I best describe myself as an eclectic minimalist — mixing styles, textures and colors in unexpected ways while not over-decorating.
When I began designing our home, a few things were non-negotiable for my husband, Jonathan, and me: access to natural light, a blank canvas for our ever-growing art collection and an open concept that would make our 2,180-square-foot home feel both spacious and inviting. The inspiration behind this remodel truly lies within our art. I desired to create a dwelling that would seamlessly blend traditional living spaces with the function and aesthetic of a gallery. In order to achieve this, I selected a warm white for the walls and millwork, solid white oak floors in a matte finish and LED recessed lighting in conjunction with decorative lighting elements. To create visual contrast, matte black door hardware is installed throughout. The shared areas combine to create an L-shaped plan, offering both open and semi-enclosed spaces unlike typical open concepts. With picture windows flanking the north, south and west, an abundance of natural light can be enjoyed throughout.
Jonathan and I began collecting art around five years ago. Some of our favorite days have been those spent walking through galleries and festivals, meeting the creative minds with whom our society is blessed. As we look around our home, we are continuously inspired, stimulated by the inherent emotion in each piece and reminded of all we have experienced in our life together. Allowing the architectural finishes to fall to the background allows for the art to transform each space. Our collection is eclectic, varying from originals to reproductions, realism to abstract, watercolor to ink and oil, paintings to pottery and woodworking. In addition, we prefer to frame or display each piece independently of the next, creating visual texture as your eye moves from room to room.
First impressions are everything — that’s why I chose to go with a custom ombré paint treatment in the entry. I love the drama that the rapid change from dark to light creates without being busy or taking away from its surroundings. If you do not have access to an artist or faux finisher who can help you create this aesthetic, there are similar wallpaper versions available. Due to ceiling height constraints and the desire to leave sightlines uninterrupted, I opted to have a custom semi-flush black bronze and brass fixture constructed. Working with artisans gives me the opportunity to create something one of a kind for my home and achieve an exact aesthetic.
I decided to strip the kitchen of color in order to create a visual break from the adjacent spaces; I couldn’t be happier with the drama the simplistic palette provides. To accomplish this, all vertical surfaces are white, tone-on-tone pattern created by the shaker-style cabinets and subway tile backsplash that extends to the ceiling. Black iron cabinet hardware in conjunction with Absolute Black granite counters creates a high level of contrast characteristic to minimalist stylings.
Adjacent to the kitchen is my favorite room in the house: the keeping room. Today, often replaced in plan by a breakfast area, this secondary seating application dates to colonial times. For those who enjoy entertaining, this is the perfect space to keep your guests close by while preparing a meal. I selected low-back soft seating for this space in order to not impede the large picture windows original to the structure while providing ample space for multiple guests to converse. Though the kitchen remains entirely monochromatic, the color utilized in the primary living and dining space is reintroduced here through textiles to add warmth and help delineate the two.
The living room remains relatively neutral with pops of color incorporated through pillows and decorative accessories. This is a great approach for homeowners who are having difficulty introducing color. In this case, the soft seating is upholstered in light, solid neutrals to help balance the oversized custom built-in that houses my husband’s book collection. Each opening is 18 inches deep, providing me space to layer books with decorative accessories adding texture and color to the wall. The mantle is handcrafted, repurposing leftover flooring material.
What is a dining room without a stand-out light fixture? I designed the whole room around the brass and champagne glass chandelier; I love the clean lines and mod flair. In keeping with the mid-century modern styling, the dark espresso mango wood table was screaming for a charge of color; chartreuse was the answer. The yellow-green perfectly complements the blue undertones in the ombré wall treatment and slate velvet curtains. Installing the window treatments to run from floor to ceiling is not only more updated, but helps to give the illusion that the ceiling is higher. The space showcases the beauty of mixing metallics, from the brass fixture to the mercury glass lamps.
I would encourage first-time homeowners to not feel rushed into purchasing furniture or accessories. I think there is something incredibly rewarding in searching for pieces you feel emotionally connected to in lieu of simply filling space with something temporary or uninspiring. Another thing to remember is that it doesn’t have to be expensive to look fabulous — great design can be achieved at any price point. Take risks and create a space that is a reflection of self.