Fabulous rustic-modern Mill Valley bungalow

This fabulous Mill Valley bungalow was remodeled by designer Allison Bloom of Dehn Bloom Design in Mill Valley, California. Interior design was not originally a career for the designer, but she soon learned she had a creative knack for it when in 2007, her family relocated from Los Angeles to the Bay Area. “This area was first used by the Miwok Indians as a place to gather. Later, it was a ranch with farmhouses,” said Bloom. “I did a lot of research about what was here and what the dwellings looked like.” The exterior of the home is clad in stucco and cedar, the interior features natural fabrics and distressed wood flooring that was salvaged from a Midwestern sewing machine factory, which gives the home history. The style of the home has been described as rustic modern, respecting the past but adding a splash of fun.

Built in the 1920s, the interior walls of the 1,100 square foot bungalow had been decorated with sponge-painting techniques. The home also came with a developer’s unrealized plan for a 1,400 square foot addition and dramatic makeover. With the help of architect Kenneth Holder, Bloom took over the project, modifying the drawings. The new direction was a modern update, but Bloom wished to preserve elements of the home. The living room and dining room are an open plan concept, just off the entry. Additional windows were added to filter in as much natural light as possible. The artwork throughout the home is by artist April Dawn Parker, which appeals to Bloom’s scientific side.

Mill Valley Home-05-1 Kind Design

These graphic Moroccan concrete tiles were love at first site when Bloom saw them on a blog. “They weren’t available in the US, so I had to become an importer just to order them. They broke twice during shipping and delayed the project by three weeks, but I was adamant that we use them,” she says. “They epitomize the look I was going for: fresh, modern, playful and undeniably beautiful.”

Stainless steel is the material for most of the counters, but a walnut countertop was selected for the island to avert a laboratory feel. The lights are industrial street lamps salvaged from a stretch of freeway.

Bloom has a computer workspace downstairs, but the desk in her bedroom is for dreaming. “I needed a place to brainstorm, to draw and to think. It had to be serene,” she says. Bloom scored the wire baskets that form the desk legs, spotted at a flea market.

“The original plans were very modern, almost brutalist, with very few windows,” says Bloom. “I wanted to warm up the house and open it up to the views.” The bedroom was designed with rustic, comfortable elements, with the addition of windows to take full advantage of the views of close by Mount Tamalpais.

“When the kids were babies, we would occasionally get in the tub together,” says Bloom, explaining the selection of a large, spoon-shaped tub in the master bath. “I saw a tub like this one while traveling through Italy. It looks like sculpture.” The weight of the piece required builders to reinforce the floor beneath it.

The walls in the kids’ bathroom are covered with quotes from famous figures, ranging from Wayne Gretzky to Roald Dahl. “This is the first place the kids are each morning and the last place each night. We want to inspire them and educate them about people who have left a positive mark on the world,” says Bloom.

Photos: John Merkl


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