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Aya Brackett's Hippie House Update in Oakland

When photographer Aya Brackett and her husband, Corey John Creasey, a freelance film director, wanted to upgrade the kitchen of their Oakland, California, home, they had to marry their modern sensibilities and utilitarian needs with the character of their “funky, hand-built” house. “It’s a hodgepodge,” she says, built partly in 1895 and partly in the early 1980s. “It’s very California, and very hippie.” In addition, the kitchen had some major flaws: It was large but lacked counter space (“we were always fighting over one little spot by the stove,” she says), and the walls were filled with rot and highways for ants. The previous owner had installed built-in storage hutches with deep, narrow shelves, making it difficult to locate essentials. With help from their contractor and cabinetmaker, the couple designed the new kitchen themselves. They retained the floor plan and added a new central island. They replaced the existing mismatched marble countertops with new white Calacatta, and swapped the impractical handmade storage hutches for built-in cabinets with accessible pullout shelves. They managed it all within budget and in under six weeks’ time, something Brackett credits to her trusted contractor and cabinetmakers (Sallie Lang of Bliss Design and Ben Winslow and Michael Mellon of MWDB Design). “We knew it would be expensive,” Brackett says, “but we had an agreed-upon budget with the cabinetmakers and let the contractor charge us what she needed to charge us.” She trusted them to bill her fairly and work efficiently, and they did. Let’s take a look at the finished product. From Remodelista: Read More