Pacific Grove Jewel Box.
Thursday, April 24, 2003
Photo: Everything in Its Place: Inside Sue Lewis'' adorable PG home, rooms are perfectly adorned with cozy, beautiful items that fit the spaces perfectly.
Every morning, when Sue Lewis heads to work, she leaves her 1888 Pacific Grove Victorian looking like a showplace. It''s no easy task to keep the just barely over 1000-square-foot home looking ready for a magazine shoot, but Lewis specializes in making tiny spaces into glowing jewels. With beaded sconces, luxurious bedding, pretty little mirrors, iron bed frames, and her grandmother''s china, Lewis has decorated to the extent that the house is exquisite but never feels overdone. Although the spaces are tiny, they are balanced with just the right amount of furniture--a skill that Lewis is so adept at that she offers design consulting on the side from her job at Wells Fargo Bank.
The house was featured in Small Room Decorating last fall, and when I flip through the magazine''s pages, I see that the house looks just as pristine today as it did when professionally staged by photographers. In fact, it''s even less uncluttered than in the photographs.
"I would never have all that stuff on my counters," Lewis says, when looking at a photo of her kitchen, which includes luxury appliances, shiny chrome fixtures, and white painted wood cabinets. Indeed, the smooth grey marble surfaces of the kitchen are remarkably free of items like blenders and coffee pots, which Lewis has hidden in cabinets with their own electrical outlets on the inside. "I''m crazy when I see cords," she laughs.
When Lewis gutted the home last year, she kept the size constraints of the floorplan foremost in the design plan. Ceilings are high--up to eleven feet--to make up for the diminutive size of the rooms. Colors--like the buttery yellow paint on the walls--are kept consistent throughout rooms to add to the feeling of openness. Doors between rooms are glass or frosted glass in order not to break up the space, and the wood floor, original to the house, flows through most of the rooms. Even the grey marble of the kitchen surface is mirrored in the bathroom countertop.
Because of the small scale, some rooms must to double-duty. A room between the kitchen and master bathroom serves dual purpose as both a laundry room and a wet bar.
"In little spaces it''s important to have areas that are multi-functional," Lewis says.
Lewis worked carefully to maintain the historic character of the house, which is on Pacific Grove''s Historic Registry--and she removed additions from previous owners that were inconsistent with the original home.
"I took it completely to the outside walls," she says. "It was single-wall redwood construction. I kept the rooms mostly where they were, took out an old bookcase to reveal the carved details on the wall beneath, and replaced the aluminum windows with wood."
Lewis also added modern-day touches that blend in almost invisibly, like whole-house speakers and a gas fireplace in the living room that turns on with a remote control, but still manages to look old with a carved wood mantel. And she put an interesting feature onto the new wood windows termed "dog ears"--a little carved flap on the side of the frame.
"All the turn of the century homes have dogeared windows," she explains, pointing to a house across the street.
The finished effect has been so fulfilling that Lewis has already purchased her next house to remodel in PG--a project that is just getting underway. It''s with mixed feelings that she prepares to move.
"I thought I''d live here forever so I didn''t spare a dime," she says. "I''ve lived in both large and small spaces--give me a small cozy space anyday."
Price: $799,000. Some furnishings available for purchase. 144 7th St., Pacific Grove. Contact: Joan DeMers of The Mitchell Group Real Estate at 622-4876. Contact Sue Lewis at 642-9668 for design consulting.