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A Santa Cruz Victorian Fit for a Queen

by Annie Werbler

As the owner of Stripe Design Group and two auxiliary decor stores in Santa Cruz, CA, British expat Suna Lock enjoys the city’s Victorian architecture, which she feels is reminiscent of her beloved London. The voluminous rooms and high ceilings of this 1877 Italianate home are situated within walking distance to downtown, as Lock often misses the hustle and bustle of her former urban life. Many of the older houses in this region are carved up into apartments, but the original layout of this one is still intact. After moving in a decade ago, Lock further opened up the space by knocking out the wall between her kitchen and dining room to further integrate the two areas, while staining the floors black, choosing a saturated paint color palette, and selecting unique Mexican tiles for each individual stair. Lock resides here with her children, Thomas and Erica, as well as her love Josh, who joined them two years back.

The designer set out to have guests and residents alike feel immediately comfortable upon entering her home, in contrast with the building’s austere exterior. One interesting fact about the place among many — little alcoves line the walls leading up the stairs. Lock learned from her chimney sweep that these recesses are called “coffin corners,” and are designed so that if somebody were to pass away upstairs, that person could be carried down without scratching the walls. Thankfully, nobody has ever departed in the house, but the family does find this unusual feature useful for moving larger pieces of furniture up and down the stairs!  —Annie

Photography by Tommy Parker

Sneak Peek: A Singular Santa Cruz Victorian Fit for a Queen, on Design*Sponge
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Suna Lock's dining room "wall of weird." The wooden carved skull is a papier-mâché mold from the 1930s.
Sneak Peek: A Singular Santa Cruz Victorian Fit for a Queen, on Design*Sponge
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The dining room facing the front of the house with its original, likely 1940s, chandelier is juxtaposed with an 1800s railroad sleeper-constructed table and modernist Verner Panton chairs. Walls are covered in Kelly-Moore Rolling Stone.
Sneak Peek: A Singular Santa Cruz Victorian Fit for a Queen, on Design*Sponge
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Looking from the dining room back into the kitchen.
Sneak Peek: A Singular Santa Cruz Victorian Fit for a Queen, on Design*Sponge
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The upper kitchen cabinets are accessed by a library ladder which hooks onto a rail that runs around the room.
Sneak Peek: A Singular Santa Cruz Victorian Fit for a Queen, on Design*Sponge
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The stained black floors reveal hints of natural oak.
Sneak Peek: A Singular Santa Cruz Victorian Fit for a Queen, on Design*Sponge
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Charlie rests on a window seat in the kitchen.
Sneak Peek: A Singular Santa Cruz Victorian Fit for a Queen, on Design*Sponge
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Lock redesigned the kitchen with shelves for her vintage teapot collection in mind. She epoxyed a toy airplane to the refrigerator because the look seemed very stern without it.
Sneak Peek: A Singular Santa Cruz Victorian Fit for a Queen, on Design*Sponge
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The library's original pocket doors are one of Lock's favorite details in the house, as is the frequently-used fireplace. The bright blue living room walls in the foreground are painted in Benjamin Moore How Blue Am I.
Sneak Peek: A Singular Santa Cruz Victorian Fit for a Queen, on Design*Sponge
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The library has deep bay windows not seen in new constructions. Its yellow walls are covered in Benjamin Moore Artichoke Hearts.
Sneak Peek: A Singular Santa Cruz Victorian Fit for a Queen, on Design*Sponge
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The mantelpiece features an old broken clock from Lock's father, even though he didn't really understand why she loved it.
Sneak Peek: A Singular Santa Cruz Victorian Fit for a Queen, on Design*Sponge
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The family bathroom with a mirror collection that will eventually cover all of the walls.
Sneak Peek: A Singular Santa Cruz Victorian Fit for a Queen, on Design*Sponge
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The cabinet on which the sink sits was made by Lock as part of a larger school project.
Sneak Peek: A Singular Santa Cruz Victorian Fit for a Queen, on Design*Sponge
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The Kelly-Moore Rock Wall paint color was on the walls of Lock's London bathroom, and is the only color she has replicated between the two homes.
Sneak Peek: A Singular Santa Cruz Victorian Fit for a Queen, on Design*Sponge
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Lock tiled the stair risers herself, and it was a labor of love. The bright blue wallcolor is Benjamin Moore 754 Wilmington Spruce, and the dark grey stair underside is done in a color called French Beret.
Sneak Peek: A Singular Santa Cruz Victorian Fit for a Queen, on Design*Sponge
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The chair at the top of the stairs was purchased by Lock at the age of 12. Original distressed painted-wood treads were a surprise upon removing old carpet. The white paint on the sides was left alone and tied into the decor.
Sneak Peek: A Singular Santa Cruz Victorian Fit for a Queen, on Design*Sponge
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A Peruvian throw over the master bedroom headborad is from Lock's store, as is the woven one. The painting was her first of many by local artist Brian Rounds. Walls are Benjamin Moore Blue Dusk.
Sneak Peek: A Singular Santa Cruz Victorian Fit for a Queen, on Design*Sponge
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Detail of a mirror in the upstairs bathroom.
Sneak Peek: A Singular Santa Cruz Victorian Fit for a Queen, on Design*Sponge
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Erica (9 years old) is an avid animal lover and plays guitar with Charlie, the dog. Her brother, Thomas (11, not shown), is a keen soccer player and pianist.
Sneak Peek: A Singular Santa Cruz Victorian Fit for a Queen, on Design*Sponge
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Suna Lock on her front stoop with pups Charlie and Trigg. Duke the rabbit (not shown) was born on the ranch where Erica did equestrian camp last year, and she insisted upon bringing him home.
Sneak Peek: A Singular Santa Cruz Victorian Fit for a Queen, on Design*Sponge
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"What I love most about my home is the mixture of old and new." - Suna Lock
Sneak Peek: A Singular Santa Cruz Victorian Fit for a Queen, on Design*Sponge
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Floorplans for Suna Lock's Santa Cruz, CA Victorian home.

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Comments

  • I’ve never heard of coffin corners before! How cool. Also, as a short person, I definitely feel like the library ladder in the kitchen is the best idea ever.

  • love the color throughout, homey and modern at once. great feel all around! her collections of this and that showing up here and there. really lovely. wonderful feature!

  • Love the choice of colors! You have really done a nice job of keeping the Victorian roots while not making it stuffy and antiquated. The tiled stairs are fun, too.

  • I used to live in SC and absolutely adored Stripe. Completely unsurprised to see the proprietor has such a lovely home.

  • Love this house. So much character, personality and warmth. Lovely family home. Could you please share the paint colour names? Specifically the bathroom, living room and dining room.
    Thanks. One of my favourite homes you’ve featured.

    • Hi Sandy,

      Its actually a cast iron door in an intricate floral pattern painted white.

      Best,

  • gorgeous home! I’m so taken with her bold use of color and her mix of modern design and the charm that comes with displaying all her treasures. great house tour!