Interiorssneak peeks

The Kitchen is the Heart of this Berkeley Home

by Amy Azzarito

For most families, the heart of the home is the kitchen, but that is doubly true in the home of cookbook author, blogger and photographer Erin Scott. (Her gluten-free cookbook Yummy Supper just came out two weeks ago!) Thirteen years ago, Erin was living with her husband Paul in the Berkeley hills and on their drives to and from home, they would pass an old Craftsman house that was being fixed up. They often remarked to each other how much love and care was obviously being put into that house. Surprisingly, just a year or so after the house was renovated, it was put on the market. Paul and Erin went to the open house and Erin says that when she walked through the dining room and into the kitchen – which was filled with sunlight and opened onto a small back garden – she turned to Paul and said, “This is my dream house.” Other than tearing out the carpet and refinishing the wood floors, Paul and Erin have made relatively few major changes to the home. They have kept the house clean, white and airy, while infusing their personality into the home with a sentimental mix of objects that spans their years together. For example, their dining room table is one of the first furniture pieces that they bought as a couple 20 years ago, and the chairs surrounding the table are from Erin’s mom’s childhood. Paul and Erin have also gathered art over the years: paintings from Dennis Ashbaugh, photographs from Alexandra Penney, an aboriginal painting from Australia by Marcia Turner Petyarre given as an anniversary present, prints from the amazing Dan Miller (a Creative Growth artist), and tons of gorgeous ceramics from Paul’s father and potter John Scott. Every object in their home has special meaning for this family of four. And Design*Sponge isn’t the only one with a big birthday this year – this 1914 Craftsman is celebrating its 100th birthday in 2014! –Amy

Image above: “That’s my photography studio (which was featured in What’s in Your Toolbox back in 2012),” Erin says. “It’s like a little cottage tucked away in our backyard garden.”

Image above: “The old O’Keefe & Merritt came with our house and I adore it. It may not be fancy, but it makes me smile every time I cook here. I live for my cast iron pans – those babies are serious workhorses. The ceramic canisters and pitcher in this shot are old Roseville pieces and those beautiful hand carved kitchen tools are by Josh Vogel at Blackcreek Mercantile.” (Ed note: Check out our peek into Josh Vogel’s Hudson Valley home.)


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Image above: “This is command central for me – between blogging on Yummy Supper and developing and testing recipes for my new cookbook, I have lived by this stove over the past few years. This is my happy place.”
Image above: “Last year we spruced up our kitchen by painting our cabinets white and putting on some fresh hardware – I love the simple feel. It’s amazing what a coat of paint and a few knobs can do to transform a space. Our kitchen is my primary shooting space as well, and it’s so helpful to have a clean, white box for photography work.”

Image above: “Turn your back to the stove and you’re at the kitchen sink. I’m a huge fan of preserved lemons as you can see from the jars on the left. And I try to bring in snippets from the garden to add a little life to this part of the kitchen – I usually have some herbs drying in the window. If only the sink always looked this tidy! More often than not, there are huge piles of dishes to be done… the untold story of recipe development.”

Image above: “My dad had an industrial Mexican citrus press like this one, which Paul and I coveted for decades. We finally tracked one down on eBay last year and bought our own. Paul is a major juicer during citrus season, and this beauty makes his juicing fast and easy.”

Image above: “Over the years, I’ve bought all sorts of forks, knives and spoons to build a sizable prop collection for my food photography work. You can find me at the flea market, digging through dusty bins of odds and ends searching for an interesting utensil at a good price. I don’t like to spend more than a couple of bucks for any one item – this usually isn’t a problem… how many people want just a single knife or spoon?”
Image above: “Our north-facing living room is the darkest and coldest room in the house, so we decided to paint the dark wood cabinetry white to brighten up the space. It made a world of difference. We’ve got a crazy mix of textiles and colors at work in this room. The green and yellow B+B Italia sofa and chairs are definitely modern, while an old Turkish rug from my childhood grounds the space. The furry pillows and knit blanket from Coyuchi make the space extra cozy and welcoming for sitting next to the fire in winter. I bought the old GE fan at a Connecticut tag sale when I was in college. And all the pottery on our mantel was made by my father-in-law John Scott.”

Image above: “I scored that amazing mid-century modern/Turkish coffee table on eBay a few years back, and I think it ties the old-new mix of the living room together. I love those Scandinavian modern wood legs with the traditional Turkish copper tray top.”

Image above: “Sitting on the copper table are little plates by my old friend, Sherry Olsen, and the coffee cups are seconds from the Heath Ceramics factory shop in Sausalito. The wood-handled forks are a score from a great little antique store in west Sonoma County. The maple leaves are snipped from the front yard trees.”

Image above: “My 14-year-old son’s acoustic guitar also lives in the living room. I love to hear him practice, especially when he’s working on old Zeppelin songs. We’ve also got some backgammon boards tucked into this corner of the house that we like to bust out for family game nights. That glass painting on the wall is an old piece from Bali that Paul and I picked up during our travels 15 years ago. And we bought that funky garlic shaped light at Zinc Details as a young married couple. “

Image above: “Large glass pocket doors separate the dining and living rooms. The doors are a great sound barrier when we have dinner guests – the kids can be rowdy in the living room while the adults get to linger at the table.”

Image above: “Most nights we eat at the kitchen table, but we do use the dining room when we have friends over for supper. Our old Indonesian farm table is a good companion to chairs from my mom’s childhood, while the Nelson bubble lamp brings some modern playfulness to the space. And I’m so grateful for the original built-in hutch – with an ever-expanding collection of food photography props, I’ve filled every nook and cranny of those cabinets and drawers.”

Image above: “My beloved cookbooks! There are so many wonderful cookbooks out there to savor, and this shelf houses many of my current favorites. The kraut crock on the left is a handmade beauty from Sarah Kersten, a local Berkeley ceramicist and the Buddha on the right is a treasure from our time living in Bali. The old Audubon prints are from my mom’s grandmother’s house.”

Image above: “Our bedroom is one of the darker rooms in the house and we don’t mind… we like it cozy. The Chinese lantern is something we picked up at a long-gone antique store down the road from our house. The mismatched, bedside ceramic lamps were made in the 70s by my father-in-law and the new lampshades are from Schoolhouse Electric. We bought the rug at the foot of our bed at a funky market in the capital city of Laos decades ago and the flokatis next to the bed are from IKEA – those fuzzy rugs are nice to step on first thing in the morning. The photos above the bed are mine. “

Image above: “I fell in love with our house because of those wide doors leading from the kitchen nook into the back garden. The gray stone table belonged to my mom’s sister Judith who kept it in her courtyard garden. When Judith passed 9 years ago, we brought the table into our kitchen and we think of her every time we sit down to eat.”

Image above: “I took this shot standing in the midst of our overgrown veggie patch, looking back into our kitchen. Five years ago Paul suggested that we replace our back lawn with a veggie garden. Now our backyard is filled with edibles… it’s lush and delicious out there.”

Image above: “When I was told this wreath was made of asparagus – yes, asparagus – I couldn’t resist buying it from Flowerland, my favorite shop. We’ve had the wreath on our front door for nearly a year now… I couldn’t bear to take it down after the holidays.”

Image above: “Me, in the kitchen.”

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  • Love everything about this beautiful home. So nice to see things not overdone, or over thought. Each piece is a treasure and has a story. And it looks so comfortable. Wonderful!

  • I just love everything about this place. I can see it is loved! It is my favourite sneak peek!

  • Really beautiful house tour. I love that so much of her possession are attached to some memory of her family or travels with her husband.

  • Gorgeous home! Do you have any idea what the wall color is in the master bedroom?

  • Sorry to be picky, but why does every artist except the Aboriginal artist get mentioned by name? I mention it assuming it is simply an oversight, but one that unfortunately reflects an ongoing lack of recognition of Aboriginal people and their work, and a tendency to lump all Aboriginal people together as one cohesive group (and therefore irrelevant to name the specific artist, group or community.)
    Love from a non-indigenous Australian with an interest in art and a hope for increased awareness

    • Ella

      I apologize if this feels as if we were intending to in any way neglect to mention an aboriginal artist. No artist’s name was left out on purpose. We always request details on all artwork and products in every room and additional information for this piece this one was not provided. I will follow up with the home owner to ensure there’s not a name we’re missing, but most times when people do not provide an artist’s name, it is because they do not know those particular details. This happens frequently with vintage and antique artwork but we’ll double check to make sure there’s not a name someone somewhere might be able to help us place to this piece.


  • Hi Ella, Thank you for that thoughtful comment. I totally hear you and am so sorry that the name of the Aboriginal artist was not included in the list! In no way did I intend any disrespect to her talent or importance – I just couldn’t find the paperwork. (The the only reason I was able to easily recall the other artists names was that they are either friends/relatives or local artists.) But after reading your comment this morning, I sent Paul digging through his files in the garage until he was able to find the paperwork. The artist’s name is Marcia Turner and she’s from Utopia. The painting represents a body paint design. I’m taping all the info onto the back of the painting so we’ll never be at a loss again.
    All the best,

  • I adore the lighting in this home and the way the’ve kept all of the home accessories bright and well placed. All of the plants look amazing, too.

    Warm Regards,

  • One of my favorite tours…just really spot on with a look I’m loving. Great share! Thanks for sharing!

  • Totally admire the over head lighting fixtures! A whole lot of fixture envy going on at the moment…

  • The links for Quest by Aaron Becker seem to be broken. I was curious, so I did a search. Wow! What an amazing imagination. Since the post is sponsored by this artist, you should probably fix the links.

  • Oh, what a house tour!!! The kitchen is absolutely divine — that stove! The bones of this house remind me of my own (I can’t live more than a mile or two away) and I’m feeling much better about my white tiled countertops after seeing Erin’s. Thank you for the beautiful tour.

  • That’s really surprising that the artwork is from Utopia, I would have thought it was from the Kintore/Papunya region.

  • The white tile countertops? Curious what kind of tile and what color grout. I love the way they look but I thought tile was a difficult countertop material for the everyday cook. Your thoughts?