Sweet Home à la Savannah

  • LEFT: Southerners revere hospitality, according to interior designer Lynn Morgan. Her historic Savannah row house clearly has its own open door policy. RIGHT: The foyer’s gilded Federal style mirror keeps a watchful eye on the well-appointed living room.
  • Sunlight pours through dramatic six-over-six, double sash windows, filling the gracious living room with an inviting warmth.
  • The kitchen’s beadboard, painted in pale blue, extends from the countertop upwards and into the glass display cabinets, providing a subtly colourful backdrop to dishes on display. To ground the busy kitchen and its painted surfaces, Lynn introduced dark stained, oak countertops.
  • Playful green upholstered chairs with white, contrast piping gather round the painted dining table.
  • Lynn’s fondness for Caribbean colour finds its way into her sun-filled master bedroom. A crisp white coverlet, cashmere throw and downy pillows provide the layers of comfort required for sleeping. The bedroom walls are painted Benjamin Moore’s Mountain Mist.
  • Adjacent to sleeping quarters is a gracious dressing room, separated by glass doors. The frosted panes soften filtering sunlight.
  • High-gloss white paint draws attention to the handsome baseboards and trim throughout, especially when contrasted with the matte finish used on walls.

Set in Savannah’s historic oak-lined district, the Greek Revival row house was originally built in 1853, likely a family home for a successful shipping magnate. Determined to strike her own pose with the redecoration project, Lynn Morgan was unencumbered by the home’s luminous past.

Instead, she created a thoroughly American interior by hitting the proverbial “refresh” button. Rather than rely exclusively on French and English antiques, the designer incorporated found pieces, painted furniture and humble garden elements, creating an easy, welcoming mix. Lacquered white furniture, saturated colour and bold graphics infuse the public spaces with joyful energy.

Striking pattern is used strategically to create interest in key areas—most notably the checkerboard floor pattern in the kitchen, the bold stripes in the dining room area carpet and the blue zigzag ottoman in the living room. Subtle pattern, like the beadboard in the kitchen and the sisal area carpet in the living room, creates texture and provides a foil to glossier finishes.

Dabble Savvy: Use a dark lampshade, like the royal blue bedside lamp with a narrow opening at the top and wider opening at the bottom, to force light onto the surface of a good book (as seen in the Master Bedroom).

Lynn’s Style Tips

Keep it simple. Glamour and sophistication go hand in hand with simplicity. Lynn suggests removing something from every finished room.

Mix it up. Texture and depth are byproducts of contrast. Mixing finishes—lacquered trim and matte walls, sisal carpets and high-gloss wood floors—enlivens a scheme.

Be an original. Don’t feel compelled to follow the past. Be fearless and set a contemporary tone that speaks to you personally.

Paint it white. For striking architecture or furniture with great bones, a coat of paint is transformative.

 

Spanish Eyes

  • Wrought iron balusters grace the foyer’s tiled staircase.
  • Various objet d’art and collectibles rest on surfaces throughout the spacious living room. A formidable and eclectic art collection adorns the room’s walls.
  • LEFT: The coffee table has a balustrade base and its top is edged in marble which surrounds a terra cotta field. RIGHT: At the bar, crystal glasses rest on a chest decorated with marquetry.
  • The panelled study enjoys uninterrupted views to the foyer and into the dining room. Its coffered ceiling creates cozy intimacy in the warm setting.
  • In the dining room, a two-tiered crystal chandelier with acanthus leaves at the crown and antique bronze fittings softly illuminates the oval table. The table is surrounded by leather-clad dining chairs with tapestry backs.
  • Looking outside to the courtyard, dinner guests catch sight of the leafy lemon trees that are poised to flower and release their delicate scent.
  • A large candle chandelier floats above the kitchen island. When the temperature heats up, family and guests move into the shade of the adjoining patio.
  • From the kitchen, doors open onto a charming patio beneath an ivy-covered archway.

Marci Valner’s Spanish Colonial style home circa 1929 is minutes from UCLA in the urban suburb of Westwood. Jockeying for a parking spot is de rigueur in this neighbourhood. We see one, grab it and remember to hang the coveted permit from the rear view mirror or—ouch—a $64 ticket is sure to be waiting upon our return.

Although the home is formally designed it’s clearly well-loved and used frequently for entertaining. Patterned chairs and serviceable sofas invite lingering in the living room. Aubusson tapestry and vintage leaf patterns adorn pillows on the velvet sofa. An antique trestle side table sits next to the William Birch arm chair with its vintage palm leaf upholstery.

In the kitchen, cool-to-the-touch terra cotta floors offer a respite from the day’s heat. White adobe plaster walls and rustic wood beams on the ceiling add to the 1920’s mood.

We are in no hurry to rush back to our parking spot and take a moment to rest on the patio’s cool tile steps.

Lazy Days of Summer

  • Looking to renovate their Kiawah Island vacation property, a Connecticut couple turns to designer Erin Glennon (RIGHT) to create a space that is vibrant, clutter free and suitable to rent to occasional guests.
  • In the foyer, a whitewashed Shaker style console with distressed finish handles hastily tossed keys and provides an ideal perch for sea glass lamps. Stacked orange boxes complement the sea green colour of the lamps and provide additional storage for smaller items such as flashlights or even beach-ready flip-flops.
  • LEFT: Sophisticated colour pairings and nautical details, like the navy and white valance on the window, combine to provide the master bedroom with the desired coastal style. The rustic bench at the foot of the bed and Moroccan area carpet add texture and comfort without being too formal. For the upholstered headboard, Erin opted for a practical Sunbrella fabric in a crisp white.
  • Undaunted by previously dark and dated interiors, Erin added painted white beadboard wainscotting to the living room, simultaneously enhancing the room’s natural sunlight and adding architectural interest.
  • White’s such a useful colour for providing a backdrop to the vibrant hues and patterns so well-suited to vacation living. “Now the living room reminds me of a Jack Johnson song—relaxing but not boring,” says Erin.
  • The biggest challenge may have been the dining area. It’s a pretty tight space and yet it needed a table large enough to seat 6 people. In addition, two of the three walls are sliding glass doors, which meant we had to sacrifice a serving buffet. We used the large scale print to anchor the space and create the room’s dramatic focal point.
  • “Don’t fuss. Keep it casual with a collection of mismatched vases.”
  • Aesthetically this room reflects a slightly more rustic interpretation of the Kiawah landscape through the textured banana leaf headboard, antlers and plaid woolen throw. The small portraits above each bedside table are by local artist, Alaina Michelle Ralph.
  • “A bed that sleeps more than one person should always have an end table on each side, no matter how small,” insists Erin.
  • The Kiawah Island, South Carolina property overlooks a lagoon with ocean views beyond. Though their vacation property is four states away, the owners say the setting is a perfect antidote to cooler New England temperatures back home.

Dabble Savvy: To create a cohesive colour story, lay all fabrics on a large table and consider the flow and harmony from room to room.

“I really like the idea of furniture blending into the walls to create an airier feeling in vacation homes,” says the designer.

First Bedroom Featured
The wall colour, Benjamin Moore’s Natural Elements, reads as a light neutral but actually changes as the day goes on, becoming more greenish-blue. “This is one of my favorite wall colors,” says the designer. “I use it to create bedrooms that are, above all, restful.”

Dabble Savvy: A portrait adds a personal element to a room, especially when it’s an original piece rather than a print.

 

At Dusk

  • Orange and blue are complementary colours that work in harmony with the pool.
  • “I dabble in... entertaining. There’s nothing I like more than having my close friends over”. ~ Matt
  • Matt prepares tangy martinis at the tiki bar.
  • RIGHT Simple and stylish appetizersare crowd pleasers.
  • Send a message to guests on slate plates from Crate and Barrel.
  • Dabble’s DIY Guy, Nicholas Rosaci takes a well-deserved seat in the lush setting he’s created for his client.
  • "Attention to detail is what really gives a home a feeling of quality and style. Every detail should work in harmony to create a space that truly sings." ~Nicholas

At dusk….that’s when this newly transformed backyard looks its starlit best. How fitting, since the house in question belongs to crooner and jazz vocalist Matt Dusk.

In designing an at-home retreat for the globe trotting musician, designer Nicholas Rosaci artfully combines two of his client’s passions—travel and vintage Hollywood.

Starting with a great backdrop helps any decorating project and Nicholas was pleased to see the combination of buff brick on the house and terracotta on the patio floor. Against these fixed elements, the daring designer added bold aqua blue and fiery orange to, “Ahem, jazz things up.”

“Orange is current and urbane,” says Nicholas, “and it complements the watery blues of the  swimming pool.” To give the casual dining area a sense of ceremony, Nicholas circled its perimeter with breezy white drapery panels by Sunbrite Drapery. Moroccan lanterns lend sparkle to evening events and set an exotic mood.

Favourite element? “Oh, it has to be the tiki bar,” says Matt. “And I make a mean martini too.”

The World on a String
Create a romantic mood by hanging all-weather light strings reminiscent of an Italian piazza or Tuscan courtyard.

Dream a Little Dream
Before purchasing a patio set, find some online design images for inspiration. End of season deals are always a possibility.

The Best is Yet to Come
Treat the patio with the same reverence as the living room. Dress the fence with art, mirrors and sculpture.

Memories are Made of This
Once the project is complete, christen it with friends and a festive celebration.

Surfing Sisters

  • When you enter the house, the stairs are an immediate focal point. The stripes are painted with Stark Paint.
  • The sisters invested in appliances such as the pink Blue Star stove. Its colour stands out brilliantly in the white cabinetry.
  • Using the sisters' own bedroom furniture, the designers treated the floor to a bubblegum pink colour and added the vintage chandelier.
  • Designers Bob and Cortney Novogratz pasted Matt Siren's poster of the "Ghost Girls" all over the room, providing graphic drama. To make the wall treatment more durable, the posters are painted over with clear varnish.

When two artsy sisters bought a home, sight unseen, from a foreclosure sale in the Far Rockaways of New York state, they envisioned a perfect hideaway surf pad. Fortunately the chic siblings, Debra and Katherine Chen, hired two funky designers, husband and wife duo Bob and Cortney Novogratz from 9 by Design. Looks like it’s surf’s up from here on out.

Most designers only dream of having free rein in a client’s home. Starting with an empty shell, this house didn’t even have real stairs going up to the second floor. It didn’t have a kitchen either. But what it did have was vision, thanks to surfer residents Debra and Katherine.

The siblings asked the designers to create a distinct home where they could entertain friends and family in comfort. The Novogratz’s quickly saw an opportunity to inject colour, personality and most importantly, functionality into the home. Using the sisters’ admiration for Betsy Johnson as a jumping-off place, Bob and Cortney harnessed the colour pink and brought their dreams to life.

The casual and comfy living room features custom toss cushions soon to be available through the designers’ home décor collection. A dynamic rug, which reads “girrrlll” reflects the clients’ fun side. The floral wallpaper is custom from Flavorpaper and it’s strategically placed to inject style and personality without overwhelming the space.

For more on the Surfer Sisters’ home and Bob and Cortney’s designs, watch Home by Novogratz on HGTV Canada.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY MATTHEW WILLIAMS

Luxe Desert Retreat

  • Jamie used a grasscloth wallpaper in the foyer and hall to create textural interest without distracting from the beauty of the moulding.
  • “Reflective quality doesn’t always have to be glass, marble or other hard surfaces. Shine also comes from fabrics like the silk velvet material on the sofa cushions.” ~ Jamie
  • A classic white kitchen with framed cabinetry and white Calcutta marble countertops complements the home’s traditional elements. A custom marble mosaic on the back of the island acts as powerful art in a neutral colour scheme.
  • In the master bedroom, Jamie demonstrates that it is completely acceptable to put a bed in front of a window.
  • “I reoriented the floor plan and put the bed in front of the window deliberately to make the bed front and center in the room.”

You wouldn’t know it from its formal interior, but this 7000 square foot home is located in Paradise Valley, Arizona, amidst the deserts and the cacti. Designer Jamie Herzlinger is up to the challenge of transforming the house from top to bottom with her client’s specific vision in mind: luxe desert retreat.

When you enter the home you are instantly greeted by the 19th century Dutch corbeille-shaped canapé which sits on top of Marie Antoinette patterned hardwood floors: the entrance showstopper.

Jamie designed a niche in the foyer to give the room a large presence. The mirror, that sits above the Marquetry commode, purposely reflects into the dining room.

Jamie describes this space as refined elegance because it’s not too formal but formal enough to go from jeans to black tie.

Jamie says the key to achieving a similar look is to always keep it simple. A neutral palette should have different variations of white and flexible lighting, including table lamps and a chandelier like the Sophia Chandelier by Jan Showers. Desert life never looked so luxe.

Photography by Werner Segarra.

Red, White & Green

  • Pine Adirondack chairs—painted “Mountain Stream” from Pittsburgh Paints—sit sentry year round on the wraparound porch.
  • Simple parson chairs strike a festive pose when tied with a bright red ribbon and decked with humble ornaments.
  • Lynnette uses white Stargazer lilies throughout the home as a reminder of Christmas in New Zealand, where people typically decorate for the holidays with an abundance of fresh cut flowers.

Lynnette and Mitchell Eisen created a family home that combines elements of their respective childhoods—hers, beach front New Zealand, and his, a wraparound porch in Toronto. The charming result is a practical home that welcomes family and friends with natural light and and casual comfort.

“Find something from nature like the bark on a tree, or a sentimental decoration, and use that as inspiration. Be creative and let the design reflect your individuality.” ~Lynnette 

Winter whites and natural earth tones bring nature’s palette indoors. The effect is enhanced by large windows that make the connection stronger still, infusing the country home with natural light.

It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere

  • The living room’s sectional sofa is covered in creamy, textured linen. Sitting adjacent is the iconic Platner chair and stool. “To me, the Platner series represents ultimate glamour,” the designer says.
  • Steven opted for Resene Marsale paints in industrial hues—like the dramatic charcoal seen here—to complement urban views.
  • Floor to ceiling glass, dynamic city views and overscaled accessories create a dramatic setting for dining.
  • Europeans were fascinated with the Far East during the time of explorer Marco Polo. A closer look at the cabinet's details reveal animated people in ornate dress and elephants in ceremonial costume.
  • The luxurious silk-panelled walls embrace the bedroom’s cozy ambience.

Perched high on the cliffs in the Brisbane suburb of New Farm, this penthouse condo with its stylish “cocktails-at-five” mood reflects the talents of Australian designer Steven Stewart. The quiet inner-city dwelling suits his client’s busy lifestyle. As a bonus, it’s also an ideal meeting spot for friends to gather before heading out for a late dinner at one of the area’s fabulous restaurants.

Spacious and airy, chic open-plan living and dining rooms lead to outdoor entertaining areas as well as stunning, unobstructed views of the city and its brightly lit Story Bridge.

Although it’s an optical illusion, it almost feels that the illuminated bridge—which crosses the Brisbane River, connecting the city’s northern and southern suburbs— is within easy reach.

In the dining room, eight alabaster leather chairs border the gleaming black table, ready to accommodate the owner’s frequent dinner parties. Two vintage Chinese vases from a local antiques dealer sit on top. “We purposely chose white vases to add a spark,” says Steven.

Despite its ultra-urban vibe, the burgeoning neighbourhood of New Farm gets its name from the city’s early years as a rural community. “Since this is the condo’s only penthouse,” says Steven, “it’s affectionately called the New Farm Penthouse.”

The towering metal sculpture, purchased by the owner in Italy, strikes a pose against Brisbane’s evening skies.

“Black and gold Chinoiserie provides a stunning backdrop to the luxury textiles and finishes,” says designer Steven Stewart.

A gleaming bar cabinet with glass shelves and mirror backing displays crystal wine goblets, ready to oblige a future soirée. The decorative details of the chinoiserie work beautifully against the dark and dramatic interior accents. Steven explains the term Chinoiserie is a French word that means ‘in the Chinese taste’ and describes a European style of decorative detail, wildly popular in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Clearly, it’s still fashionable today.

Bedroom walls are seductively panelled in a sophisticated silk textile, custom-dyed to match the paint finish on adjacent walls. Not only does the treatment create a cozy environment for sleeping, it’s an effective way to dampen noise as well. Underfoot is a cozy taupe carpet.

“Bedrooms don’t experience the same heavy use as say, the kitchen, so I took the opportunity to use more extravagant materials,” the designer enthuses.

In addition to carrying the home’s industrial colour scheme throughout, Steven introduces a Chinese motif on the decorative pillows to echo the chinoise elements throughout the condo. The faux fur throw adds a welcome layer of luxury.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY KYLIE HOOD

Honey, I’m Home

  • Sunlight pours into the sleek kitchen, warming cool surfaces such as the calacatta gold polished marble, stainless steel cabinet frames and painted glass uppers.
  • Taking advantage of all available space, Deborah positioned an upholstered banquette between built-ins to create a den. What might have been an unused corner is now a cozy conversation grouping.
  • The floor to ceiling painting by Roverto Cortazar and the vintage candelabras by Dorothy Thorpe create major impact in the dining room.
  • The Great Plains fabric on the chair is the showstopper in this master bedroom.
  • An Ann Sacks mirror pairs beautifully with the freestanding wood vanity.

Charged with the task of transforming a 3,000 square foot oceanside property, Deborah Wecselman avoids the obvious cliché of blue and white. Instead, the Lima, Peru native infuses her client’s home with global style, honey tones and striking artwork.

The stained walnut floors, which run throughout the condo, anchor the space handsomely, allowing the designer to introduce dark neutrals such as the custom ebonized pedestal table in the dining room and mink coloured leather upholstery on the banquette in the den.

Large mirrors fill the corner space with sunlight from adjacent windows. As layers contribute a feeling of intimacy, a reflective sunburst sits on top of the existing mirror and mismatched decorative toss cushions soften the upholstered banquette. Rather than opt for a traditional coffee table, Deborah paired two square ottomans with two cube tables, creating a more flexible arrangement.

Deborah Wecselman launched her career as a design associate with Polo Ralph Lauren. Under the tutelage of the vast creative empire, she learned the value of making a statement and creating truly individual style. She also learned that breaking the rules is sometimes the best way to introduce drama.

Breaking the Rules

  1. The television is mounted on custom bronze posts and appears to float in the central window. A daring feature that draws admiration from visitors.
  2. In the dining room, a floor to ceiling oil painting by Roberto Cortazar infuses the seating area with pure drama, an effect the designer enjoys.
  3. Who says a carpet has to be rectangular? Deborah uses a round carpet to create a central focus in the living room.

Statuario marble and taupe-brown limestone work in tandem with the mosaic wall trim to create a dynamic pattern in the small office bathroom. The dark wood vanity and mirror echo the walnut floors throughout the main rooms.

“It’s important to create a seamless feel from beginning to end of a project,” says Deborah. “To accomplish that, I frequently repeat colours and materials and, of course, no room is really complete without luxurious detail.”

Emphasizing horizontal lines in the bedroom distracts the eye from the relatively low ceiling. The upholstered headboard and footboard are a custom DWD (Deborah Wecselman Designs) design. The plush red club chair and ottoman are by Ralph Pucci.

Photography by Carlos Domenech

Rough Luxe

  • Floor-to-ceiling windows give way to three of Hollywood’s most famous sights: the iconic ‘Hollywood’ sign, Griffith Observatory and the conical Capitol Records Building at Hollywood and Vine.
  • A faux fur throw is the perfect addition to this black tufted leather sofa. To create the look, pair a distressed leather sofa with a luxurious faux fur throw.
  • Oversized lighting underscores the masculine drama. An “antler” chandelier shines above the dining table while a 70s grid illuminates the living room.
  • Kahi recalls, “When I started this project, everything in the room was white, My mantra is, don’t be shy about using bold colours, especially on walls. Dramatic colour creates a powerful mood.”

Rough Luxe = Distressed + Vintage + Luxury

“You’d expect to find drama in West Hollywood,” says interior designer Kahi Lee, “right?”

The photogenic LA designer is clearly ready for her close-up with this latest project for Jonas Brothers’ musician Nick, a penthouse suite that she describes as Rough Luxe.

Tasked with creating a modern masculine space, Kahi looked to Hollywood for inspiration. “Think Marlon Brando—the ultimate man’s man—elegant but rebellious.”

“I don’t do subtle,” says interior designer Kahi Lee

A handsome pair of tufted, black leather sofas dominate the living area, from their central perch on the shaggy area carpet. A large, pine topped coffee table services the seating.

An adjacent sitting area (above) gets its own star treatment with a custom designed wall covering. “It’s a splurge,” says the designer, “but it really makes a powerful statement.”

When asked, Kahi describes the condo’s style as, “Rough Luxe.” Though it’s masculine in appearance, it’s not without its glamour. Decadent touches include the faux fur throw on the living room sofa and the grass cloth covered walls with just a hint of iridescent sheen.

Snap Crackle Pop

  • Architect Bill Bocken’s clients love brightly coloured art work and collect it on their travels.
  • LEFT The double chaise lounge by Ligne Roset is positioned beside retractable doors, which open to the Pacific Ocean below.
  • The basalt wall tiles are from Classic Tile and Mosaic and the contemporary light bar is from Tec Lighting.
  • The clients host frequent weekend visitors, so the bed in the guest bedroom has built-in drawers to maximize storage in the small space. The cheerful red swivel chair and ottoman are from Hold It Contemporary Home.
  • Light bounces off the mirror backsplash to make this bright and cheery nook the perfect spot to start and end the day
  • A definite focal point for casual gatherings, the breakfast table also enjoys front-row ocean views. The glass table allows the metal base to get the attention it deserves while the tulip style chairs with red cushions carry colour from the living room into the kitchen.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY SHELLEY METCALF

Acting as architect, designer and landscaper Bill Bocken furnishes a beachside condo for empty nester clients with a taste for pop art and playful colour.

The airy and playfully designed San Diego condo shares airspace with the landmark Hotel del Coronado and sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean. But the adjacent ocean doesn’t provide the condo’s only colour. Says the designer, “My clients are inspired by brightly coloured accents and clothing. I showcase what they love in a sea of white and great lighting,”

The living room features a white Roche Bobois sofa with decorative accent cushions in black and bright red . A sleek coffee table from Hold It Contemporary Home and white kitchen bar stools from Ligne Roset round out the contemporary furnishings. “The furniture placement creates a relaxing conversation area for my clients and their guests as they enjoy the ocean and beach vistas,” says Bill.

“I dabble in creating artwork. I once used saris to create a contemporary abstract mosaic which my clients describe as ‘stunning’.”

Nathan Thomas Does Colour

  • The chalkboard wall takes on colourful shapes and patterns. Bright blue creates a striking backdrop to books and vases on display.
  • LEFT Outdoor furniture gives the “Kid’s Study” an indestructible and carefree attitude.
  • The living room beckons, day and night. By day, it’s drenched in natural sunlight. For evening entertaining or quiet, late night readng Nathan provides lamps, sconces and recessed lighting.
  • "By using a variety of fabrics to accent the sisal carpet, the room reflects more depth and substance."
  • Above the credenza and close to the entryway, Nathan places the client’s lithographs from the Beatles’ film, Yellow Submarine. They are framed to suit other accent pieces such as the pumpkin-coloured vintage Danish vase.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY ALEX DUPEUX

When a hip Manhattan family approached Top Design’s Season 2 winner, Nathan Thomas, to rejuvenate their daughter’s bedroom, he was surprised and delighted when the makeover stretched into a redesign of the entire 4000 square foot apartment.

The designer enthuses, “The family gave me complete freedom to update the space and leverage their love of colour. “

Nathan kicked off the project by creating a unique “Kid’s Study.” He added playful flourishes like the chalkboard paint wall, striped carpet and casual, outdoor lounge seating to stimulate activity.

Located in the classic Upper East Side and steps away from the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art and Central Park, this pre-war residence features ample natural light and handsome coffered ceilings.