An English-Style Home in California

Design: Caitlin Flemming | Photography: Stephanie Russo

I recently completed a few updates to my friend Caitlin Flemming’s website. Caitlin is one of the OG bloggers in the interiors space, and I have followed since the early days of her blog, Sacramento Street, while I was in college in the city. She has added two-time author and designer to her extensive resume. Her latest book, co-authored with her mother Julie Goebel, “Sense of Place” is now available for pre-order. Caitlin has been a supporter of IDCO since the beginning. I’m so grateful for her friendship and support and am thrilled to share one of her recent projects.

This historic Marin County home has amazing bones, but Caitlin’s eye for adding comfort and personality really makes it sing! The house has a very English-cottage feel — thanks to some iconic British wallpaper designs and Caitlin’s expert pattern mixing. However, the muted palette and abundant natural textures also feel distinctly West Coast. This aesthetic mash-up is one of my biggest influences in designing the Austin Tudor, so let’s dig into what makes this project special.

I adore the interesting millwork on the columns holding up the load bearing beam. It creates an intimate, yet open, floor plan concept.
An English-Style living room in a  California home designed by Caitlin Flemming

A Few Favorite Moments

Many of the home’s furnishings are vintage or antique pieces, chosen to complement the circa-1920’s home’s Arts and Crafts architecture. Generous windows, tall ceilings, and pretty millwork show the home’s sense of history. Caitlin and her client collaborated to bring in large substantial case goods and shapely, comfortable pieces suitable for the growing family. In the living room, a large linen sofa by Verellen is paired with a cute pair of chairs upholstered in Les Indiennes, and both are scattered with more patterned cushions. The sturdy vintage pieces are already covered in patina and great for a busy family. A gallery wall over the sofa brings balance to the tall cabinet and reinforces the room’s color scheme.

An English-Style Home in California with large gallery wall of vintage art
An English-Style dining room

It’s not easy to give rooms a distinct vibe in an open space, and Caitlin pulled it off beautifully. The palette of blues, greens, and browns throughout the home is inspired by the outdoors, and the soft muted shades carry from room-to-room easily. Many of the walls are painted Benjamin Moore Swiss Coffee, a warm, creamy white, and punctuated by wallpaper by the legendary Arts and Crafts designer and printmaker, William Morris. The large pattern in the dining room, Meadow Street, contrasts with the small floral print by Wells Abbot that Caitlin chose for the curtains and dining bench cushion.

An English-Style Home in California green rocking chair against floral wallpaper
A lesson in pattern play, exemplified in varied scale of the floral patterns.
An English-Style Home in California dining room with french doors and wallpaper
The giant redwood standing guard outside the dining room adds to the whimsy of this space.

The dining room’s original Mahogany doors open onto a bluestone patio, where the contrast between the exterior’s dark shingles and the lightness of the interior scheme is on full display.

An English-Style Home in California with white shaker cabinets and butcher block counters and soapstone accents

An English-Inspired Kitchen for Modern Family Life

The kitchen brings major English-inspired vibes, but is well suited with everything a young family needs. Soapstone counters gleam against the white cabinetry and there are plenty of built-in nooks to house the client’s collection of pottery. A particularly interesting detail is the pivot to butcher block counters in certain sections of the kitchen. Rather than a large center island, Caitlin opted for a narrow working island. Adjacent, Caitlin brought in an antique breakfast table with a garden view, where most designers would have forced another, larger island. Lighting by British cabinet maker deVol enhances the kitchen’s England-meets-West-Coast point of view. Her mixture of furniture pieces with bespoke built-ins are key to making this English-inspired California home feel authentic.

Notice: the sliver of wood counters sandwiched below the soapstone.
An English-Style Home in California with a charming wallpapered entryway and bentwood bench
An English-Style Home in California with a cozy den and interior shutters
Interior shutters have been on my mind lately, proving to be a quick way to add heritage and charm to any home.
An English-Style Home in California with a moody powder room with william morris wall paper
A powder bath is the best place to over commit to a theme. Dark, moody, and William-Morris adorned walls.

Get The Look

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