Lifestyles of a Busy Family Determine Housing Needs
By: Diane DuPont Marlow
Christine and Erik Simpson loved the design integrity of their architect/owner built home in the secluded Grey Forest area of San Antonio, but found it did not adequately meet the needs of an active, busy family that includes two teen-aged girls. The decade old, architect-designed home was meticulously planned to take advantage of the spectacular view. The current owners wished to respect the architectural legacy of the property while adapting it to a more contemporary lifestyle. The couple sought to enhance the functionality and enjoyment for their family as well as to make astute investments in the property for resell value purposes. Lead designer Jamie Henderson working with the Bravi Design team was selected to envision and execute an appropriate remodel.
After assessing the functional and lifestyle needs of the family, Jamie worked through the design process to develop a design concept that reflected the personality, taste and interests of the well-educated, well-traveled family. A combination of sleek European modern and abstract Native American influences reflects the very tech-savvy collectors of Native American artifacts. Jamie brought together a sleek, modern look warmed by earthy colors and organic motifs. The outcome was a design concept that found a happy balance between the architecture of the home, the individuality of the clients, and the environment.
After a lengthy dialogue with her clients, Jamie concluded the kitchen presented the most pressing problems with the home and was the logical place to begin the transition to a more functional living space for the family. It was too small with too little storage and was outdated and not user friendly. Jamie took a very analytical look at space limitations and opportunities in the kitchen in order to maximize function while updating and enhancing the ambiance of the kitchen.
The unique angles and multiple window placements in the kitchen presented functional optimization of the space. Multiple windows in the kitchen were walled over to facilitate movement of the refrigerator to create a more efficient work triangle without losing the amazing view. New Thermidor appliances were put in place. Cabinetry was updated. Glass fur downs hide upper cabinets while lower cabinets are Euro-chic with walnut inserts. Back-painted glass doors with streamlined metallic hardware was installed for a more modern look. A custom designed glass backsplash inspired by the geometric patterns of Native American textile designs personalizes the space. A white pot filler was installed in the backsplash on the wall behind the range. White, gray, and pewter tones were used throughout the space. The floor is of porcelain tile. Unfortunately, changing dye lots of the tile presented a problem for the tile installation, resulting in a major project delay.
The cornerstone of the kitchen remodel was a custom designed island. Design challenges to the island project were multiple as it was designed to meet many needs. It provides additional storage, adaptable dining space with comfortable seating for four, and flexible workspace with multiple plug-in capacity. An angled edge was incorporated into the island design to reflect the room angle as an homage to the home’s architect.
What began as a simple request for an icemaker ended up as a sophisticated beverage station. A comfortable window bench upholstered in a sun and pet resistant fabric designed by Lee Josa was added to encourage family use of the room. The result is a state of the art modern kitchen that is both a functional workspace and cozy family gathering spot.
Effective use of lighting was critical to the clients requiring an extensive electrical design team. Layers of lighting include task lighting for work areas, effective management of ambient lighting, and accent lighting for artwork were a critical part of the design plan. In the kitchen, the below and above the cabinet lighting changes colors constantly adding excitement and drama to the space.
In addition, Nicole Michaud Project Manager/designer replaced lighting fixtures throughout the home incorporating modernistic sconces, chandeliers, spherical lighting in the formal dining room. Cabinetry was replaced in the master bath, laundry room, and downstairs foyer and the flooring upstairs was replaced with exotic hardwood floors.
And finally, a display wall was reconfigured to include a large panty concealed by sliding barn doors that reveal a central display area housing artifacts from the couple’s Native American Art collection.