True Colors


Nystrom Design invigorates a Berkeley home with vibrant color

Mid-century furniture grounds the vibrant paint selections. Photos by Liz Daly, styled by Allegra Hsiao.
Nystrom designed custom built-ins for the clients’ extensive art and record collection. Photos by Liz Daly, styled by Allegra Hsiao.

When a fun family of five started to outgrow their Berkeley home, they called upon Nystrom Design to give it a second life. Architect Matt Waitkus of MW Design started by drafting a new architectural plan that opened up the home creating a better flow, larger bathrooms, a more functional kitchen and a new powder room. He recommended the clients work with Ellen Nystrom and her team on selecting finishes and fixtures and ultimately all of the furnishings for this full-house renovation. The project came to life under the expertise of Proyecto Builders who expertly installed custom built-ins and complex tile installations. 

Tuolumne Meadows tile by Fireclay warms up the kitchen. Photos by Liz Daly, styled by Allegra Hsiao.
A Selemat pendant hangs over the kitchenette. Photos by Liz Daly, styled by Allegra Hsiao.

To match the family’s vibrant personalities, Nystrom adorned the 2,100 square foot Dutch Colonial Single Family Home in the Berkeley Hills with bold color, materials and textures. “Our goal was to design a home that aligned with our clients’ personality by striking a balance between old and new, bold and understated,” says Nystrom. “Inspired by our clients’ treasures and love of color, we strived to create a space that is fresh, modern and wonderfully eclectic. “

Thibaut wallpaper lines the dining room ceiling. Photos by Liz Daly, styled by Allegra Hsiao.

From a functional standpoint, they wanted an updated kitchen with a connected dining area,” Nystrom says. Not only did they open up the kitchen, they made a big statement with a canary yellow backsplash and cobalt blue cabinets that complement the Terracotta tile. The formal dining room showcases mid-century furniture sitting below a warm, eclectic wallpaper that lines the ceiling.

The ‘Turtle Room’ guest room was inspired by the owners who got married at the Monterey Bay Aquarium in front of the turtle exhibit. Photos by Liz Daly, styled by Allegra Hsiao.
Photos by Liz Daly, styled by Allegra Hsiao.

The Nystrom team embraced the clients’ eccentric collection of Armenian and African art and objets. They paired the pieces with classic mid-century furniture and textiles that complemented the rarities found during their travels. The result is a playful, quirky home dazzled with saturated colors. Nystrom noted, “knowing when to provide relief from color and constraining the color palette was key.”

Serena & Lily bedding and side tables from Noir dazzle in the master bedroom. Photos by Liz Daly, styled by Allegra Hsiao.

“They had a number of treasured pieces they wanted incorporated into the new design, including a pair of quirky green sconces that inspired the color scheme of the master bathroom,” says Nystrom. The vintage lights are grounded by the designers selections of Fireclay Tile.

A pair of vintage sconces, previously owned by the client, inspired the selection of the Kelp tile by Fireclay tile. Photos by Liz Daly, styled by Allegra Hsiao.
Nystrom mixed 6″ triangle tiles by Fireclay Evergreen (the dark green), KelpSeedlingMagnolia with the Kelp tile in the shower. Photos by Liz Daly, styled by Allegra Hsiao.

The team made sure that each bedroom and bathroom possess a strong personality through color and materials. “To maintain a sense of continuity, the colors had to complement each other in hue and saturation, but allow for each room to have its own identity,” notes Nystrom.

The final result is a home that is truly one of a kind and represents the clients’ authentic love of travel and color. “The clients have expressed their gratitude that we were so responsive to their personal style and preferences,” says Nystrom. “They also appreciated our attention to detail and how we were able to embrace their “vibe” and make the home feel unique and very much their own.”