The homeowners’ renovation mandate was clear when designer Jennifer Welch was hired to give a spacious estate in Nichols Hills a fresh, new look.
“The couple wanted their home to have a transitional look – not too traditional or contemporary,” Welch says. “They wanted it light, cozy, elegant, but not stuffy. Most important, they wanted a comfortable setting for their family, including two high schoolers and one college student.
“For me, it was like walking into a blank slate,” Welch recalls. “The home had been completely updated when [the homeowners] purchased it. They wanted a look that would make the home their own.”
The Georgian-style two-story, U-shaped home is approximately 10,000 square feet in size. It follows this traditional style in its exterior and interior footprint. Stepping inside, a large staircase to the right of the living room leads to the children’s upstairs haven: four bedrooms and a sitting area.
“The home has good, neutral bones, and the floor plan is terrific,” Welch says. “Every room leading outside features French doors, so I had the opportunity to do a variety of cool draperies.” Four fireplaces and mantels also offered design opportunities.
“Incorporating some of their furnishings they wanted to keep was the biggest challenge,” Welch notes. “The wife has a great eye for design. The couple travels frequently and now has a wonderful art collection. They were quite involved in the placement of certain furnishings and all the art.”
Welch began the yearlong renovation with a soft, neutral color palette of white, light cream and gray. Paintings frequently provided the color pop needed to give the rooms drama. Occasionally, Welch added bold color surprises with lamps or vases, placed to draw attention.
Texture also added to the home’s comfortable elegance. Welch used a black-and-white grasscloth wallpaper in the formal dining room and a dyed cowhide rug cut into octagon and hexagon shapes under the dark walnut sleigh bed in the master bedroom; raffia fronts enhance the custom made bedside night stands.
Two alpaca wool runners accent the floor in front of the commercial range and sink in the kitchen, adding texture, warmth and comfort. The kitchen includes a spacious family room.
This family enjoys reading constantly. Welch created a special reading area in the living room with ideal chairs for this leisure time activity – an Eames chair, ottoman and complementary side table for him; a stately, contemporary high-back chair for her.
A custom silk and wool rug in gray, cream and pale blue anchors the seating area in the living room, as does a custom made coffee table fashioned of cut marble tiles and curved antique brass legs. Custom made consoles feature matching ottomans and lamps, creating a symmetrical look.
The dining room is exquisite. Welch used the existing Chippendale table and chairs, updating with two new, oversize host and hostess chairs. Custom made chandeliers of white carved wood with silver leaf and white lacquer add a contemporary contrast.
Welch had draperies made of gray silk with a white phalange down the side for a look she calls “rather sexy.” Fresh white orchids dress the table. An adjacent bar transitions this room to the kitchen and family room.
“The family lived in the house for a year before the renovation,” Welch says. “They wanted to know the house well before we began the redecorating process. She knew what she wanted, and we worked in phases. They were very mindful that this was a collaboration. She was comfortable with every decision I made, and they trusted me to help execute their vision for their home.”