Handing their home over to a team of designers put the Olsons in an unfamiliar role: client.
The couple have redone several homes together, but mostly as DIYers.
“We’ve never worked with designers before,” Curt said.
And Jayne, who had a vision for every room and had amassed a cache of samples and Pinterest photos, had to learn how to collaborate and compromise when it came to decor. “I’m used to calling a lot of creative shots,” she said.
But as an editor herself, she appreciated the editing role designers played: helping her hone and refine her original vision for their home. “I know enough to get myself into trouble,” she said.
In the kitchen, for example, Jayne originally wanted a white-on-white palette. “All my images on Pinterest were all white,” she said. But designer Kimberly Herrick, who took on the kitchen, coaxed Jayne to incorporate a wall of black (“All white is done to death,” she admitted).
At first, Jayne resisted the idea, but now she loves her black and creamy white kitchen. The black-enameled cabinets include different dimensions and hardware to suggest separate pieces of furniture and maybe even an original built-in, she said.
The designers made efforts to incorporate many of the Olsons’ existing pieces into the designs. In fact, the couple’s bed, with navy linen headboard, was the starting point for the master suite, designed by Rena Feldman. John Lassila designed the lower-level family room around their existing sectional. The family’s piano and former kitchen table are now in their new sunroom/art-project room, designed by Gunkelmans’ Karen McKay and Kayla Vig, and many of the Olsons’ vintage collectibles and artwork were used as accessories throughout the home.
While she ceded authority in many rooms, Jayne insisted on being a key player in the design for their daughters’ shared bedroom and playroom. “I pushed those two rooms,” she said. “I wanted to make sure they loved them — they were getting displaced.”
For his part, Curt was all about the pool house, which includes a porch overlooking the pool, and a new step-down bar and lounge behind it, which was built in space borrowed from the garage.
“We opened up a wall, to connect it to the porch,” said designer Bonnie Birnbaum who collaborated with Keri Olson on the space.
The bar, which was constructed using cabinets and wainscoting from the original kitchen, is mounted on a barn-door track, so it can be moved to accommodate a car during cold weather.
That was Curt’s idea. “They all thought it was crazy, but I said, ‘I know we can do this,’ ” he said.
Moroccan lanterns, vintage lighting and bar stools salvaged from a bowling alley, and a banquette flanked by a wall of retro black-and-white photographs from the Olsons’ own collection complete the vintage vibe.
Both Jayne and Curt were adamant about preserving one piece of history: the names of every child who has lived in the house.
“There are a lot of little notes and scribbles — all these little girls carved their names into the house,” Curt said. “We made sure the painter did not paint over them.”
Now that the project is complete, the Olsons are glad they were able to improve the whole house, and with so much professional help.