1920’s Home Update With Personality
After multiple pitfalls (plumbing woes!) and paint shades (brown! bright orange!), interior designer Annie Werden breathes new, personality-filled life into her 1920s home
Welcome to the Werden's 1920s Home
If painting weren’t so labor intensive, the walls in Annie Werden’s Baltimore, Maryland, home would change like the leaves on the trees outside or the flowers blooming in the garden. “I can tire quickly of colors or get excited by something new,” Annie says. “Paint is the easiest and cheapest way to reinvent a room.” In the three years Annie and her husband, Matt, have lived in their 1920s-era three-story home, the walls in several rooms have been painted at least twice. “If my husband would allow it,” Annie admits, “I would change our home’s paint colors seasonally!”
Annie comes by her love of design and her interest in homes naturally. Her mother was an art teacher; her dad was a real estate agent. She’s channeled her natural talent into a career as an interior designer with Jenkins Baer Associates. Now Annie has turned the home she and Matt purchased into a stylish yet family-friendly retreat for the two of them and their children, Charlie (4) and Teddy (1).
Interior design: Annie Werden of Jenkins Baer Associates, Baltimore.
The colorful built-in storage in the entry was a happy accident, Annie says. When they first moved in, she painted the back of the shelves bright orange. “Pre-kids, the shelves could have been filled with pretty, breakable things,” she says. “With kids, that is not a reality!”
So Annie found inexpensive green fabric at IKEA and fashioned it into shades to hide bins of toys, shoes, and more. “I thought the green was unexpected and quirky with the orange,” she says. She left two shelves open to showcase books and a few accessories that can stand up to curious toddlers.
Back of bookcase paint: Topaz (70), by Benjamin Moore.
Wall paint: White Dove (OC-17) by Benjamin Moore.
Leather studded stool: by Global Views.
Runner on stairs: Dragongrass Sisal in Chocolate by Greenspring Carpet Source.
The basics of the living room—the wall color, draperies, and sectional—have remained the same, but everything around them has evolved over time. “As a designer, I’m constantly falling in love with new things, so I often switch out pillows, throws, or lamps,” says Annie. “We’ll play musical furniture and try out different pieces in each room. The living room has had four or five different arrangements in three years!”
Over the fireplace, the painting The Cotton Candy Machine by Annie’s aunt Martha Dodd provides playful color inspiration. Its coral hues are repeated in fabrics and accessories. Wall-paper remnants (proudly installed by Matt!) are placed inside the built-in glass cabinets to hide DVDs and toys and provide an inexpensive style fix until they can redo them.
The painting by Annie’s aunt inspired the living room’s cheery color palette.
Living Room Source Guide
Rug: Jute Bouclé Rug in Walnut by West Elm.
Tufted chairs in front of fireplace: from Antique Exchange.
Orange-and-white vases: Orange Zest collection from Tozai Home.
Built-in wallpaper: Argus (9368E) in Pearl (0011) by Stroheim, available through DCOTA, 954/921-7575
Ottoman fabric: Zig Zag in Shrimp on Tint from Alan Campbell by Quadrille, also available through DCOTA
Wall paint: Titanium (2141-60) by Benjamin Moore.
Annie and Matt wanted to save for a bit to get the kitchen of their dreams, but when a plumbing problem in the upstairs bath created problems in the kitchen, they had to tear out half the room. This compelled them to move forward with their renovation on a shoestring budget. “Thus all the fillers from IKEA!” Annie says. No matter the budget, the result is fabulous.
Annie and Matt decided the one splurge they weren’t willing to give up was white marble countertops, and they adjusted everything else around those. Vinyl flooring with the look of bleached elm has gray undertones that complement other kitchen materials.
Annie says the higher-end countertop material, sink, and faucet make the less expensive cabinets look more important and substantial. “It’s like pairing designer shoes with jeans from Gap and accessorizing with great jewelry.” The kitchen is Annie’s favorite room in the house. “We spend so much time in here,” she says, “and, most importantly, we have a lot of fun too.”
To add functionality and livable space to the small kitchen, the Werdens converted an enclosed rear porch into a light and bright breakfast nook. Providing the light are large windows that Annie says they “found for a steal” from Second Chance, a nonprofit organization that deconstructs homes and buildings and then resells salvageable pieces. She intentionally left the windows undressed to allow every bit of natural light to stream into the space. “This room gets a ton of sunlight all day. I love how bright it is,” she says.
Annie advises young families is to save on pieces you know will take a beating, such as the kitchen table (theirs came from IKEA) and chairs (which she picked up at an antiques store, painted, and covered with durable outdoor fabric).
Kitchen & Breakfast Nook Source Guide
Cabinetry: in Dove White by KraftMaid.
Refrigerator: Built-In Bottom-Freezer in Floating Glass White by Jenn-Air.
Barstools: Glenn barstool, by IKEA.
Flooring: vinyl Spacia floors in Bleached Elm by Amtico International.
Cushion fabric: Peacock Print in Driftwood by Trina Turk through Schumacher, available through DCOTA
Wall paint: Vapor Trails (1556), by Benjamin Moore.
Table: Docksta dining table, by IKEA.
Rug: Egeby sisal rug, by IKEA.
The custom-made dining chairs, built by local craftsman David Wiesand, were one of Annie and Matt’s first major purchases after they were married. The chair style, inspired by a Benjamin Latrobe chair, fits right in with Annie’s love of change. “They can be formal and serious or more whimsical and modern with a funky, offbeat fabric,” she says. “I just re-covered them with a linen snake-print fabric, and they have taken on a whole new look.”
The painted chairs are paired with a round mahogany dining table. This mix of finishes on the room’s various furnishings, such as the china cabinet and chest, provides a collected, casual appeal. Annie also strives to create a cohesiveness between rooms. For example, the cabinet’s fretwork references the wallpaper pattern in the living room next door.
Dining Room Source Guide
Wall paint: Deep Creek (1477),by Benjamin Moore
Rug: Traditional Seagrass, from Greenspring Carpet Source.
Dining table: Round Dining Table (790-14) in custom finish by Hickory White.
Dining chairs: custom by McLain Wiesand.
Settee: Ava II Collection love seat by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams.
Light fixture: Lantern With 3-Light Cluster in Antique Mirror, by Worlds Away.
White plates (above window), mirrors (flanking dining table), and gold vase (on chest): all available through Jenkins Baer Associates.
Drapery fabric: (for a similar look) Titan in Ivory and Flanders in Graphite, both by Calico Corners.
Drapery trim: Fretwork in Saffron/Dove by Kelly Wearstler through Lee Jofa, available through DCOTA