Derrick Ivey

Design Coach

Portfolio: Clear Vision

see also: what Rhoda and Ron say

Rhoda and Ron wanted a contemporary home with clean lines and an open floor plan. Much of their existing art and furnishings had an Arts and Crafts and/or Japanese feel -- but with a decidedly modern slant. And this was the aesthetic they wanted to refine and carry over into their new home.

When I first met them, they already had a clear vision of what they wanted and were well on their way to achieving it. Our first meeting was with their architect and involved putting the final touches on the blueprints for their custom designed home. My main function here was to provide a fresh set of eyes on a project which had been on the table for quite a while.

In fact, that was my role throughout much of the process -- providing another point of view, identifying and solving potential problems, and helping to keep the vision clear and unified. Rhoda and Ron had made a lot of choices, had many references for inspiration, and continued to be extremely pro-active in finding exactly the right elements for their home. It was truly a collaborative endeavor.

Once the basic design was in place, we moved on to the many details.

We chose a limited color scheme of three similar shades which would run through the entire house, creating a harmonious backdrop for more vibrant art and furnishings. All three paint colors are technically gray: a neutral taupe-gray went onto most of the walls, trim, and ceilings; a cool blue-gray went into the two tray ceilings, the master bath ceilings, two of the powder room walls, and utility room; and a warm green-gray went into the breakfast room, guest bath, and office. Since the colors have pretty much the same value, the effect is subtle and elegant. And, since the colors have muted, neutral pigments, they change hue in different lighting -- giving completely different looks throughout the day, during various types of weather, and in different seasons. This is especially effective given the vast amount of natural light which pours in through the large windows.

The public areas have hardwood flooring throughout, accented by the same complimentary tile selection for the kitchen, distinctive flat hearth design, powder room and hallway from the garage. A different tile was chosen for the exterior porches to blend with the color of the interior hardwood floors -- blurring rather than accentuating the transition from interior to exterior living spaces.

The open floor plan allows for many views of the Japanese garden. We made a strong choice with a yellow leather sectional sofa and vibrant rug to anchor the living area. A custom designed niche wall both conceals the television and speakers, and showcases some of the couple's art collection. In the dining area there is a custom 6 foot square table which very comfortably seats eight, and a dramatic system of three sheer curtains for added privacy and a variety of looks. The beautiful countertops and backsplash in the custom kitchen are of the same granite which Rhoda and Ron loved in their previous home and are complimented by the warm tones and clean lines of the cabinetry and modern hardware.

The office is adjacent to the open living area and has glass doors to allow for privacy without blocking the flow of light nor making the room feel closed in. Wall to wall shelving houses the clients' library and the room also includes two desk areas and a spacious seating area. Since so much color and texture are provided by the books, artifacts, and family photos, we painted everything below ceiling level in the same green-gray. As a result, even though there is a lot going on visually, this room has the same harmonious feel as the rest of the house.

The master suite is an oasis of tranquility; the design is based on a photo the couple had for inspiration. Here we played into the soothing gray tones on the walls and ceiling, rather than creating contrast with more color. The custom-designed carpeting -- with a gray square inset into a field of blue -- softly echoes the tray ceiling above. And the custom niche wall holds the television and more art pieces.

The his and hers master baths were each designed with luxurious serenity in mind. While the basic color scheme of the suite is carried over into the master baths (here we went with blue-gray on the ceiling) they are accented with custom cabinetry in deep espresso, tumbled marble floor and wall tiles, and soapstone countertops.

Photos simply cannot capture the wonderful feel of the powder room. We used the taupe-gray on two walls and the blue-gray on the other two walls, both to accent the large artwork which hangs opposite the lavatory and to create a subtle differentiation between the toilet and the lavatory areas. The punch-out in the wall which conceals the toilet allows light to flow through and gives what could seem like a very small room an open feeling.

The guest suite makes a strong but refined statement with an upholstered headboard offset by two stunning wrought iron lamps.

next: Custom Textiles