Interior designer Alison Damonte referred to this project as “Glam Ranch” and it’s easy to see why. The 1950s suburban ranch home in San Mateo, CA has been transformed by this modern take on a sitting room. The subtlety pink walls offer an updated neural backdrop to the bold colors of the lounge chairs and tropical print pillows. Yet, something about the space reads as timeless (we couldn’t resist!) See more in the slideshow!
Who was the client and how do they envision using the space?
Our client has a young family with two kids and she wanted a little more room for her family to spread out and relax in their typical 1950’s suburban ranch house. Most ranch houses follow a typical layout, which includes a formal living room that rarely gets used. Because our Client loves to host and the house is generally bursting at the seams with kids and adults alike, she wanted to make this room a welcoming, but sophisticated showstopper.
Your client said she wanted the space to feel “calmly awesome.” What does that mean to her?
“Calmly Awesome” was the Client’s specific request, but I think it is also a good way to describe her personality: a little edgy, a little glam; a little sparkly, a little casual. All of those things are reflected in this room– and most importantly, it definitely doesn’t look like her neighbor’s house!
Where there any particular challenges for completing the project?
You can’t see it (thanks to the power of photography!), but there is a giant TV over the credenza. I try to avoid TVs in living rooms whenever possible, but they are a part of modern life. We resolved the floorplan so that the TV wasn’t oriented over the fireplace (one of my pet peeves), which also allowed the room to be equally suited for a cocktail party or a movie night. That did bring up another issue, however: identifying the perfect piece of art for over the fireplace. When you place something in such a prominent location, it needs to hold its own and be really special. That said, by the time we were finished buying all of the furniture we still hadn’t found the perfect piece of art for the fireplace and there wasn’t much money left in the budget. I was getting a little panicked until I received an email from PurePhoto, a company I hadn’t heard of before. Typically I get so many of these emails I automatically delete them from my inbox without opening, but I happened to open this one and saw the “Timeless” print featured. As soon as I saw it I knew it was the perfect finishing touch for the room. The word “timeless” in neon really embodied the idea of this project: an otherwise traditional space that received a jolt of modernity. I think I got approval from the Client and the order out in less than 15 minutes!
The broader challenge of the space was designing a room that was originally intended as a “formal” space for a modern, informal family in 2016 who was just as likely to sit on the floor as the super comfy sofa. We stuck with traditional furniture choices, but injected modern touches with the furniture itself. The sofa is Italian, and definitely not typical of what you would find in this style of living room; the mixed material coffee table from Iacoli and McAllister feels very current and the boldness of the Christian LaCroix fabric on the pillows is super fresh. We also made sure that everything in the room was tactile and approachable like the vintage Moroccan rug that isn’t so precious that the client has to worry about spilling red wine — and it is totally durable anyhow!
What are your favorite aspects of the space?
I love all of the small, personal details and materials that are repeated throughout the space: the marble insets in the Timothy Balon mirrors work with the marble on the coffee table; the milky green in the vintage lamps is intensified in the chartreuse of the pillows; the acrylic and brass curtain rods from Gretchen Everett definitely coordinate with the lucite accessories and brass touches throughout; and there is sparkle everywhere. There is also a good element of whimsy in the space: the cactus vases on the dining table, the gold ceramic clouds floating on the living room wall, the GIANT Maison Margiela snow globe, which gets to stay out and party year-round, but it still remains sophisticated. A sense of playfulness — even in the most serious room– is something I love to incorporate in all of my work. I am also really happy with the pink wall color in the living room (Benjamin Moore Opal). I’ve been wanting to use this particular color for sometime and it is just perfect in this room. It really warms up the space and plays well with the metallics and the black and white touches — almost like a neutral, but better!