Wednesday, April 25, 2012

sonoma inspirations

This project’s clients are a young couple immersed in the local ‘culture du vin’, and the fresh parents of a now one-year old.  They had purchased this home just prior to engaging us.   We were asked to update the living room and master suite, along with other bathrooms, furnishings, lighting, colors etc. This home featured some grand spaces and some very ordinary ones.   As with all of our projects, we started by asking ourselves: How can we infuse this fairly ordinarily built and finished house with inspiration of the Sonoma County life-style combined with the calm but engaging spirit of the family. 
We started by thinking of natural materials, their tactile qualities, their temperature. We also thought of the quality of light specific to this area, and how to use it best to articulate the design, the spaces, the materials.
The master bedroom (below) with its ( see link below)8’ ceiling and its small and poorly placed windows presented us with one of the trickier challenges.  
It worked great as a pool table room, but for a inviting and restful master suite?  How one wakes up can set the tone for the day!  The ceiling felt oppressively low, so we took out the existing roof trusses and replaced them with conventional framing  (without touching the existing roof).  
We created a fake ridge along the center of the space, and added a small window centered on the south wall, sending a small square of sunlight (and moonlight too) wandering across the room, while framing foliage from adjacent trees. We also added new large windows that come down low to meet a built in window seat and open the room up to the beautiful back-yard. A new gas fireplace adds to the ambiance on cold or rainy days.

We feel that the renovation has transformed the residence to fit our clients’ life-styles and greatly upgraded it, without feeling pretentious. Additionally, the design allows the re-designed spaces to co-exist with existing spaces, creating a elegant and appropriate fusion bringing back an integrity to the architecture that was sorely missing.
The living room (right) featured, front and center, a very large and quite heinous white brick fireplace. and some seriously gothic chandeliers.   Again we thought of what materials would lend themselves to turning this into a Sonoma County space. We decided on Travertine and re-purposed, re-milled wood to bring a sophisticated but earthy and organic quality to this space.   We kept the design minimalist, asymmetrical, and uncompromised. The result is sleek, modern, but warm and quite tactile.

The Master bathroom (left):  We came across a gorgeous slab of blue marble with heavy diagonal veining. That slab became the design inspirations for the entire master bath. We ended using it on several walls, in the shower and around the tub. The new large windows were carefully placed to light  the stone, making it radiate like the edge of a glacier, turning the walls into natural modern art. The coolness of the stone is offset by warm blue walls and radiant custom colored walnut cabinetry, also adding warmth.

Children's Jack and Jill bathroom (below):  Correlating with more traditional styling at this location, we have octagonal tile flooring and antique reproduction brushed nickel faucets. 
This overall aesthetic is given a playful, contemporary edge with gorgeous stacking glass tiles.  The custom cabinetry was designed to work around the lower sill height of this window, providing a lovely stoop and viewing spot for a young child.

Please see our website for many more photos and information on this and other projects.  Thank you!