Moving from Toronto to Palo Alto, California, together with her family, Heather Finlay toured a 1973 post-and-beam house by the prestigious modernist developer Joseph Eichler, who died in 1974. “I fell in love with it right away,” she says. The open plan meant that, from almost any room, she could watch her four teenagers playing inside the yard. And the cathedral ceiling and skylights made the two,300-square-foot interior light and airy, “so different from
anything in Canada.”
In fact, she and her husband, Jonathan Lister, decided the home needs to be even brighter, both to celebrate its disco-era roots and to integrate the brightly colored kids’ possessions that always appeared to take over—an if-you-can’t-beat-’em-join-’em attitude. So YamaMar Design was commissioned to update the kitchen and baths and to put in oak floorboards with radiant heating, among other improvements.
More surprisingly, David Yama replaced the mahogany paneling with regular gypsum-board painted white and applied several coats of white paint to the long-lasting Eichler tongue-and-groove Douglas fir ceiling.
“I know Eichler fanatics would possibly not approve,” Finlay says. But Yama understood her decision: “While respecting the house’s bones, we brought it right into a new period.”
The color burst came courtesy of Alison Damonte Design. Whatever options the firm presented, Finlay always chose the foremost adventurous among them. Take the fuchsia-and-silver wall covering patterned with outlines of rainbows, stars, private airplanes, and muscle cars. It’s within the powder room, dubbed “the disco bathroom” by Finlay. “That’s how I knew she was different,” Damonte says. “Very confident in her taste.”
Once there has been a powerful fuchsia element, there needed to be others inside the pink-purple family—an open plan demands continuity, as Damonte points out. Hence the similarly colored acrylic pendant dome, over the kitchen table, and wool-silk rug, anchoring the living area. Within the kids’ bathroom, the palette changes to confess apple green and sunny yellow. Eichler couldn’t be reached for comment.
Flegel’s Construction Co.: General Contractor.