Why Designing a Home Can Be Difficult—Even If It's Your Job

Photo: Laurel & Wolf
Laurel & Wolf designer Brett Foken gave her 1900s Craftsman home a minimalism-meets-mid-century overhaul.

Designing your home is difficult—even if it's your profession. Laurel & Wolf interior designer Brett Foken discovered that firsthand when she embarked on the complete renovation of her 1900s Craftsman home in Oakland, CA.

Brett and her husband Brandon put an offer on the house before seeing it in person—a few online pictures was all it took. “We wanted a house that had good bones, but that we could make completely our own and that's what this house was," Brett says. “The possibilities were endless! Well, endless as long as they were within budget."

So Brett put her designing chops to the ultimate test and began the six-month-long journey of transforming the house from top to bottom all by herself. She admits it was twice as hard and took her twice as long as designing for a client. And though she was even forced to move back in with her parents in the midst of the madness, the results made it all worth it.

Brett aimed for a minimalist aesthetic in the remodeling and hoped to honor the home's vintage charm with its custom built-ins, crown moulding and ceiling beams, while modernizing it for their 21st century life. “My aim was to keep things simple, but significant," Brett says. “My goal with the layout was to have everything flow seamlessly and to maximize the amount of natural light in the home to really create that breathable, airy feeling." She masterfully managed to blend this stream-lined minimalism with mid-century California boheme to create a style that is both classic and progressive.

All photos courtesy of Laurel & Wolf