Fascinating preservation of former Carnegie Library

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This stunning Mill Valley, California home was built in 1910, originally one of the 2,500 libraries that had been built by businessman Andrew Carnegie. When a new library was built in the area 50 years later, this structure became a private residence, with several years of remodels the home fell into disrepair. A local family of four purchased this home in 2008, with none of the original interior intact, only a single bookcase was left in the living room. They called upon Bay Area design firm Union Studio along with custom cabinet and woodworking company, The Last Inch, to redesign the space and preserve what was left of the remaining structure while giving a modern update.

The family that purchased the home is very artist, working in the design field, and wished to create a big and bold interior that would encourage creativity. Solid wide-plank white oak in a matte commercial finish is featured throughout the interior spaces. With exposed brick, steel and wood elements, this fabulous home has an industrial feel yet radiates a warm and cozy ambiance.

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The long space allowed for a 16-foot island, perfect for family cooking and entertaining.

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The refrigerator doors are cladded hot-rolled steel.

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The shape of the skylight mimics the island below, allowing plenty of natural light to penetrate the space, yet still leaving the original roof trusses intact. The block of open cabinetry next to the island also lets light in, as well as separating the staircase from the kitchen area.

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A modular cooktop from Gaggenau has downdraft vents, so a hood does not have to hang above. Instead, dramatic black linen pendants draw attention to the space’s high ceilings.

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The shelves in the adjacent dining space replaced windows that had been removed during a previous remodel. Although windows were considered, the view was so unpleasant that shelving was installed instead. This change still maintains the structure’s historic exterior.

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Photos: Matt Bear / Union Studio

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