Wall Street Journal contributor Kelly Marages takes a look at how Los Angeles-based design studio Nickey Kehoe appeased its client's modern tastes after they made a surprising purchase of a 1930s-era "Storybook"-style house.

The firm, which was tasked with applying a modern aesthetic to the home's interior, elected to bridge the two contrasting styles rather than juxtapose them.

In the dining room, the team gave the wood-paneled walls a more minimal look with Benjamin Moore’s Simply White in eggshell. They then supplemented the client's existing pieces—an Alex Katz print and mid-century George Nakashima cherry credenza—with modernist elements that read more warm than stark, plus a 21st-century dining table and a couple of wild cards, like the Rococo-style frame at right and a Victorian carved plant stand.

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