeffries wallpaper, an Amber Interiors bed and Conrad shades installed in the primary bedroom. Falconer’s daughter’s room received a dose of desert chic, complete with an oversize cactus and a custom daybed by ABD Studio.
The project was a true collaboration, with mutual love, respect and admiration bursting at the seams. “Even though I had some very distinct ideas about what I wanted, when you put it all in the sausage grinder together with ABD Studio’s influence, it all comes out so much better,” Falconer says.“I’m just so grateful.”