Written By Linda Lewis
This issue’s remodeled home in Mission, TX was transformed from traditional to contemporary over a number of years. The homeowners moved into their 15,000 square foot home twelve years ago and decorated it in a traditional style. After seven years, the owner employed Interior Design Consultant Monica Rivera to make some changes to the home. One thing lead to another, and after five years, the transformation is complete.
The remodel has all of the glitz and glamour of Hollywood Regency style. Luxury is the operative word for this design style, and no expense has been spared in redesigning and furnishing this two million dollar home. Glossy surfaces, luxury fabrics, and an eclectic mix of furniture are styled to create a personal space that is unique to the individuals who live there.
This dazzling design story begins in the spacious foyer. It deserves a detailed explication, because it establishes most of the design elements that are repeated in the rest of the home. First, and most importantly, a color palette is set. Champagne and gray are used as neutral background colors. A third accent color varies from room to room. In the foyer, it is the blue in the circular carpet.
The foyer is filled with strong textural elements. From the rough texture of the bejeweled walls to the soft pile of the silk carpet, all the bases have been covered. My favorite feature is the decorative wall treatment created by a local artisan. An elaborate design was stenciled in champagne over a gray wall. Since there is only a slight variation in value between the two colors the effect is subtle. The showstopper, however, is a larger pattern stenciled over the first design that contains tiny Swarovski crystals in a clear base. It adds a bit of sparkle and depth to the matte finish below. Stunning.
The composition of an interior design is usually constrained by the structure of the home in a remodel. The designer must take this into consideration when creating a composition within a room. The foyer lends itself perfectly to the imposition of symmetry, which is a sure-fire way to create balance. The most interesting symmetry allows subtle differences.
The center of the impressive double entry door, with its transom window and sidelights, establishes the axis for the symmetry. The door is flanked by tall windows embellished with silk drapes, four foot tall urns and crystal wall sconces. Framed niches contain mirrors that reflect polished metal sculptures. They have different shapes, creating a subtle difference to the symmetry.
A transparent entry table acts as a central focal point. The table is embellished with a soaring silk flower arrangement that directs the eye upward to a three-tier chandelier of Swarovski crystals. The chandelier is suspended from a chain that hangs from a dome set into the groin vaulted ceiling. This architectural feature provides an impressive cap for the light fixture.
Transparency has a specific purpose when it is utilized in a composition. It allows a solid object to be seen through and light to pass through it. A solid object stops our vision and forces us to interpret what is in front of us. A transparent object calls upon us to interpret what we see beyond the immediate object. This layering, or overlapping of planes, gives the viewer the sense of a larger space. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright employed transparency to generate movement throughout his designs.
Acrylic resin in home furnishings hasn’t gone out of style since it first appeared at the 1939 World’s Fair. Known by the trade names Lucite and Plexiglas, it is crystal clear, easily shaped, and strong. High-end designer Gilbert Rohde presented a Plexiglas and tubular steel chair at the fair that inspired other designers to explore its possibilities. Interest has waxed and waned a bit over the years, but there has been a recent resurgence of interest. The product adds a hint of luminescence to the room, doesn’t take up visual space and reinforces a modern concept.
A tip for buying your own acrylic resin furniture is to look for maximum transparency. In a well-made product, the joints and seams seem to disappear. You can add a modern touch to your home whether you select a clean-lined or a traditional style.
In keeping with the eclecticism of Hollywood Regency, a number of pieces of the original traditional furniture were repurposed, but reupholstered with new fabrics to fit the color palette. Two original lounge chairs were strategically placed to complete the composition in the foyer. Their placement serves three purposes. First, they provide a place to sit. Second, they are placed diagonally opposed to the wall: repeating the diagonals set up in the marble flooring tiles and the diagonal cross on the ceiling. Third, the placement directs traffic to the center of the double column barrel vaulted portal leading to the next space.
I’ll call this space a lobby, because it is a space out of which one or more other rooms or corridors lead. There are floor to ceiling windows that overlook the horseshoe shaped patio and pool area. The lobby is reminiscent of a hotel lobby, because there are a number of intimate seating areas. I can imagine a large party with people standing about talking, listening to music being played on the grand piano, or admiring the objet d’art.
The kitchen was the first room in the house to be remodeled. In the open floor plans of today, there is more of an imperative to make certain that the areas flow seamlessly from one to another. This is achieved through continuity in the design elements. The black and white kitchen is a slight departure from the new color palette, but the interplay of black and white in the room is very interesting. For example, The cabinets are white with black countertops and backsplash. On the kitchen cooktop island, the cabinet is black and the countertop is white. The kitchen table is black with a white inset and has white tufted dining chairs. A bar that separates the kitchen area from the adjacent living area has a white frame, black top, and black and chrome barstools.
The new design scheme is expressed in a decorative wallpaper that has matte and shiny elements (like in the foyer), the elaborate crystal chandelier, glass sculpture and glass vases and bowls. Touches of red glass accent the room. Color from the wallpaper is carried into the adjacent living area in a silver/gray sofa and carpet, and the red accents are played up in paintings and decorative glass objects. To balance the black in the kitchen, dark cabinets are used for the entertainment center as well as another built-in bar off the living area.
Several rooms were repurposed in the remodel. I don’t like the term “man cave,” because it implies that the space is…well…a dark, dirty, smelly cave. Instead, I will say that the original room designated as a retreat for the man of the house was turned into a luxurious guest room. He inherited a much larger space that accommodates a custom built-in wet bar, pool table, game table, and lounge area. It is decorated with his sports memorabilia, but it is a light-filled sophisticated retreat that any woman would be happy to spend time in.
Another room remodeled with built-in cabinets serves as a a staging point for entry to the pool. Guests can use the bathroom directly off this area and store their belongings on the built-in seat or in the custom cabinets.
These modifications adapted the space in the home to better meet the needs of the occupants. Living in the home for seven years prior to the remodel gave them the opportunity to understand how they utilized the space in their home.
Improving the amenities in one’s home is the number one reason people remodel. An amenity is any feature that provides comfort, convenience, or pleasure. The home they have created speaks of glamour and opulence and is designed to make a dramatic impression.