Designer Laura Vogtle’s newest showroom concept corrals mostly one-of-a-kind antique and vintage pieces in Birmingham’s Lakeview District.
When designer, art dealer and shop proprietress Laura Vogtle debuted Birmingham’s Design Supply in 2017, she ushered in a new era for design sourcing, stocking brands local customers previously had to drive hours to find. Now Germane, her by-appointment showroom opening this month mere blocks away in the Lakeview District, arrives in concert with a sophisticated e-commerce companion for shoppers in other states. “It’s predominantly antiques, handmade and similar finds,” Vogtle reveals. “Almost everything is one of a kind.”
What inspired Germane? I love art, I love antiques and I’ve always had this vision of where I wanted to be—I’ve just been chipping away at it. When I decorate, I prefer to mix old things with new, and art with the this and the that. So, I was just trying to get it all under one umbrella so we could truly be a full-service design house.
How did the idea for a new showroom come about? I wanted more inventory at my fingertips for design projects. Which meant multiple containers coming from many different countries—and all those pieces weren’t going to fit on the Design Supply floor.
Tell us about your new space. It adds 12,000 square feet to Design Supply’s 9,000. It’s more of a warehouse feel, with pretty storefront windows and great natural light.
We hear you’re launching a new collection of furnishings this fall, too. We’re calling it Opal: headboards, benches, dining chairs, swivel chairs and sofas in six styles, with a few available in sectional configurations. They’re comfortable, livable pieces with an emphasis on interesting, textural, mostly European fabrics. And we’re answering a big local demand for in-stock upholstery.
Luxury surface company Cosentino has added Chicago to the ranks of global design hubs such as Manhattan, Miami, Barcelona and more with its debut of a new City showroom in River North. Created for the world’s top metropolitan areas, the Cosentino City concept brings the latest digital technology together for design professionals to experience the company’s expansive offerings, from Dekton to Silestone. Using the high-tech Selection Center, visitors can instantly view detailed images of slabs and create lifelike renderings to visualize how various Cosentino materials will appear in different settings.
“They have a large family, and wanted generous rooms and spaces, but it was very important to them that their home not feel ostentatious,” the designer notes. “They wanted the home to rise up to meet them in their daily lives, which are really quite casual.” Signing on from the project’s inception meant Paranjape could focus on the foundational aspects of the home—like locating the central staircase away from the front door—all the way to the decorative layer. “We had an opportunity to create continuity,” she explains. “Each room has its own character and highlights, but they all feel cohesive. We were able to accomplish that because we got to help mold the DNA of the project.”
Defined by white brick with crisp black accents, the envelope of the architecture is stately, yet simple. “It’s not overly detailed, but we have details in the right spots,” explains architect David Anderson, who worked with general contractor Palmer Albertine to establish sight lines from the front door all the way to the rear of the property, visible through floor-to-ceiling windows. Rather than build up every inch of the estate, the team opted to embrace negative space, with landscape designer Marley Fields even specifying a 40-yard span of Palisades Zoysia grass between the main structure and pool house that created plentiful square footage for the couple’s four children to play. As a result, the standalone escape became the true destination the husband had requested, complete with every amenity his family needed—a living room, dining area, full bathroom, kitchen and game area—for quality time or entertaining.
“The pool house is at a distance, so it’s kind of a commitment to venture out there—and that was by design,” Paranjape explains. Dialing up lap siding details from the main residence for the latter’s façade made the two buildings cohesive, but not overly so. “They’re nice companions for each other,” notes the designer, who suggested porthole windows to punctuate Anderson’s arrangements. Beyond the bifold doors, the 24-foot vaulted ceiling ensures interiors flooded with light. Here, Paranjape took the notion of relaxation one note further, reaching for a coastal-inspired palette of pale blues and sun-washed neutrals, along with weather- resistant materials and open-weave textures easily penetrated by sunlight or cooling breezes.
Back in the main house, her finishing touches played to a backdrop of matte-finished oak floors, warm metals and cedar ceiling beams, which collectively soften any suggestion of formality. Using texture to weave rooms together visually, she assembled a fresh collection of furnishings, rugs and art—a fringed fiber piece by Dallas artist Lauren Williams above the family room sofa, for example—that put a premium on everyday comfort. To temper Anderson’s luminous architecture, she then leveraged contrast to create moments of design tension. Black grass cloth, for example, clads a portion of the gallery running the length of the house, while deep navy richens the husband’s home office and ebony cerused oak pairs with leathered black galaxy granite for the genteel bar.
Granted the flexibility to make creative choices, the design team delivered little luxuries at every turn—though some of these are in areas guests may never see. Namely, Anderson and Paranjape were in enthusiastic alignment about including the modern scullery (separated from the showstopping main kitchen by a pair of 19th-century white oak doors), as well as a suite of utilitarian “back of house” spaces to support daily activities and simplify traffic flow. Throughout the project, when occasions called for course-correction—as when the owners requested to enlarge the back porch after the slab was poured—nimble project management by Albertine and team allowed “the many details to come together with reasonable solutions,” Anderson affirms. “Palmer could look ahead to see areas that needed clarification, and that makes for a great collaboration.”
In the end, perhaps the highest praise comes from the family fortunate to live within a home that redefines their very concept of what that could be—while exceeding their every expectation. Sums the husband: “It’s everything we wanted, exactly as we wanted.”
The clients emphasized the importance of respecting the surrounding environment. To speak to the local vernacular, Dunham recommended residential designer Larry Pearson. He was familiar with Pearson’s work and confident that he could create the contemporary but relaxed vibe the couple was looking for yet stay true to the setting. “We love regional materials,” notes Pearson, who worked with general contractor Kelcey Bingham to incorporate recycled timber and Montana moss rock. “The exterior color scheme and materials blend into the setting,” adds Bingham. A sense of place was top of mind for landscape architect Kurt Vomfell as well. “The goal was to reflect the character of Montana,” says Vomfell. He points to the native and near-native plantings he used that “feel like they were found in a meadow here.”
While the team wanted the residence to fit in, they also wanted it to be aesthetically interesting. So, Pearson flipped the script on a classic lake house. A guest house was erected at the top of the hill, with the main house set below. The entry from the motor court leads to a foyer from which a stone staircase descends into the social spaces at lake level. “This is a home that touches the water,” Pearson says. “So, you’re engaging with the lake.”
A contemporary style was important, but, Pearson asserts, an ultra-sleek modern home was never his goal. It was important, he says, “that you can take your shoes off, walk down to the beach, jump in a boat and come back in soaking wet.” Adds Dunham: “It was much more about organic modernism. Larry was very invested in how his design was working between these materials. You’ve got really beautiful stonework, woodwork, hand-troweled plasterwork and iron elements that he brought in.”
Since the clients didn’t want what Dunham calls “a serious, monochromatic house,” he incorporated color but carefully considered its usage. “The outside view is stunning with the shades of blue and gray-blue. When the lake goes bright, it’s green,” he says. “You’ve got the green of the trees and the colors of the mountains. So those are what you want to celebrate.” The designer worked in verdant tones through furnishings such as teal pendants in the kitchen, a sea-green sofa in the foyer and light green swivel chairs in the living room. Varying shades of sand that nod to the beach set the backdrop.
When Dunham did choose to use other colors—mixing in burnt-orange and saffron-yellow dining chairs among the blue and green ones; designing a sectional upholstered in a pumpkin-colored chenille for the sitting room—he kept them muted rather than bright and intended for them to support the vibrant art. “A lot of the art is quite fresh,” Dunham says. “You didn’t want to put up works that felt sludgy.”
To this end, he hung a vintage tapestry prominently in the dining room. Its black background and bold colors contribute an eye-catching graphic quality and a bit of drama, while the textile itself mutes noise and adds softness against the stone walls and steel-framed windows. The result: A room where dinners last for hours, thanks also to the generously scaled chairs covered in a stain-proof leather that is “semi-indestructible,” says Dunham.
This isn’t the only room for gatherings. The entire house is designed for groups. There’s the cozy nook in the living area warmed by a fireplace—the perfect spot for card games—the inviting orange sectional and the many seating areas out on the deck. Which is precisely the point, Dunham muses. “I look back, and I see the picture over the lake or the chairs around the fire pit and think, ‘that’s somewhere I’d like to be.’ ”
“It’s one of only three homes on the sixth fairway with due southwest orientation,” notes general contractor Anthony Salcito Jr. “It’s really the best lot in Silverleaf.” With its stunning vistas of the golf course, valley and mountains, the property was indeed so special that the couple decided to buy it, despite the house not being to their taste. “The existing house was sitting too low on the site and aligned in the wrong direction,” Anthony recalls. “The more elevated you are, the more you capture the views, so in order to do that, the whole house needed to be realigned.” In a bold move, the couple decided to tear down the house, bringing on Anthony, his designer wife Rebecca Salcito, architect Erik Peterson and landscape architect Jeff Berghoff to construct their getaway from the ground up. “This is one of the most special lots in Silverleaf, almost as good as being on the ocean,” Peterson says. “You have to know a lot is worth it when someone purchases a home and tears it down.”
“Capturing views of the valley, desert and spectacular Scottsdale sunsets from virtually every room in the house was our top priority,” says the husband. Though the couple are technically empty nesters, their adult daughters frequently return home for visits, so they sought an expansive gathering place for the whole family to seek refuge from the cold Colorado winters. They also wanted ample space for entertaining their friends, many of whom share the couple’s passion for golf.
Peterson drew upon the current trends in Los Angeles (he has a satellite office in Beverly Hills), conceiving a modern Mediterranean-style dwelling, mixing old- and new-world materials—think a limestone exterior, Douglas-fir beams, steel windows and tile roofs. “We had to fight to be allowed to do this style in Silverleaf, which was new and unprecedented at the time, and now everyone in the community wants it,” Peterson laughs. Of course, there’s something else everyone wants—those desert views. And Peterson brought them in spades. The width and orientation of the lot enabled him to give most of the spaces—even the exercise room—key sight lines west, capturing views of both the golf course and those famous Arizona sunsets. “If you don’t like to work out then this room will change that,” he remarks.
“We wanted it to feel like a resort,” notes Rebecca. To this end, Peterson chose towering steel windows that either pocket away or slide open, enabling the walls to virtually disappear, creating a seamless transition outside. There—set off by Berghoff’s landscaping—large, covered patios with a multitude of seating areas, cabanas, fire pits and a dazzling infinity pool bring that resort feel to life. Completing the vibe is a sprawling outdoor bar made of onyx, backlit to create a dramatic focal point. “It’s the biggest bar we’ve ever put in a home,” Rebecca observes.
For the interiors, however, the designer chose a more understated look. With plenty of stone and wall treatments peppered throughout for texture (a Kyle Bunting hide wallcovering on the stairwell and a shield-like metallic kitchen backsplash, for example), Rebecca opted for crisp white walls and a neutral palette. Working with Cheryl Lucas, a designer who works for the homeowners, she created a warm relaxed vibe, echoing the desert surroundings. The soft tones also serve as the perfect backdrop to the owners’ art collection. “They love bright, colorful art and I didn’t want anything to compete with that,” Rebecca explains.
While the decision to tear down and build anew may have been a risk, the house is decidedly worthy of its prominent location. “It is pretty fabulous when a project of this scope comes together so well,” says the husband. And the neighborhood locals agree. “It’s definitely one of the favorite homes on the golf course,” Rebecca says. “All the golfers comment on it. It’s spectacular.”
In the light-filled entry of this Silverleaf home, designer Rebecca Salcito selected a hide wall treatment by Kyle Bunting to provide textural contrast to the open-glass stair rail. The custom hair-on-hide rug from Atlanta-based Moattar adds a pop of color.
Hotel Grand Stark’s lobby features a verdant front desk.
Portland’s latest hotel mixes old and new for a modernized throwback style that seems as though it was plucked from a Wes Anderson movie. Housed in a historic four-story building in the developing Central Eastside neighborhood, Palisociety’s Hotel Grand Stark brings the structure back to its hospitality roots—it opened as a hotel in 1908 but had been the site of a local furniture manufacturer for the past 80 years.
Portland-based North 45 Projects designed the hotel’s common areas, partnering with local contemporary art gallery Nationale to commission new artworks from celebrated artists like Ka’ila Farrell-Smith, Shiela Laufer and Aruni Dharmakirthi. These sit alongside vintage studio pottery, furniture and wood sculptures for a space that North 45 Projects principal Eric Cheong describes as akin to “visiting an affable Portland friend’s art loft.”
As Palisociety founder Avi Brosh explains, “The overall approach was to create a vibe that is identifiably Northwestern but also unpretentious and quietly luxe at the same time.”
The opening statement sets a welcoming tone for the rest of the home, which Turner approached with similar goals: making commodious rooms feel warm and inviting while marrying her clients’ styles in unique and artful ways. “He likes monochromatic and edited with clean lines, while she’s glamorous with a love of color, pattern and layers,” the designer says. “What they both wanted was a sense of peace and calm.”
Within view of the aviary-like foyer, a bank of floor-to-ceiling windows in the living room follows suit, ushering in a flood of tranquil backyard vistas. “The optimization of natural light was a central focus of this project,” says Logan, who used the sun’s orientation to help determine the best locations for glazing. Here, Turner took a cue from the verdant surroundings, flanking the fireplace with a pair of commanding abstracts by Birmingham artist William McLure.
To bring intimacy to the voluminous room, she divided the floor plan into four separate seating areas anchored by custom banquettes and back- to-back sofas. “The room’s scale required breaking things down into smaller arrangements, and within those incorporating bulbous and substantial pieces,” explains Turner, noting she partnered sofas with side tables to form larger silhouettes. In turn, layers of texture in the upholstery and even a cascading feather-like chandelier add warmth and ambience.
Turner utilized the same strategy in the main bedroom, a vast sanctuary with a 32-foot vaulted ceiling made cozier thanks to strategically grouped furnishings and texture-infused neutrals. “You just want to curl up and cocoon in there forever,” says the owner. “It’s cozy, sexy and everything a bedroom should be.” Turner responded to her clients’ desire for a canopy bed via a custom leather-wrapped version lined with luxurious wool curtains, opting to define an adjacent seating area with a plush rug to form “a space within a space for that intimacy,” she adds. Amid the sea of neutrals, bespoke wallpaper inserts subtle movement and pattern while a dramatic Erik Madigan Heck print reigns above the mantel “for a high-fashion moment that appeals to her tastes,” notes Turner of the client.
Not only in the living room and main bedroom but also throughout the house, art selections play an important role in channeling each homeowner’s style while creating an inviting look and feel. “There’s a constant play of masculine and feminine, negative and positive—with any intensity in color or art punctuated with open areas allowing the eyes to rest,” Turner explains. On the dining room walls, for example, a duo of Dusty Griffith encaustics blends seamlessly into the backdrop, juxtaposed with a striking Fabiola Jean-Louis archival pigment print in concert with chartreuse draperies, lavender upholstered chairs and a dazzling French antique chandelier suspended from the lacquered blue ceiling. “It’s the most traditional of all the rooms but with fashion-forward colors in the mix,” says Turner, who also chose haute hues for the breakfast room. Hanging a vivid Hunt Slonem butterfly painting against walls that feature a plaster relief design (reminiscent of Henri Matisse’s leaf cutouts) imbues a layered look “that’s comfortable and organic,” she notes, adding, “We love to add architectural elements and texture to a room—it makes things more personal.” A white- plaster chandelier, Balinese tree-trunk dining table and voluptuous custom chairs covered in a coral velvet underscore those sculptural effects.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, a stag print by the late Todd Murphy helps establish a masculine, monochromatic aura in the library. Suspended above the mantel between floor-to- ceiling shelves lined with books bound in uniform beige tones, it offers an orderly and calming influence. But even here, hints of pattern and color in the throw pillows and dusty purple upholstered furnishings impart a feminine touch. “There’s a little bit of both homeowners everywhere,” says Turner. Adds the client: “How Melanie was able to combine both of our tastes really was the ‘wow’ factor for me.”
Nimerology is a deluxe homeware brand that’s been hard to find outside exclusive boutiques across the Middle East. But its Lebanese founder, Nour al Nimer, recently moved to New York City and brought her wares with her. Now the fine bone china, made in the renowned English pottery town of Stoke-on-Trent, is available at Manhattan’s Gabriel & Guillaume gallery as well as at Matriark in Sag Harbor, with pop-ups in the works. With a Turkish mother, Palestinian father, and an extensive arts education in England, al Nimer taps her global mindset to design chinaware inspired by her travels (Ode to Scandinavia and I Left My Heart in Mexico are just two globetrotting collection names). “My husband was based in New York when we met and I wanted Nimerology to have a presence in the U.S., so moving here was a natural progression for both my personal and professional life,” she says. “Plus, this city has always been my happy place.” nimerology.com
A trip to Charleston is a treat unto itself, but this 41-room boutique property—found in the Holy City’s charming French Quarter—makes a commendable effort to sweeten the experience still.
Stepping into The Spectator‘s plush lobby, furnished by designer Jenny Keenan, sets the stage for an indulgent stay marked by complimentary welcome cocktails, on-demand butler service and the option to explore the surrounding cobblestone streets via vintage bikes.
Keenan was inspired to channel the Charleston of the Roaring ’20s. She fused Art Deco glamour with Southern elegance, sourcing de Gournay wallpaper for the check-in desk and mixing Kravet fabrics with Stark rugs and The Urban Electric Co. fixtures.
Works by current and former Charleston artists (Tim Hussey, Sally King Benedict) add to the impact of built-ins by Hostetler Custom Cabinetry, antiqued mirrors by Charleston Architectural Glass and the hotel’s pièce de résistance: a three-tiered custom chandelier hand-strung from 1,800 Murano crystals.
Who: Reyna Noriega, a Miami-based, Black and Afro-Latina visual artist, author and educator who works across a variety of mediums, among them graphic design, pattern and product design, digital illustration, painting, murals and photography.
What: Through simplified shapes and forms in bold and vibrant shades, she portrays figures of people of color, architectural spaces, and landscapes. Along with selling her prints and canvases, Noriega collaborated with UNWRP in 2019 to bring her art to gift wrap, throw pillows and greeting cards. She has done editorial work with the The New York Times and collaborations with Apple, Adobe, Netflix and Saks Fifth Avenue, to name a few.
Why: Her multidisciplinary practice is devoted to highlighting and uplifting women. Through layers of paint and pixels, Noriega offers a window into her life, telling stories inspired by her culture and relating experiences in which women can recognize themselves, and feel represented and empowered.
In her words: “It’s always been my goal to find a way to bring joy to people’s lives and help them realize all the joy that is already there. By highlighting these women that are often overlooked and misrepresented it helps to shine a light on them, uplift and empower. The idea of a young girl going to a museum and being able to see images that reflect her,it fills me.”