Luxe to luminous

From the ground up, this house transforms from intimate to airy
Story by: Lydia Brewer
View of this traditional house bedroom, ceiling, interior design, living room, room, suite, window, gray, brown
View of this traditional house

When a house enjoys panoramic views of the skyline, it is often tempting for a designer to respond with large, minimal interior spaces. In this house, however, an unusual layout meant that wasn't an option.

The property posed a challenge for designer Vernon Applegate of Applegate Tran Interiors.

"We had a long list of requirements for the house, but its awkward shape meant that not many spaces were offered internally," he says.

Applegate decided to create the sensation of peeling off layers, starting with a warm and intimate family room, then moving upstairs to a lighter and more refreshing formal living area and finally ending in an airy, minimal master suite on the top floor.

An extensive collection of Nepalese and Tibetan antiquities served as inspiration for the family room on the ground floor.

"In this area we wanted to pay homage to the existing pieces. The furniture in the room was selected to create a neutral canvas for the rich collection of art, without looking like it came from a showroom. We wanted it to appear as if the furniture had been accumulated over several years," says Applegate.

"To reflect the character of the antiquities we created a room that was equally unique. It was designed to be a collector's space with an oriental sentiment."

View of this traditional house ceiling, home, interior design, living room, real estate, room, suite, wall, white, brown
View of this traditional house

Applegate framed, mounted and built stands for many existing antiques. New pieces such as the balustrade railing were handcrafted to complement the room.

On the second level, the house takes on a more open and contemporary personality. The original layout divided the living, dining and kitchen areas, but these walls were removed to create a long L-shaped space.

A neutral color palette used throughout the floor is accented by small pops of mustard and tangerine in the upholstery and artworks.

A featured sculpture by local artist Adam Gale is complemented by paintings by Gioi Tran from Applegate Tran Interiors, who also contributed to the interior design.

"Here we created a more modern space, but we wanted to continue the creative element throughout," says Applegate.

"We built on the art collection displayed downstairs with fresh local pieces to reflect the lighter feeling on this floor of the house."

Applegate also sourced furniture from local suppliers, including a bench and side table from the design firm's own collection.

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View of this traditional house

The living room opens onto the dining and kitchen areas, which are accented with an intensely blue glass feature wall and light brown stained mahogany cabinets.

In the kitchen, the island adds depth by bringing in a variety of natural materials and serves as an entertaining space which connects the kitchen and living areas.

The third story was a new addition to the house, although size was somewhat restricted by zoning regulations. Within a space of just 5382sq ft, a master suite, sitting and eating areas and an outdoor area were required. There needed to be a tub and shower in the bathroom and a desk in the bedroom.

"Because there was so much to fit in, we economized on space. The step up to the bathtub also serves as a shelf in the shower. In the master bedroom, the sitting area provides a transition to the outdoor space and the room is finished in light blue," says the designer.

The bedroom features vaulted ceilings, an English oak cabinet and a traditionally styled chandelier finished in polished chrome.

"Up here, you can see extraordinary fog roll in and out of the skyline. Taking this as the inspiration for the aesthetic, we gave the master suite a celestial feel. It's airy and peaceful. This is the haven of the home," says the designer.

May 11, 2010

Credit list

intimate to airy Interior designer
Vernon Applegate, Gioi Tran, Applegate Tran Interiors
A Rudin; Interior Craft; Applegate Tran furniture; Nu Upholstery
David Dawson, Dawson Custom Workroom
Bathroom vanity
Custom Kohler basin; Zodiaq countertop
Dishwasher and oven
Brazilian cherry from Golden State Flooring
Cowtan & Tout; Stark; Osbourne & Little
Kohler Hatbox
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