Designer Connie Braemer uses out-of-the-box ideas to transform an Art Deco-era home into a contemporary, loft-like space filled with personality. The owners were interested in something modern, but that wasn’t stark or spare — in other words, something different. In consultation with Elevation Architects and her associate Heather Lewis, Connie came up with a plan to knock down walls on the main floor and reconfigure all the rooms. Connie and Heather also balanced the homeowners’ collection of bohemian and exotic accessories with a simple palette: a classic pairing of light and dark, plus sumptuous organic textiles. “The owners have a lot of flair, and this really was a team effort to create more interest,” Connie says. See inside the the 3,500-square-foot house where everything is tailored to the homeowners’ needs.
To create a warm, intimate living room, Connie and Heather swathed the walls in an unorthodox color: deep brown. A light, linen-covered sofa by Flexform and pops of brighter colors in the artwork and pillows keep the space from feeling too dark.
The living room’s modern mirrored coffee table from Avenue Road commands the space, reflecting the colors of the geometric rug from Design Within Reach. The owner wanted a main-floor office (through door), which was situated at the front of the house. The walls are lined with bookshelves in a gunmetal-toned quartersawn oak, a material that repeats throughout the house. Though standard-height, the ceilings appear taller because of the full-height doorways.
Connie and Heather merged an urban loft-inspired look with the homeowners’ fondness for exotic accessories and warm color. In the living room, finds include an Ethiopian wedding cape hung in the corner and a sculptural tiered-rocks lamp.
Warm textiles like the patterned rug and velvet sofa upholstery, and colorful accessories bring a coziness to the bright, airy family room.
Connie and Heather used a mix of unique cabinetry styles and materials to craft a one-of-a-kind kitchen. The off-center black wall cabinet balances the black steel I-beam on the ceiling, which denotes where the kitchen ends and family room begins. The homeowner specified the appliances to her needs with one gas burner and the rest induction on the stove.
The kitchen’s quartersawn oak cabinetry was treated with an oil stain then framed in black powder-coated steel. Industrial-inspired steel shelving is unexpectedly mounted to the ceiling, drawing the eye upward.
Throughout the house, full-height steel-encased windows flood rooms with natural light. Motorized ripple drapes in linen provide light-control and privacy.
The dining room functions well for both casual breakfasts and large family dinners, thanks to comfortable 1940s-inspired chairs and a lean walnut table that extends up to 10′ in length.
A pocket door closing off the powder room from the front hallway looks seamless along a wall of modern oak panelling. The homeowner fell in love with this wallpaper, which gives the room a sense of drama.
The dramatic center staircase, which appears to float in the space, was a key feature in transforming the main level. Its skeletal frame feels sculptural. The red painting is a modern impression of the Bow River in Alberta, where the homeowner grew up.
A black four-poster bed and the black-framed windows bring graphic definition to the principal bedroom. Unexpected reclaimed barnboard beams run the length of the ceiling to create a treehouse vibe. The painting is a souvenir from Morocco.
By stealing a bedroom, the designers were able create a gracious and comfortable principal suite.
So the bathroom windows wouldn’t look white on the exterior of the house, Connie and Heather chose mottled glass instead of frosted to provide privacy. Oversized porcelain tiles in a cement grey pair well with the squared-off bathtub and bold industrial-style windows.
Author: Catherine Sweeney
House & Home November 2016