When Jill Croka was hired to design the interior for a new Tulsa residence, she chose simple materials – wood and stone – to bring warmth and texture to the house.
“The clients wanted their home to be modern and feature clean lines and natural materials,” says Croka, who collaborated with the clients and architect Mark Nelson from the ground up.
Nelson adds: “Originally, the couple wanted to renovate their midtown home. But that wasn’t going to give them what they needed.”
Nelson designed a new home with the exterior covered in creamy Kansas limestone and bleached cedar sides. Floor-to-ceiling windows reflecting southern light are a major feature of his design.
The neighborhood, in an upscale area near Edison High School, features large lots, with more than an acre for this home. The area has enjoyed a renaissance with many new home constructions or extensive renovations.
Croka describes the home’s design and decor as “organic modern,” whose simplicity creates “a warm, inviting space.”
She is sensitive about how a home’s interior affects its residents. Her first career was as a psychotherapist, so she includes healing design elements that contribute to a peaceful, beautiful setting.
When she changed careers, she attended the Design Institute of San Diego, then received a master’s degree in design from Oklahoma State University. She taught design at the University of Oklahoma for four years before forming her own firm.
“That part of my life has influenced my interior design work. Whether we realize it or not, natural materials really determine how we feel about a space,” Croka says. “A home should provide rest, relaxation and rejuvenation for the things we do in life. I want people to feel inspired by design. The whole first impression of a home should make people feel good.”
This home’s initial view achieves Croka’s intentions.
“The exterior coordinates with the interior and matches the homeowners’ desire [to link] outside [and] indoor spaces,” she says.
The sun-filled entry leads guests to a dining area on the right; the main living area is on the left. The dining area has a distinct wall print with draperies to match. Croka used Cassina Cab leather chairs – a favorite for comfortable dining – to accompany the custom-made oval marble dining table.
The spacious living area blends seamlessly into the kitchen, offering an expansive view of the pool and patio and extending to the back edge of the meticulously landscaped property. The living area also introduces the home’s architecturally dramatic high ceilings.
“The formal living room is a study in textures,” Croka says.
The cocktail table has a metal, embossed stingray pattern. Linen pillows, textured wallpaper and white oak cabinetry flanking a cast stone fireplace add to the design cachet.
Guests are drawn to the living area centerpiece – a large, commissioned abstract by Paul Myers, blending textiles, wood and wallpaper.
The focal point of the kitchen is the center island, fashioned of weathered stone with a waterfall edge. Back lighting illuminates the island. White oak rift-sawn cabinets and a porcelain penny tile backsplash are notable features. White oak plank flooring is featured throughout the home.
Croka says a powder room near the formal entry “grabs your attention.” An eelskin textured wallpaper and a black vanity with rose gold fixtures are stunning.
In the master suite, Croka designed the custom bed, accented by custom-print velvet pillows.
“The clients wanted a room that was soft and vibrant at the same time,” she says. “The suite overlooks the beautiful green spaces at the back of the home. It’s quite serene.”
The master bath mimics the kitchen with custom-stained white oak cabinets amid black marble hexagon tile, a soaking tub and a steam shower.
“I incorporated the stone and wood theme again to create interest and contrast in this area,” Croka says.
The home was designed especially to accommodate the family’s lifestyle and create an oasis for comfortable, tranquil living.