A California couple uses ingenuity and rescued materials to transform a former creamery into a charm-filled oasis.
A California couple uses ingenuity and rescued materials to transform a former creamery into a charm- filled oasis.
What was once part of the original creamery now serves as an eating area with a well-worn pine farm table, mismatched chairs and a chandelier the couple brought from their previous home in Omaha, Nebraska. French doors constructed by Michael provide plenty of natural light and allow both kids and animals the freedom to come and go.
It was her love of houses and a simple “open house” sign that led Nancy Daly to venture down a quiet dead-end road eight years ago. Little did she know at the time, but that journey would begin what would become her family’s biggest renovation project and the start of a lifestyle they had always wanted.
No strangers to living a life less ordinary, Nancy and her husband, Michael, had already rehabbed several old homes, and after spending a year caravanning across Europe with their three young children, their love for architecture and timeworn materials was only reinforced. So, it was no surprise when Nancy followed that sign to a former creamery in need of extensive repairs that she and her family jumped at the chance to create their dream home.
Michael, a skilled carpenter and contractor by trade, shared the vision for transforming the creamery into a home where their children could grow and thrive with plenty of room to run. “We were drawn to the light of the property,” Nancy says, “and it was so run down that we knew we could make something out of it.”
Although the creamery had been used as a private residence and, rumor has it, as a horse stable for years before the Dalys bought it, the process of transforming it into a livable house that would suit a family of five was a slow and arduous one. “Though Michael worked on the house before we moved in, we lived without windows the first summer, and our kitchen was outside,” Nancy recalls. “It was quite an experience and fun.”
It’s that kind of laid-back attitude, love of family, and knack for finding and repurposing old materials that has allowed the couple to continue adding to and enjoying their home for nearly a decade. Having both grown up on the prairies of Nebraska, they can appreciate a well-built house, but they realize that the people who live there are its heart. “We love to hang out at home or have friends come by,” Nancy says. “It’s not a place to display our goods, just a place to sink into a chair with a book, or milk the goat, make some cheese and eat it!”
We watch movies, do homework there; it’s been
really fun to have that.” “Our master bedroom now serves as the hub of the
ABOVE LEFT: An antique shelf hangs above a tile-topped pine sideboard in Nancy and Michael Daly’s kitchen, providing the perfect spot to showcase small collections of vintage tins, books, creamers, and art pieces created by the Daly children. ABOVE RIGHT: Wooden shoes worn by daughters Greer and Blythe during the family’s yearlong sojourn in Europe are of little interest to baby goat June, who prefers to nibble on a sunflower instead. LEFT: A delicious treat of homemade bread and local honey sits atop an antique breadboard. The blue seltzer bottle belonged to Nancy’s father, who owned several restaurants and bars while she was growing up. RIGHT: A collection of handmade wood planers, which are both beautiful and practical, were a gift to Michael when he was first starting in construction.
TOP LEFT: A vintage cast-iron Salter scale is an ideal spot to nestle one of Nancy’s many antique bowls. “I have always collected bowls,” Nancy says. The farm painting was a $5 antique-store treasure found while living in Nebraska. BOTTOM LEFT: True to the name of their design and construction company, Bootleg Builders, the couple prefers
using found objects to create a one-of-a-kind look. Repurposed elements such as an industrial window, milk-bottle pendant lights and recycled cabinetry blend seamlessly with the more modern AGA stove. THIS PAGE: “I didn’t want permanent cabinets,” Nancy recalls about designing the kitchen. A reclaimed hospital sink, once used for washing infants, sits atop an old desk that came from a local redwood company. The matching shelf above houses teacups, plates and bowls in varying shades of blue that beautifully complement the blue-and-white French tiled backsplash. Thick marble slabs that adorned a bathroom in another life were broken to create stylish and hardworking countertops.
ABOVE LEFT: A blue-and-white spatterware pitcher that belonged to Michael’s mother overflows with sunflowers and delphinium as it sits on a rustic coffee table that Michael constructed. ABOVE RIGHT: A friend’s Angora bunny named Littler is a welcome guest on the living room sofa surrounded by pillows made from fabric collected at yard sales. BELOW: A garden sprinkler in the shape of a tractor is a memento from Michael’s childhood and harks back to both Nancy’s and his upbringings on the prairies of Nebraska. OPPOSITE: The living room’s brick beehive-style fireplace was added to the creamery in the 1960s, and the metal chimney was sourced from an old steamboat. A little door concealed behind the wood paneling leads to a small wine cellar and office that Michael dug out underneath the dining room during the renovation process.
After the couple purchased the property, their three children all shared an upstairs loft area that could only be accessed with a ladder and trapdoor. Today, with the addition of a staircase, the upstairs is now a living space and serves as the couple’s master bedroom. The wood paneling and wide-plank floors came from a 110-year-old warehouse that Michael purchased in the Midwest. Family pieces such as the green wardrobe do double duty defining the space and storing fabric, while the vintage green table serves as a place to fold laundry.
ABOVE LEFT: An orange pitcher filled with sunflowers happily complements the colors found in the curtains fashioned from old awning fabric. ABOVE RIGHT: A quilt- covered sofa, an old jelly cupboard with original paint, and an Eastlake dresser Nancy purchased in college and transported in the back of her Volvo round out the living portion of the master retreat. “Our master bedroom now serves as the hub of the house,” Nancy says. “We watch movies, do homework there; it’s been really fun to have that.” BELOW: One of Nancy’s favorite pieces in the master bedroom is the painting above the bed, a $ 20 garage-sale find depicting the local California countryside. It mimics the colorful bedding and pillows Nancy created from collected vintage fabrics.