KBB Collective | The Designers' Corner

Oct 15 2010

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A little bit country, a little bit rock ’n roll


I think I developed my love of architecture from my mother. When I was a young girl, she would occasionally pile my siblings and me into the car and drive through nearby neighborhoods, pointing out various styles of homes. She loved looking at the big mansions on the hill in a nearby town and talk about Victorian architecture, or what a Tudor style looked like. She’d tell us stories about how it was to live back at the turn of the century, and how those people who made their fortunes built these giant monuments to their wealth.

Since then, I’ve been interested in older homes, and over the years, I’ve become an avid preservationist. It doesn’t matter to me anymore how big the house is or how grand. I love any size or style of well-designed home and enjoy studying just what exactly makes them so beautiful and livable. Last year, I designed the interiors of a gut remodel in a mid-century modern home in Las Vegas, and it was a good example of how a humble design can still work today with some minor tweaking.

One of my favorite styles of home architecture is the classic farmhouse. Honest and straightforward, this particular style bears no pretense and is designed with primarily function in mind. Large windows let in lots of light and breezes, and it generally has a very simple floor plan.

I’m currently working on a newly constructed home for the International Builders’ Show in Orlando, Florida. It has that simple farmhouse look. When I first saw the renderings of the house, I loved the symmetry, large windows and the two open porches across the front. This type of design still works really well today. The architect, Ed Binkley, put a twist on this classic style by creating a somewhat open floor plan on the first floor, where the family can interact between the kitchen and living room. High ceilings help to make the space feel much larger than it is, but yet it still feels homey. It boasts all the amenities that are so popular today with homebuyers—things like state-of-the-art appliances, a neat laundry and craft room, a home office and a quiet retreat space over the garage. It’s got all of the charm of an older, gracious home, yet it’s adapted to relate to the family of today. Of course, the icing on the cake is in the construction. Insulated concrete forms create a hurricane-proof and well insulated domain. Charming cottage-style windows provide an excellent shield from solar heat gain. And it has an incredibly cool galvanized metal roof that’s Energy Star-rated.

As the interior designer of this home, it’s been my job to create an interior that’s both beautiful and sustainable. For example, I specified a gorgeous wide-plank floor from Mohawk Industries that’s engineered and bonded to a no-added urea formaldehyde substrate. This flooring will give the home the farmhouse look and become a background for an eclectic mix of modern and classic design.


Mohawk’s Queenstown Hickory engineered flooring

The lighting throughout the home is from Barn Light Electric Company, which reproduces the look of industrial “factory” lighting from the turn of the century.


Barnlight Electric’s Goodrich Aero Gooseneck Light

And the GreenGuard-certified natural quartz countertops from DeNova look like polished concrete, which adds that slick “urban” vibe. So the look is a little bit country, and a little bit rock ’n roll.


DeNova’s natural quartz countertop “Armadillo Alto”

It’s a great thing when you can marry good design with classic style. It’s even better when the design includes items that are locally sourced, have good indoor air quality, or are made from materials that are renewable or sustainable. I call that a real win-win situation.

This entry was posted on Friday, October 15th, 2010 at 6:00 AM and is filed under Green. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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