2 - 03 - 2011
Anders and I are truly blessed when we work with a client who has a uniquely wonderful style and knows how to put their personality stamp on their home, and at the same time being an absolute delight to work with.
This particular project was very interesting for us because it was not at all our typical project. Often when we do a major renovation to a home, we are working with a home that is at least 35- years or old. This home was only 7 years old, but it definitely had several design and aesthetic issues, and the floor plan was not at all optimal for the way our client lives in their home.
Our main goals for this project were to create additional living space without adding additional square footage to the home, create a more open and unified floor plan, and add architectural interest and significance with a new color palette to all of the spaces. If you have followed our design blogs you have seen the wonderful blogs posted by our energetic and talented colleague Whitney as she chronicled the different stages of this project….we thought you might like to see a final post.
We actually swapped the location of the dining room – we thought it would be wonderful to have the fireplace in the dining room….of course today it really isn’t a room – because we took away all of the walls that once divided these previous spaces. The carved panels above the fireplace are the most outstanding wood carvings we have ever used….after we built the bar, the opposite side of the room needed some more weight….the use of these panels definitely accomplished that…we finished the panels in one of my favorite colors by Farrow & Ball – Pigeon - with lots of silver leaf and layers of different glazes. What a backdrop for that red Buddha and the fabulous 18th century wooden candelabras.
We thought it made more sense to have a sitting room next to the bar…so that’s where we moved it – next to the Grand Piano which now sits in an entirely different place as well. The bar is truly exquisite…I cannot believe our clients actually trusted us to take two fabulous antique pieces and literally chop them apart….our vision was to create a bar area that would become a focal point for the space – be beautiful enough to be seen when you entered in the front door, and look like something we salvaged out of an old European hotel. Anders is still waiting for the first martini but we know that’s coming soon.
You know that I’m working my way to the kitchen … and in this house the new kitchen is truly the heart of the home. What was once a very small and impersonal kitchen is now twice as big as its former footprint, and is dripping with too many details to mention and all of the functionality that any cook could wish for. The two islands were a special find….old French pastry tables. We left them untouched except where we built in lots of appliances and added the stone tops. When we first found them and our curiosity forced us to open the steel doors they aroma of chocolate came wafting out….how could we resist….we said “these are the two islands” …. And here they are!
We really try to make every refrigerator and freezer look unique yet fit the style of the kitchen. We had the space to go up high so I thought the cubbies for the baskets would just offer more storage…and how about the antique French mirror on the doors – love to use this in a room with no windows to capture the light reflecting around the space. The terra cotta pipe was incorporated around the wine refrigeration to offer more wine storage – but I also wanted to incorporate the terra cotta element into the space. It is amazing how this pipe keeps the red wine the perfect temperature.
The cobalt blue Ilve range set the tone for the kitchen – so we knew the vent hood had to be fab! We have never worked with corbels this size – ginormous! The antique iron backsplash was also a special find – 18th century from France. We built the entire vent hood out of various architectural elements – guaranteed uniqueness!
Why didn’t we have sinks like this when our kids were babies? This sink is so functional…the lower cabinet doors were a design I came up with because my client love some carved panels we found for her….I decided to use all of them to create her doors and drawers with. The overdoor above the sink was a fun find on a buying trip…Anders thought it would be perfect above the sink on the curved wall. We used honey onyx on all of the walls in the kitchen….cut into diamonds.
The kitchen is much more open to the breakfast room now – but again these aren’t rooms just open spaces styled and fitted to the new spaces. This hutch was equal to the French pastry tables in the “must have” factor. When we saw this piece which is actually quite large we just had to have it…..it is very old and was taken out of a farmhouse in France. It is a rustic piece – the bins look like they were used to store grains – heck there were holes in the back of the hutches….I could just see chickens laying their eggs in this piece – but I don’t really think so. The glass is original and very wavy – beautiful! This piece is used not only for every day dishes, but large serving pieces, and my client’s cook books. The urns on top are French reproductions….need some more!
We added the wood paneling to all of these spaces to gain the rich intimacy we get with wood – the kind of feeling you just can’t get from drywall or sheetrock. I used the color Old White from the Farrow & Ball line of colors…it is the perfect color palette for the house - we used it everywhere on the doors and trim throughout the house, this combined with the buff colored tucco finish on the walls is soft, and forgiving - with a life of its own. We brought in reclaimed beams from an old barn in Missouri and the mantle is also a creation using massive architectural elements. The andirons are the best we have ever seen, and purchased on a buying trip with our client.
Our client asked for a spa-like bathroom using soft colors….after a complete reconfiguration of the space this is the new bathroom. I limited the color palette in this room to only 3 colors….celadon green, a medium blue and a soft white.
A dreamy bedroom – now twice as big – again through the elimination of walls and windows to get a better floorplan for furniture. I used the antique Swedish herbariums from Swedish Dekor to build the TV cabinet and bi-fold screen – want the TV – just don’t want to see it when it’s not being used.
This project from start to finish was truly a labor of love and excitement. This Spring I will post a blog about the outdoor spaces…stay tuned…our first Koi pond will be unveiled.
All my best