Written by Brett Levine
Photography by Graham Yelton
Craftsman-style bungalows are not usually known for their expansive spaces, so stepping into Morgan and Jamie Trinker’s 1925 example in Crestwood is entirely unexpected. “I would describe my design style as ‘vintage charm with a modern feel’—or maybe Don Draper meets Dolly Parton,” Morgan says, standing in their home, which has become a unique mix of period flair and historic feel. “One of the most appealing aspects of the home was that the structural work was already done,” she explains, referring to the combined living and dining rooms.
Understanding a need to separate the spaces conceptually if not physically, she turned to furniture. “We actually have an Ikea sectional,” she says, “but I dyed the slipcovers. They are removable, so I studied tutorials online and bought high quality dyes.” The results are spectacular. The turquoise sofa sets the mood for the living room and creates both a hallway and a living room at the same time. As Morgan describes it, “We were concerned that guests would literally step into this space and it would be overwhelming,” but the spaces are now intimate but separate through furniture selection and placement.
Another unique aspect of the open floor plan is the sense of space created by the vistas out the walls of windows. “One of the reasons I loved the house from the moment I walked in, and I did because I felt like we could see its potential immediately, was because it is so light-filled and has so many windows,” she says. Set on the rise of a hill, the windows open onto views across Crestwood, a pleasure that is not visible from the front door.
A small hallway opens onto two bedrooms, a bathroom, the dining room, and the kitchen. “We actually closed a number of doorways to give the house more of a sense of flow,” Morgan says, “but this truly is a transitional space.” To make it feel energized, she hand painted a pattern on the walls. “I imagined the difficulties with trying to wallpaper the space, but I knew that having something more interesting than a single paint color could work well given the size of the space.” Now, a teal that refers back to the sofa and unifies the house tonally is overlaid with a white diamond pattern that was painstakingly hand-drawn. “Sure, it was a challenge, but it was worth it,” she says of the pattern.
In the kitchen, the Trinkers’ love of midcentury style truly comes to the fore. As Morgan remarks, “The kitchen had been renovated previously, so we wanted to do something that felt more in keeping with our style.” Perhaps her favorite find was a suite of new GE appliances with retro styling that the company had recently released. “I knew that I wanted these types of appliances, but in general, they are either refurbished or incredibly expensive. We were out shopping and I saw that GE had just released a new series with the most minimal midcentury aesthetic. Here they are!” The new counters are butcher block and the existing cabinetry was painted. “We removed the upper cabinets and installed open shelving to make the kitchen feel more expansive,” she explains. “We felt like the best approach given the high ceilings was to try to make the rooms feel as open as possible.”
Perhaps the biggest challenge was the bathroom. “We took it back to the studs,” Morgan says with a laugh. “It had a walk-in shower. We found a claw-foot bath from 1925 on Craigslist and had it refinished instead. The walls are shiplap, and the counters look like poured concrete. In fact, they are a treatment I did by building up concrete in layers and then finishing it. It’s very durable without the challenge or expense of pouring countertops in place.”
Finally there is the art. Their home is filled with family portraits, framed concert tickets, and other memorabilia from their lives together, as well as amazing oversized artworks. “I also really love the idea of having images enlarged on architectural printers,” Morgan explains. “If you have a photograph that you really love, it can be taken to a printer and enlarged to incredible sizes for reasonable prices on architectural printers. The way it prints is part of its beauty.” The dining room is also home to rows of picture rails running edge to edge, also filled with photographs. “I asked our families to send us photographs that were really special to them. If we couldn’t keep them I simply scanned them and made prints. It is not the photograph as an object itself but the image that is important to us.”
The Trinkers have taken a modern, fun approach to their Crestwood bungalow. They have lightened and brightened its wide-open spaces, understood the inherent value in its walls of windows and views, and created intimate spaces through the use of simple furnishings.