The Anatomy of a Renovation

Changing iconic architecture, requires that our options are congruent, and in accord with the values and principles intended by the original design.

Step One Kitchen: We met when Diane and Larry came to our design center looking for tile for their backsplash. They were in the middle of a renovation.

Existing Living Room & Fireplace: In it’s day interior painted brick was rebellious! It was new and nearly blastphemous, making it even more appealing. But our technology has advanced, and our materials and choices are abundant beyond our wildest dreams. For a design to be successful: we must mindfully select what will fit with our essence, reflecting our personality as well as respecting and upholding the intent of the architect and his very original architecture at the same time.

Updated Fireplace/Mindful Choices: Today we are trending a similar direction, mirroring the simplifcation, hope and independence desired then. We want to “become more light” on *many* levels. Then as now, the architectural intent of these mid-century modern homes longs to connect with nature. This iconic home did so by “blurring the boundaries between inside and outside”. Clean, light and quite simple was the method, and an element of surprise is what stirs our hearts and piques our interest.

So we chose to cover the brick. Back in the day a semi-precious stone like honey onyx for a fireplace would not have even been a dream, much less in the least bit simple or affordable. But with today’s technology, we don’t even have to remove the brick! We can cover it with a thin layer of onyx stone tiles. Nature’s wondrous beauty in semi-precious stone brings the outdoors in with elegance and grace; and it lends a sophisticated but light and playful sensibility. The linear geometry of the onyx we chose, nestles into this home like she was just waiting for her real family to bring her home.

Beyond Architecture/Personalities Manifest: But it’s also more than architecture. The couple that calls this home, warm to the light and happy tones of yellows and golds. Greys feel grounded and earthy and the perfect neutral to them. They thrill to nature and the soft, sunny tones of yellows and golds. And as it happens, studies of colors and geometries confirm their way of being in the world. They are light and easy and joyful people. Grey is the color of groundedness, stability and separation; and they certainly exemplify individuality and centeredness. They have a financial advisory business, which is grounded, clean, honest, successful, but they do it without the grasping or greed that is often found in financial fields. They live pretty simply and are strongly connected to family. Their home is important to them and they’ve mindfully done one thing at a time over many years. They wait until they are ready and they do each thing well. They are not in a hurry and they are not out to impress, but more to invest. They invest wisely… in themselves, in beauty, and in the value of their home.

Architectural Intent/Blurring Boundaries: At the inception of this home, windows placed in the interior of a home was similarly unheard of! Windows flanking the dining room’s interior walls, give it access to the exterior. These rippled glass windows were new and thrilling, lending privacy while bringing daylight into otherwise dark interior spaces. 

With the intent of the architecture clearly on the front, we determined to bring in more light, blurr the boundaries even further and add an artistic touch by working with our favorite glass artist Josie. We opened it up, positioning trees within artistry, color, texture and design.

Conspiring to Create: Josie listened intently to the story of the client’s love of their “North Oaks” home surrounded by their oak trees. She heard the story of their beloved land with the full moon shining through the trees and saw our custom made back splash tile with an oak tree and full moon, and she saw our onxy fireplace. I sketched something up. Josie, the client and I met at her studio and selected colors that felt similar to the onxy. We found glass that waved with wind and wove with the earth and we chose shapes and forms… and the rest was Josie’s own brand of pure magic.

Josie’s Magic: Josie followed the form of my sketch with precision but we were thrilled and surprised to see Josie’s finished work where the trees emerged out of the glass as three dimensional copper! Trees that twisted with grace and ease and created art that pushed us far beyond our wildest dreams.