At Home: Vintage pieces give character to Sunset home 

When Maggie Dawkins and her husband bought their three-bedroom Sunset district home in August, there was little to do before they moved in, as the home had been renovated just four years earlier, she said.

“We jumped on it,” she said. “What we wanted to do was to be near the park and in The City ... the stars were aligned.”

But Dawkins counts black and white among her favorite colors, so the couple added a black marble counter in the kitchen, put in vintage light fittings, and painted throughout, covering over the bright browns and turquoises that had dominated the home — all the walls and ceilings are now shades of gray and white.

“I love gray walls,” Dawkins said. “It’s funny,” she laughed. “When I was telling people that we’re going to move in and paint every room and they’d go ‘Oh, what colors?!” and I’d say, ‘gray,’ — no excitement would come out of that!”

Only the bathroom is dominated by color, with blue and green tiles and white cabinetry. Elsewhere, colors appear only infrequently amid black and white, as accents in each part of the home.

A red electric “D” in the stairwell is a punch of color next to the gentle blacks, whites and grays elsewhere in the house.

“I found it two months ago. It has the lights inside it, still ... but I have to have it rewired,” Dawkins said.

Yet the home has none of the austerity that the palette might suggest. Dawkins has decorated with delicate vintage black ink prints — including a series of fish drawings in the kitchen — and bold antique signage that has softened with age. An elegant black vintage dresser in the main bedroom has gentle, undulating lines.

In the dining room and living room, vintage glass seltzer and pharmacy bottles and ornaments and mirrored frames sparkle in the light that filters into the flat from north and south-facing windows.

“I like these kinds of things,” she said. “This is sort of what I think of as art or decoration. I think a lot of people think of it as junk. But I love it.”

Buying older furnishings can mean some refurbishment is necessary. Dawkins spray-painted black two typewriter tables — one from the Alameda antiques market and the other from Timeless Treasures on Sutter Street — so they’d work with the main bedroom. And she had to have an old glass-topped coffee repaired after breaking the glass — the new glass top is tempered, she noted.

But old furniture has its advantages too.

“I love buying vintage things because it really is more green,” she said.


Style Keys

Favorite places for antique finds: Alameda flea market, Timeless Treasures, antique and home furnishings stores
in San Anselmo
Favorite colors: Black and white, Kelly green, yellow
Favorite room: Dining room — “Although I don’t use it enough!”
Favorite piece: Mirrored sun clock — “I looked for one forever.”
Favorite collectible: Kitchen scales — “I put them in every room.”

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Brigid Gaffikin

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