“I don’t want anything old or two-story.”
That was the client’s mandate to designer Jennifer Welch for her new home as an empty nester. She and her husband were downsizing after raising their children in a family neighborhood in Edmond. They wanted to live closer to downtown Oklahoma City’s numerous amenities.
A friend suggested they look at a vintage beauty in Mesta Park, a midtown enclave featuring numerous older, two-story homes. Although it was old, the previous owners had completely and meticulously restored it. They took the home back to the studs and all the plumbing and electrical work, all while keeping the home’s historical character.
“What made this home so appealing to my clients was the way it had been restored. It was an old home, full of charm and fully renovated. It was move-in ready, with the exception of paint on the walls,” Welch says. “Although it wasn’t on the market, [the clients] fell in love with it, and the couple made an offer immediately after the initial visit.”
Even though the couple was downsizing – going from 4,500 square feet to 1,850 – the major directive to Welch was that they wanted everything new. That included custom-made furnishings, exquisite draperies, dramatic lighting and accessories.
“It was a dream job for me,” Welch recalls. “I completely let my creativity reign. We only had three meetings, and they liked everything I showed them.”
Welch chose a neutral palette and accented with bold colors.
Noted for renovations that give older homes an edgy, contemporary look, Welch’s strategy is to find an anchor piece for each room – a painting, an unusual chandelier, furnishings or draperies that will add drama to a setting.
For this home, she chose a wool-and-silk Moroccan rug to make a statement in the entry. A vibrant Ryan Cunningham painting of an American Indian chief’s head is a focal point in the living room. The client was familiar with Cunningham’s boldly colored art, which Welch says, “adds a big pop.”
The painting complements the room’s earthy hues, sparked with jewel-tone accessories. A French brass lumiere lights the room. A Lucite coffee table anchors this setting. A carved teak console and velvet pillows define the inviting room.
The formal dining room has a Kyle Bunting cowhide rug nestled under a custom-made square table, which comfortably seats eight. Italian chairs are covered in jewel-tone fabric. Deep sapphire draperies feature embroidered details.
Lucite bar stools were the perfect fresh touch in the kitchen, which acquired marble countertops in the previous owners’ renovation.
The upstairs includes two full baths and three bedrooms; one of those was converted to a cozy sitting room. For the master suite, Welch chose a gray color theme and mixed velvet bed accessories with flax-and-linen draperies in a geometric pattern for a soothing environment.
Like the interior, all the exterior needed was Welch’s touch, which includes tropical-style furniture so the couple could relax on the front porch – a Mesta Park leisure pastime.
“This six-month project was just easy,” Welch recalls. “The clients are both professional people in their mid-50s and very sophisticated. They were completely ready to detach themselves from everything they owned in the past. They said, ‘We like what you do. There are no restrictions.’ They were some of the easiest people I’ve ever worked with. They let me be the designer.”
An interior designer for 17 years, Welch travels often for her clients to New York and Europe, inspiring locales for cutting-edge style trends.
“I do a lot of vacation residences, and clients always want a different look for those homes,” she says. “But this is the first time I’ve worked with people who wanted everything new – even the dishes.”