WINE COUNTRY LIVING: HOUSES OF THE WINEMAKING REGIONS OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA AND THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST by Linda Leigh Paul
Anyone who dreams of vineyard living will want to find a comfy chair and dig into this sumptuous new release, which offers a peek into more than 25 innovative homes and wineries that dot the wine-making regions of California—Napa and Sonoma counties and Carmel—as well as Oregon, Washington State and British Columbia. Discover how noted local architects as well as innovators like Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works Architecture and Jim Olson of Olson Kundig are designing contemporary spaces that engage the dramatic coastal landscape while suiting people’s modern lives. rizzolibookstore.com
PHOTO COURTESY PHAIDON
STUDIO GANG: ARCHITECTURE by Jeanne Gang
For two decades, award-winning architecture firm Studio Gang, led by Jeanne Gang, has taken a research-backed approach to creating imaginative, innovative buildings that address urgent issues such as climate change and inequality. At the root of the firm’s practice is a drive to connect people with their communities and the environment. This book, showcasing 25 remarkable projects, represents the most in-depth exploration of Studio Gang’s work thus far. phaidon.com
PHOTO COURTESY VENDOME PRESS
SUMMER TO SUMMER: HOUSES BY THE SEA by Jennifer Ash Rudick
Dig into this lush volume and be transported to stylish homes that were made for easy summertime living. Summer to Summer is a celebration of the seaside summer home in its varying incarnations, from the century-old charmer to the ultramodern. Writer Jennifer Ash Rudick takes the reader to an intimate cottage in Provincetown; a minimalist, Isamu Noguchi-designed home in Northeast Harbor, Maine; and a Nantucket house by interior designer Tom Scheerer, to name a few. The book features photography by Tria Giovan, whose work has been exhibited in the Museum of Modern Art and the Brooklyn Museum. vendomepress.com
The couple hired architect Joo Young Oh to orchestrate a whole-house renovation that would extend it by eight feet in the back to make way for a lower-level media room, a great room adjacent to an enlarged kitchen, more bedroom space upstairs and a roof deck on top. The prevailing imperative at every step was to preserve the original details making the house distinctive–vibrant, locally crafted tile; hand-forged stair rails; decorative plasterwork and trim and whimsically painted ceiling beams. “We didn’t touch any of those,” says Oh, noting general contractor Jay Blumenfeld’s team carefully removed the dining room beams to protect them during construction.
Oh enhanced the connection between new and old spaces with fresh millwork and trim that nods to the originals. “It’s in the same language as the architecture, but we reinterpreted it to be a little bit more modern,” she says. And as she contemplated a stair to the new roof terrace, Oh commissioned an artisan to replicate the existing rails. “The metalwork was beautifully done and flawlessly executed,” she says.
Kim had the walls painted white inside and out to ensure every detail stands out to the best effect. Previously, the walls were colored with a Tuscan yellow-beige hue, she says, “but it wasn’t what the house was telling me it really wanted and it didn’t fit in with its history.” The designer then tapped into her family’s wanderlust as inspiration for the rest of the interior design. When asked about the project’s genesis, she is quick to respond with: “Vacations inspired this home.” It’s a fitting concept since the boats in the marina across the street resemble a Mediterranean setting, one of the family’s favorite destinations.
The upstairs living area could, in fact, be easily mistaken for a luxury lounge in a well-appointed hotel. Her first purchase for the house–a Turkish light fixture dripping with colored globes–hangs among the painted ceiling beams and strikes an exotic note. Oh designed a passageway connecting the space to an adjacent bar area, where Kim installed vintage ice-cream parlor stools that she reupholstered with red leather and fringe to approximate the ones in Rick’s Cafe from the movie Casablanca. An existing covered balcony got an upgrade with steel-framed doors and windows to open up the views of the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge. “This room was the inspiration for the whole house,” Kim explains.
The designer chose a vintage Moroccan pendant to hang over the dining-room table, and its filigreed metalwork casts a panoply of shadows and light that can be seen from the street at night, just as the Turkish light’s colored globes glow outward from the second floor. “I have them on when we leave at night because I like to see them when we return,” Kim says. She carried that mystique to the roof deck, which was inspired by top-floor lounges in Marrakesh outfitted with long benches and colorful cushions to accommodate a crowd. Landscape architect Peter Ker Walker designed planters full of colorful succulents to line the back of the built-in seating along one side of the deck. “The plants are low, wind resistant, require little maintenance and don’t restrict the rooftop views,” he says.
For more formal gatherings, Kim revitalized the living room’s original elegance, adding dark hardwood floors and furnishing it with refined midcentury modern Italian pieces. An existing dry bar was reborn as a Champagne bar. The whole look, she says, brings her back to an Italian seaside hotel, the J.K. Place Capri. “That place just really stuck with me,” she explains.
Looking around, the family is reminded of similar unforgettable destinations and romantic locales they’ve visited. “I’ve been captivated by hotel design in far-flung locations–places where they’ve been willing to take risks to evoke a distinct feeling of place,” Kim says. But for this traveling-loving family, coming home isn’t the end of the adventure.
Such was the case for the transformation of a 1925 Tuscan villa in Buckhead, Georgia, Rollins having already bonded with its owner over a mutual love of art. It was only after being welcomed into Rollins’ own Tuxedo Park abode one afternoon for a glass of Champagne that their friendship blossomed into a full-fledged designer-client relationship. “He stood in my entrance hall with his jaw on the floor,” Rollins recalls of that fateful first visit. “In my home, there are layers and layers of texture and color, and every room tells a story of what the next room is going to be.” While the designer admits her talent for a fluid procession of colors and patterns, she thinks it was the conversation-sparking arrangements of art and furniture that won over her client’s confidence in the end. “He felt at home here, and he knew I could replicate that feeling for him,” she explains.
Having not been renovated since the 1990s, the homeowner’s own stucco- and clay tile-clad residence was in dire need of an update. To tone down its dated, ornate interiors, Rollins ousted the heavy textiles and faux-finished walls in favor of a soft, neutral scheme. The result is a lighter, airier take on Italianate that Rollins says “channels David Adler, Frances Elkins and old-school Montecito”—but still feels right at home in the heart of Buckhead.
Recently retired from his law practice and a newly single father, the client naturally gravitated toward strong, masculine furniture silhouettes. At the same time, though, top of mind was ensuring his two teenage daughters would feel equally at home. So, Rollins split the difference between the two styles, balancing masculine forms with feminine touches.
In the master bedroom, where the homeowner originally wanted a sleigh bed, Rollins instead placed a four-poster. “It would have blocked the views,” she says, noting how its clean lines are tempered by softly skirted tables at the bedside. “A lot of guys are afraid of skirted furniture because they think it is going to look too feminine, but I’m a big believer that furniture should be a mix of skirts and legs; plus they’re done in a way that he can lift them up for extra storage.” To add a handsome touch to the home, Rollins brought in supple, saddle-colored leathers, but she was sure to contrast them with florid textiles—animal prints, ikats, florals. In his daughters’ rooms, especially, “it was about letting them have a style and a voice of their own in their personal spaces,” Rollins explains. “One picked a Sister Parish print, which just thrilled me.”
Rollins was also keen to give her client the color flow that had so captured his attention in her home. Since the newly pale, neutral walls happened to provide the perfect gallery-like setting for his extensive collection of art, Rollins started there: with a mixed-media work by Cuban artist Alejandro Aguilera at the entryway. Its vibrant azure is reiterated numerous times throughout the house, helping the eye to travel. Similarly, in the dining room, a commanding abstract by Radcliffe Bailey inserts strokes of scarlet that appear throughout the home on everything from garden stools to sculpture, while in the breakfast area an entrancing photograph by Abelardo Morell ties the interior to the outside world. “It’s a scene of a garden done in camera obscura,” Rollins explains. “I love the way windows wrap all around this space, then you have this incredible art piece that’s like looking out a window. It really is so unbelievably beautiful.”
To enhance the already established gardens—lush with English ivy, clipped Korean boxwood hedges, needle palms and climbing vines—Rollins teamed up with landscape designer Marc Galbraith to tame the European-esque courtyards, terraces and pool area with new plantings of Southern-staple flowering shrubs: hydrangea, azalea, gardenia, tea olive and Knock Out white roses, among them. To frame a momentous view of the pool, she placed a pair of Boston ferns in terra-cotta pots.
And with such an entrancing environment right out the back door, there were telltale details no self-professed Southern hostess would overlook: opportunities for outdoor living and entertaining. Rollins’ thoughtful furniture placements and color play create a comfortable flow from the living room to the terrace, the kitchen and, ultimately, the sunroom-cum-library—where the client reads the newspaper over coffee every morning.
For the avid oenophile, this room is an excellent place to enjoy wine in the evenings, as well as cocktails—especially since Rollins provided the perfect rattan bar cart for concocting them. Adds the designer of the ongoing visits with her friend, “We typically have Negronis—he makes the best.
With landscape designer Wally Baker also onboard, their first major decision was to utilize the foundation of the home that originally stood on the lot, helping to minimize damage to the surrounding oak trees that shade the property. The owners also wanted the master bedroom to be located on the ground level with the other main living spaces. Between repurposing the footprint and negotiating the site’s 20-degree incline, however, this proved no easy task. The solution, the owner explains, was to design the home “like an asymmetrical horseshoe,” in essence wrapping the main living areas around a central pool, with the master bedroom cantilevering over the slope of the hill. “The width of the lot and the desire for all spaces except two guest rooms to be situated on one level led to the rear-extending volumes on both sides of the central living space,” explains Smith, who worked with project team member Kenny Brown.
Materials were also a primary consideration throughout the decision-making process. “It was important to have no siding, painting, resealing, rotting or fading,” says Smith, who selected limestone, steel, stucco and oak with longevity in mind. Faced with “both heat and shade while trying to control temperatures,” he says, they utilized thermally broken aluminum-frame windows to establish an indoor-outdoor connection despite a hot climate effecting ample time spent inside. And in the many cases where window glazing abuts a perpendicular wall plane, Smith ensured the material patterns connect on both sides of the glass: Textured limestone outside transitions to a smoother finish in the living room, for instance, and elsewhere exterior metal panels blend seamlessly into the wood-paneled indoor walls. “Inside, everything becomes more refined,” he explains.
The warmth of the materials also helped create a sense of harmony with the setting and the surrounding homes. “I’d be happy living in a concrete, steel and glass house,” the husband jokes, “but we didn’t want to offend our neighbors with a much more contemporary home than they were accustomed to seeing.” Nor did the wife want a cold-feeling abode. “She wanted warmth and comfortably scaled rooms,” the architect says, “so we talked a lot about atmosphere, scale, light and materiality.” With her wishes in mind, Smith and the husband worked to devise intimate spaces that still feel generous. “A monstrous space wouldn’t have accommodated the experiential qualities we wanted,” the architect notes. To that end, while the home has an open plan, it also boasts multiple distinct entertaining spaces that flow into each other, plus floating walls and receding areas that add a sense of mystery and reveal.
With a few furnishings already in place, the clients sought designer Hillary Conrey’s help to see their home’s interiors to the finish line. “It was just about making things soft for her and nice for him while honoring the architecture,” Conrey explains. Although she and her team incorporated comfortable pieces with a strong design presence, care was taken not to distract from other elements, such as the custom rugs and the owners’ artworks. Their collection is a combination of existing pieces and new works commissioned specifically for this project, including an installation in the living room by Houston-based artist Paul Fleming. “We’ve been art lovers since we met and collected since purchasing our first home in 1984,” the husband says. “I’d rather live with blank walls than with art that doesn’t speak to me.”
It’s this depth of feeling that built the house. “We approached the residence as if it were a heritage project by using fine, durable materials that will stand the test of time and designing it to remain functional for the owners through the decades,” Smith says. And while the husband may wax poetic about the process and its result, he and his wife are now simply happy homeowners. “It’s the feeling of being on vacation every day,” he says about living in the residence. “It makes for great fun when entertaining family and friends.”
As framing began, Brian and Maury decided to buy the house. The wife immediately called interior designers Dawn Terry and Megan Papworth, the mother-daughter team who had designed the Harrises’ previous home. “She said, ‘Before we go any further, can you help us make some changes so we can go our own way?’ ” Terry remembers. The answer was yes.
While Maury knew what she wanted–something a bit bolder stylistically than their previous home–the hard-working mother also wanted little involvement. “We’re at a busy phase of life right now,” she explains. “We have music lessons, a swimmer, a soccer player, dancers and tumblers. On top of that, Brian is running his businesses and traveling frequently. Building our first home was stressful for me, so I handed over everything to Dawn and Megan.” With that, the interior designers reconsidered the plan but kept key features like the kitchen cabinetry and decorative ceilings that were part of the original project by interior designers Kacie Lilley and Stacy Scharf of K&Q Interiors.
The five-bedroom house, which Leavitt built with architect Ben Palmer, offers some 5,000 square feet of living space but looks even larger with a decorative balcony above the front door that gives the illusion of a second story. Its black-and-white palette also makes it a standout in a neighborhood of terracotta Tuscans. “People stop and take pictures,” Leavitt says. But there’s a lot that passersby don’t even see, like the clever plan that eschews typical hallways for wide passageways that function more like rooms, and spaces that can shift roles as the children grow. Down the road, for example, the piano room off the great room could be enclosed and made into a guest room or a library.
That sense of longevity was key to the decor, too. “We like to keep the major elements classic, such as wood floors that will still look good 40 years from now,” explains Terry, who, in general, handles a project’s big-picture items like finishes, tile and flooring. Papworth, on the other hand, focuses on the furnishings. “We have separate areas, but we overlap,” she says. “We really don’t butt heads.” The duo also yields to each other’s knowledge, Terry adds. “In this case,” she says, “Megan is Maury’s age, so I deferred to her on finishes that felt youthful.” These include black walls on both sides of the living room replace, where the interior designers hung decorative African mud cloth–an element that drove the overall aesthetic.
Working with designer Amanda Egbert, who acted as project supervisor, Terry and Papworth created multiple seating areas at one end of the great room, combining a cream sofa with a dark gray sofa in one section and pairing light gray modern armchairs in another. “We call the look and styling of the seating areas ‘boho modern,’” Papworth says. The space connects to the kitchen through an adjoining dining room and ties back to it through the continuing black-and-white theme. “We made the great room walls the same color as the kitchen island for uniformity,” Papworth says. “White, black and gray are timeless, so that was our base, but we added blues and pinks for warmth.” Notably, these pops of colors appear in a painting from Christie Adelle in the dining room, an otherwise warm, modern space with earthy elements, such as a rattan hutch and a light fixture wrapped with rope.
The color story continues in the master suite, a lofty space with 12-foot high ceilings, plenty of windows and a mix of dark and light tones. “It’s just beautiful, and nothing overpowers,” Terry says. The room’s deeper hues relate to the interior of Papworth’s favorite space in the house: the master bathroom. “The dark ceiling beams balance out the black re surround and the barn door to the bathroom,” she explains. “From the black shower walls to the 8-inch countertop slab and the modern lighting, it’s a very peaceful retreat.”
Importantly, the interior designers made sure not to waste any space–a home element that attracted the Harrises in the first place. “The flow makes sense, and we love the open, inviting feel,” Maury says. “It’s the perfect party house.” And a classic one at that, Papworth adds: “We achieved a sophisticated look. Every room looks polished and feels complete.”
My parents have always been drawn to the water,” says a Marin County executive who has fond memories of growing up on New York’s Long Island, also spending lakeside summers in New Hampshire and going to the beach in Southern California. Although he still visits his mother at her waterfront home in Santa Barbara, he’s always wanted his own place by the shore. He found it in the small town of Stinson Beach, just 40 minutes away from the full-time residence he shares with his wife. “It was a dream of mine to have a beach house—and to be right on the water is all the more special,” he says.
Designer Eugenia Jesberg was thrilled to be tapped for the project shortly after she’d finished decorating the couple’s more formal, Colonial-style home on the other side of Mount Tamalpais. In this case, the style would be decidedly more casual yet no less sophisticated. “We designed everything to bring in the views, colors and textures and to achieve the look and feel of what was outside,” Jesberg says.
The project involved taking down a 1950s-era house, and modern storm-safety codes required part of the new structure to be elevated. The higher vantage point, however, provided excellent design opportunities. “That view got amplified,” Jesberg says. “It’s pretty magical out there.” To maintain the focus outside, Jesberg and architect Steve Wisenbaker decided on a modernized version of a simple New England-style residence, punctuating traditional tongue-and-groove paneling with floor-to-ceiling steel-framed glass doors and huge plate-glass windows.
Wisenbaker’s first consideration was siting the outdoor living space. He then designed the house, and general contractor Larry Hadley and his team would build around it. “We found the sweet spot and left that area open. The outdoor connection enriches the spaces you live in,” Wisenbaker explains. That “sweet spot” is now the deck that intersects with the main living spaces and the master bedroom; it’s placed on an axis with the entry where Jesberg employed limestone to go up the steps, through the glass-enclosed foyer and out the other side. “It’s like a sky bridge,” she says, describing it as a place where the barriers between inside and outside seem to melt away.
Jesberg maintained a largely neutral palette within the main house and focused on texture to tell the story of its seaside surroundings. A tall fireplace is clad in marble with blue-gray veins, for example. “It has this rippled feel to it, and that was deliberate because the house is so linear and structural,” she says, noting that the feature also emulates the water. Crackled, pale blue backsplash tile in the kitchen reinforces that sentiment. The floor tile in the master bathroom resembles the cable knit of a fisherman’s sweater, and knotty oak accents throughout the house interpret the home’s rustic landscape.
The designer crafted a different narrative for the ground-level guesthouse. It’s a colorful extension of the owner’s art collection that includes pop art works by Ed Ruscha. “Color gives it some personality,” Jesberg says. “It doesn’t have the views, but it’s still a fun and light-filled space.” The structure opens into a courtyard that includes a large spa and bocce ball court. Landscape architect Corey Brooks transformed the flat area into a bas-relief of features that reach varying heights. He played to the narrow, rectangular space with a cedar-framed bocce court—a choice meaningful to the owner, who remembers playing the similar game of pétanque as a young exchange student in France. A few steps up from the court is a large spa with a prominent back wall and fountain. “To get the scale right, the spa had to have some substance so it would stand out from the garden,” Brooks says. “I did it to minimize its appearance as a hot tub and maximize its appearance as a water feature.”
Back on the main level, Jesberg ensured that her clients could enjoy the beach without ever having to step outside. She chose leather chairs in the living room, she says, “so you can just swivel around and get your binoculars out to watch the whales.” A furry chaise in the master bedroom provides a luxurious cradle from which to watch the waves crash beyond the deck. “It’s really about the tranquility,” Jesberg says. “You feel like you’re floating above the dunes—it’s a little compound in heaven.”
Herzlinger’s vision was the final step in a process that had begun two years earlier, when her empty-nester clients decided to downsize from their rambling family house nearby for a more midcentury look. “We wanted something turnkey,” the wife says. Although they were delighted with the clean lines of their new abode, built about five years ago, the interiors needed work. “There wasn’t a lot of detail,” explains the couple’s daughter, designer Amber Anderson. She was tasked with layering the interiors with architectural elements, including millwork and lighting, that would wash the minimal space with warmth.
The two-level floor plan also needed adjusting, notably enlarging key areas. Anderson worked with architects Mark Philp and Justin Ferrick and general contractor Greg Hunt to design a larger kitchen, master bedroom and master bathroom, expanding the footprint of the home. She also tapped woodworking company Woodesign to bring to life the distinctive millwork she envisioned, such as the media room’s wall of lighted shelves that illuminate small sculptures and curios. Outside, the architects added a wide entertaining deck to the lower level and a negative-edge pool on the site’s lowest area.
The new scenery informed every aspect of Herzlinger’s design, a clean, modern take on a 1950s look. “The clients love midcentury style, but I wanted to soften it, as it can get very masculine and stark,” she says. The designer paid careful attention to furnishings, from each item’s scale to its shape. “It was especially important to anchor the living area with larger-scale furniture to make guests want to stay there,” she says. To that end, she created custom pieces, including the space’s 13-foot-long curved sofa that invites the couple and their extended family to sit and enjoy the view. “Rounded shapes make people feel more relaxed, because they’re not so cold,” Herzlinger observes. She introduced curves in other pieces, too–witness the living area’s black-marble-topped coffee table with hand-forged brass legs, the shape of the dining area chairs and the luminous circular porcelain shades of the chandeliers in both spaces.
With a new grandchild and three rambunctious dogs, the couple prioritized low-maintenance furnishings. In response, Herzlinger upholstered pieces in fabrics such as mohair on the living area sofa and leather on the media room’s tufted sectionals. “These fabrics will look beautiful even as they wear,” she says. The designer involved the couple in helping create the custom pieces by bringing the clients to fabric showrooms and demonstrating sizes using paper cutouts–a process that paid off. “The furniture is just dazzling and comfortable,” the wife says.
Throughout the home, neutral hues–plucked from the wife’s wardrobe–harmonize with the exterior and serve as a calming counterpoint to the bright contemporary art the clients have begun to collect. “When I work with modern design, I limit myself to five colors,” Herzlinger says. “I want to keep it tight.” In this case, she chose black, ivory, navy and two shades of gray, playing with the tonality of each–as seen in the pair of abstract rugs inspired by midcentury patterns she designed to ground the living and dining areas. “There’s no wall between the spaces, and the floors are neutral, so I went bold with the rugs to define them,” she explains.
The clients are ecstatic about the outcome. “The house feels like us: clean and modern but still inviting and comfortable,” the wife says. Herzlinger chalks up the success of the project to the couple’s involvement in the process. “They really were the model client,” the designer says. “They understood that simple is always better when it comes to modern design.”
Not much of Manhattan resists change, but the river-hugging stretch of Yorkville known as East End Avenue has put up an admirable fight. Graced by Astor-era limestone fortresses and overlooking the urban oasis of Carl Schurz Park, the 11-block enclave has managed to retain a sense of quietude and old New York charm.
For a dynamic family, the neighborhood offered a buying opportunity of similar appeal: a prewar duplex with its original floor plan intact. “The grandness was very attractive to me—the tall windows and light,” says the husband. “We looked at new construction buildings, but they just didn’t have the same kind of elegant layouts. It was always a combined living-family-room-kitchen-all-in-one space.” In a world of continuous sight lines and smart-home devices, the discovery of such a classic floor plan felt exhilarating. “It’s one of those wonderful buildings built in a time when gracious living was very much the norm,” echoes U.K.-born designer Alexander Doherty, whom the couple was referred to by a mutual friend. “The scale of the rooms and architecture is really wonderful. You walk into the apartment and straight away you think, ‘Okay, I’m somewhere!’ ”
“It’s definitely a color story,” continues the designer of his concept. “The client got excited about the use of different colors in blocks. When you get out of the elevator, we have a very painterly wallpaper on the wall, which has a stripe in a mustard color. I said, ‘Well if we do that in mustard, why don’t we paint the front door a really strong kind of lipstick red?’” Taking its cue from the threshold, bold hues thread throughout the home, surfacing in surprising details like the walk-in wet bar, where Doherty added yet another spunky hit of red to a shelving unit, and in the living room, where a striking blue work by the artist Caio Fonseca commands attention above the fireplace.
But the bravest show of color happens off of the black-and-white marble checkered foyer, where doorways act as picture frames highlighting the vibrant rooms within. In the dining room, Doherty inherited the Delft blue wall paint, which he chose to embrace and soften with pale gray tones on the woodwork and trim. Recognizing that the spacious room would be underutilized as dining quarters for 30, the designer cleverly thought to reorient a smaller-scale table horizontally with the back wall, and in doing so, freed up real estate for an adjacent lounge area for cocktail parties and weeknight hangouts alike.
Directly across the way, the library, which serves as both a study for the husband and a reading room for the children, proves a worthy counterpoint with its grassy green hue. “I wanted something that was going to be as intense as the blue on the other side, but it’s an office and green is a good, calming color,” says Doherty, “and all of that beige, creamy woodwork acts as a really nice foil.” Of his saturated approach, the designer explains, “I am somebody who believes in color—I think it makes people happy. These are not the kind of clients that need to live inside a white box.”
Complementing the scheme, Doherty next sourced vintage pieces with clean lines and provenance, mingling them among the couple’s existing furniture in fresh configurations. The family owns a summer house in Michigan built in 1959 and particularly appreciates that era in design—an interest the designer celebrated by scouring Paris markets and antiques shops for midcentury treasures, texting photos to his clients along the way. Notable additions include the mahogany writing desk, wingback chair and daybed in the library, all of which are by Frits Henningsen, a Danish cabinetmaker who designed during the midcentury but whose work appears distinct from the period’s usual hitmakers.
While the architecture and furnishings speak to eras past, there’s no denying that this is a modern home meant for a modern family. “Alexander’s style has a richness to it, but it’s very livable, not frivolous or fussy,” says the husband of Doherty’s ability to balance chic with easy, sophistication with comfort. Adds the designer, “The idea here is simply a very elegant, composed space.” A timeless ethos that the apartment’s predecessors—Astor or otherwise—would surely approve of.
Departing a traditional white stucco residence was a dramatic change, and the couple’s mostly neutral furnishings didn’t make the transition with much grace. “It was clear the minute we moved our furniture in here that it didn’t fit,” the wife recounts. “I didn’t really know what to do.” So, she turned to the Internet, where a search introduced her to the work of designer Angie Hranowsky. “This is the only client I’ve ever had who found me through a Google search,” says Hranowsky, a Kentucky native who’s called the Charleston area home since 2001.
The project started small: The clients were eager to convert a large first-floor guest bedroom into a TV room, workout space and guest bathroom. They also hoped to have Hranowsky’s input on the downstairs office, living room and dining room. The designer’s eclectic presentations included an array of vintage finds, custom furnishings and colorful art. “I don’t do traditional beach house style,” Hranowsky explains of her globally influenced outlook. Thrilled by the designer’s ideas, the clients ultimately tapped her talents for the revamp of their entire home–from the kitchen and porch to the master bathroom and upstairs bedrooms.
A multi-hued striped runner Hranowsky discovered around the time she was hired sets the tone from the moment one steps over the threshold, and its casual cotton weave signals the home’s playful informality. “It’s really about balance,” the designer says of her ability to harness bold colors. For instance, rich jewel tones in the living room’s chairs, sofa and draperies are tamed by neutral grass-cloth walls and a sisal rug. Corresponding tones in a bright grouping on the opposite side of the adjoined living and dining room also help temper the vibrant hues.
The husband, an engineer by trade, encouraged the project, allaying his wife’s fears when creative risks–like a green faux bois wallpaper on the ceiling–felt overwhelming. His skill set solved two of the home’s most perplexing issues: how to improve the functionality of the oversize custom dining table and how to discretely incorporate a TV into their living room. His clever suggestion of insetting a marble lazy Susan into the center of the table solved the first problem. A French chest that conceals a television was likewise the result of his ingenuity.
With work on the house well underway, the owners decided the surrounding property also would need refining. They brought in landscape architect Brad Mann to sculpt an environment that would feel organic to the marsh-side setting. “It was really about simplifying the landscape,” Mann says. Because a full moon flood tide can fully submerge the backyard, Mann chose plants such as Empire Zoysia, clumping bamboo and Adagio grass that are known for their salt tolerance. Little Gem magnolia trees, Carpet roses and Vitex Chaste trees add soft washes of color. By removing the unruly plants that previously blocked the views, “we just completely opened everything up,” he explains.
The result enhances the owners’ life on the island, where they have the perfect porch from which to enjoy it. “They have views of the water all along the back,” says Hranowsky, who corralled vintage French and contemporary teak chairs around a coffee table with a custom concrete top–all beneath a classic Haint blue ceiling. On mild mornings, when salt breezes blow across the nearby inlet, it’s hard to imagine a better place to sip a cup of coffee. Nor is the location half bad in the evening, with the sun meeting the horizon as pink and golden streaks. “We both love what Angie proposed and we love the way it feels,” the wife says. “Everyone who comes to our home says how amazing it is. It fits us, and we couldn’t be happier here.”
The transformation of the Atherton, California, home — which originally featured yellow shingles, poor geometry and a rather neglected garden — can be attributed to Linsteadt’s architectural prowess, designer Marie Turner Carson’s sensitive handling of the furnishings and the tasteful fixed finish selection of designers Carol Knorpp and Kerry Bogardus.
“We took the narrative of the clients, who liked cleaner, more contemporary things,” says Carson. “They wanted to feel like they were in this stately home, but with fresh and current interiors.”
Home builder Ed Faubel’s paneling work helped bring the interior setting together, and landscape designer Janell Denler Hobart expanded the original gardens while adding to their natural beauty. The project is pulled together by a long, windowed breezeway, one of Linsteadt’s favorite parts of the new house.