Healdsburg Couple Transforms 100-Year-Old Cottage Into a Modern Home

Healdsburg Couple Transforms 100-Year-Old Cottage Into a Modern Home

From the sunny side of their Healdsburg road, Katrina Schjerbeck and Danny Brennan’s vintage two-bed room Healdsburg cottage looks freshly up-to-date, with tall windows and a new roof and siding.

But receiving to this close end result took additional than 10 a long time, as the household completed a sequence of assignments in excess of time. The cottage has developed into an expression of the family’s values. It is sustainable, handcrafted and modest and no bigger or fancier than it wants to be.

Schjerbeck, a jewellery designer and co-proprietor of Gallery Lulo in Healdsburg, and Brennan, a laptop or computer engineer who not too long ago started off a line of incredibly hot sauce, stay in the house with their two sons, Lukas, 13, and Kristian, 9, plus an eager-to-make sure you youthful pup, Charlie.

The couple fulfilled a long time ago in Rome via a circle of expat buddies. Schjerbeck, whose father was a member of the Danish diplomatic corps, grew up generally in Africa. Brennan grew up in rural Louisiana. From Europe, the few moved to New Orleans, exactly where they renovated an more mature dwelling alongside one another.

In 2007, soon after living in New Orleans by way of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, they have been open up to earning a move. On a whim, Schjerbeck visited Healdsburg while in the Bay Region for a jewelry demonstrate.

“She arrived again to New Orleans and explained she believed we must shift there. And I swear, there was a bottle of wine on the table, and it explained Healdsburg on it. And I was just, like, very well, which is high-quality,” Brennan stated, laughing.

House owner Katrina Schjerbeck sets the dining desk with puppy Charlie. The chandelier above the table is a handblown glass design from SkLO Studio. (Eileen Roche)
Katrina Schjerbeck and Danny Brennan loaded their household with objects that express their values, from publications and ceramics to artwork. (Eileen Roche)

The best cottage

They rented in city for three decades prior to finding their cottage, which is inside of strolling distance of the plaza and Schjerbeck’s gallery.

“It just looked like it was authentic — these tall, lovely home windows and classic wooden everywhere,” Brennan stated. “It reminded me of a 115-calendar year-previous residence in New Orleans.”

Schjerbeck and Brennan claimed the circa-1915 cottage was a classic circumstance of superior bones and probability, but problems inside of were rough. The floors were being slanted. There was no warmth. The foundation was pretty considerably nonexistent (“it was just sitting on mud,” Brennan explained), and at the back again of the residence, a tacked-on utility home gave the total structure an off-kilter sense.

They introduced out the hammers and saws on Working day 1, identified to help save funds and do significantly of the function them selves, as they had in New Orleans. They hired contractors to do the major lifting with the basis, but they tackled trim, tile and other end perform.

They taken off levels of outdated paint to reveal stunning original Douglas fir subfloors. “After the war, I consider there was just a surplus of military green paint,” Brennan mused. “You’re thinking, that is gotta be anyone throwing it down in the ’50s just for the reason that it was free of charge.”

People initial five yrs had been a little bit of a whirlwind, with two younger small children, Brennan’s entire-time position, Schjerbeck’s gallery and big renovation assignments getting up their no cost time.

“I remember we were consistently scraping down popcorn ceilings, and we didn’t have a dishwasher for decades,” Schjerbeck reported. “The home was up on stilts although we did the foundation. You look again and are like, wow, how did you do that?”

“It was a lot less nerve-racking when you experienced a glass of wine at night time,” Brennan joked.

Top quality of window mild

They are lastly at a halting issue, Schjerbeck and Brennan explained, immediately after not too long ago completing a extended-awaited new kitchen and adding a new household home and wall of home windows wanting out to the again backyard garden.

For Schjerbeck, the excellent of light from the windows, equally classic authentic ones and the modern window wall in back, make the residence. She and Brennan explained the seem as pared-down and cozy, accurate to Schjerbeck’s Danish roots.

“We generally have new music on and little candles in the winter season. The children appreciate individuals points. And I like freshness. I adore cleanness,” Schjerbeck claimed. She and Brennan have crammed the house with ceramics, artwork and books, specially handmade objects with in depth craftsmanship. They’re not extremely important items, but items the spouse and children uses every single working day.

Katrina Schjerbeck and Danny Brennan did a lot of the perform themselves on their 1915 Healdsburg cottage. (Eileen Roche)
Katrina Schjerbeck and Danny Brennan want their sons to remember and value all that went into the renovation of their spouse and children house in Healdsburg. (Eileen Roche)

The most well-liked spot in the home is the kitchen area island, utilised for cooking alongside one another, art tasks and research. Schjerbeck enjoys to bake with the kids, and just about every Friday is do-it-yourself pizza night.

“We’re major into farmers marketplaces, and I’d say 75% of our everyday living on the weekends revolves close to food — purchasing, prepping, taking in,” Brennan reported.

Brennan and Schjerbeck explained they hope they’ve cemented a love of more mature residences in their two sons.

“I believe it is likely to really feel usual to them,” Brennan mentioned. “Like, this is what a making that was crafted in the 1600s or the 1900s feels like — solidity of the wood, the high quality of the light-weight.”

Katrina Schjerbeck and Danny Brennan stuffed their two-bedroom Healdsburg cottage with art and handmade objects with in-depth craftsmanship. (Eileen Roche)
Katrina Schjerbeck and Danny Brennan delight in a straightforward aesthetic in their Healdsburg property that involves loads of plants. (Eileen Roche)

Lukas and Kirstian try to remember the levels of the renovation, and the spouse and children usually talks about the do the job they’ve lived by means of and the projects they continue to want to full. The couple want the boys to recognize their life are enriched by the time and effort and hard work they’ve invested in the dwelling, and the transformation evolved more than time, slowly and sustainably.

“It’s like every little thing in our lives. We have experienced to do it minimal by tiny,” Schjerbeck mentioned. “You improve that way — and you know the foundation’s genuinely solid.”

Gallery Lulo, which Katrina Schjerbeck co-owns with Karen Gilbert of glass art business SkLO Studio, focuses on modern-day craft and layout. The partners carry the work of 40 jewelry makers and high-quality artists, which includes a lot of from the Healdsburg area. 303 Heart St., Healdsburg. 707-433-7533, gallerylulo.com

Previous year, Danny Brennan launched Healdsburg Ferments, offering fermented cayenne pepper scorching sauce. healdsburgferments.com

All over City

House owners Katrina Schjerbeck and Danny Brennan say their weekends drop into a comfortable cadence of meals shopping and farmers markets. A few of their Healdsburg favorites:


Schjerbeck’s go-to’s are the fried inexperienced tomatoes and eggs Benedict. And the whole household enjoys that you can sit outside the house and carry your canine. 60 Mill St., Healdsburg. 707-431-8474, theparishcafe.com


They say they can very easily devote an hour or two browsing the guides and artwork and listening to jazz on the stereo at this family-owned place on the plaza, not considerably from Schjerbeck’s gallery. 306 Middle St., Healdsburg. 707-433-1118, levinbooks.com


Treats for Charlie at this downtown pet store with humorous toys and beautiful leashes and bandanas. 43 North St., Healdsburg. 707-433-9935, fideaux.net


Right after a morning in town, it is a brief, scenic travel out to Preston, in which the household likes to deliver picnics and sit out under the olive trees, and the moms and dads can take pleasure in a glass of wine. “We adore the informality of the place,” suggests Schjerbeck. 9282 W. Dry Creek Rd., Healdsburg. 707-433-3372, prestonfarmandwinery.com

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