When this professional couple decided to downsize from their lakefront home, they were looking for a small, yet open and inviting, waterfront space that fit their lifestyle. Unable to find something that matched their needs and taste, they purchased a 40 year old high rise condo unit that was the right size and had tremendous views, but that was also old, tired, and closed in.
The design process was focused on creating open, inviting, light-filled spaces with clear sight lines and connected living. However, the location of existing high-rise stacks for plumbing and mechanical services limited the ability to relocate baths and key kitchen elements.
The key to this design was not what was added, but what was taken away from the existing space. Walls, soffits and doors were removed, allowing the space to flow from the front of the unit, with Lynnhaven Inlet views, to the back, with Chesapeake Bay frontage. These open, light-filled public spaces are wrapped around the more private bedroom/bath core. The kitchen was widened to visually connect to the library, and extra cabinets were wrapped around a corner, unifying it with the dining space. The studio was opened to the entry hall with a clerestory opening that both brings natural light into the studio and also provides exhibition space for the owner’s mixed media creations.
With such a small home, creating cohesiveness through materials selection was essential to making the space feel expansive, allowing it to live larger than it actually is. The entire condo (including the balcony) has a travertine-look rectangular porcelain tile floor to unify all of the spaces; by installing it in an offset stack pattern, the eye is drawn out through the glass curtainwall to the bay beyond. Similarly, all of the interior walls are painted a soft warm grey to unify and extend the space. Trim is minimal and uses clean, wedge shaped members painted to match the wall color, minimizing any interruption of the flow of space. The east and west perimeter walls are accented in blue and green, making them recede, while providing a strong background for the owner’s collection of work by local artists. Besides the extensive art collection, ‘statement’ elements include a metal mosaic backspash in the kitchen and watery glass mosaic accents in the baths.
Furnishings are a mix of the Owner’s existing pieces, including family heirlooms and antiques, and a small number of new pieces which bridge the craftsman look of the existing with a more current, but clean aesthetic. The overall effect is a sense of calm, warm, livability that perfectly matches this couple’s lifestyle.
2014 Interior Design Excellence Award for Residential - Under 3,500 SF
IIDA Virginia/West Virginia Chapter and ASID Virginia