A note from our editors: 

It’s time for one of our favorite traditions! Each year, we spend the holidays reflecting on the stories and articles you loved most. It’s the “Best of Rue” and this is one of 2020’s top stories. Enjoy!

Previously published on June 10, 2020:

Interior designer Lisa Sherry‘s clients, a couple who had been married for twelve years, shared a deep set of passions: both are successful, hail from Kentucky, and enjoy meditation. Their lifestyles were in sync, but their interior design tastes, though, didn’t quite match up. “They initially reached out to me to assist with the renovation of their circa 1980s townhome,” Lisa told us. “As individuals, both of my clients claimed very different styles. He said that he’s quite traditional. She tended to be more adventurous and eclectic. They were both ready for something entirely new, a higher harmony perhaps, and it became clear renovating the current space would not fulfill their needs and aspirations.”

That’s when the designer suggested to her clients that they pivot: no longer would they be dealing with a renovation, but designing a home from scratch. With the new scope of the project in mind, they soon realized that although the home would be located in a traditional neighborhood, they wanted it to feel unique and contemporary. The architect on the project, Bryan Merman, immediately picked up on the concept that they were looking for: something fresh but appropriately scaled and comfortable. “For the exterior, we decided on a knife-edge gable structure that is reminiscent of rural barns,” Bryan explained. “Over the years, we expect the aged cedar strip wood cladding on the front gable to patina to a weathered old barn hue. The contrast of old materials on the top to the modern base of the home, made for a compelling story that aligned perfectly with the story and personality of the homeowners.”

As for the interiors, Lisa’s clients pretty much gave her free-rein. “While they were always actively engaged in the project, they were also able to let go,” she said. “We developed a shared vision of a modern space, but with lots of nuance and sensibility.” The pivoting front door is a great example of unexpected contemporary choices made in the design of the home. While the irregular pulls for the kitchen cabinets speak to the more organic elements that Lisa brought into the space. “The interiors unfold in layers that surprise and comfort,” she smiled. “The juxtapositions continue throughout, which is a signature of my work.”

As for the selection of materials, Lisa opted for ones that had an enticing tactile quality: “The design of the space is brought together through lots of light, consistent plank flooring, white walls and linen draperies, plaster fireplace surround, pleasing grey tones throughout, and layers of thoughtfully edited texture: ceramic, glass, concrete, black wrought iron, gesso, rattan and Belgian linen – to name a handful!” In the master bathroom, for example, she combined polished brass fixtures and lighting with honed stone and tile. A Oushak rug offers a soft element underfoot. “When my clients’ home was finally done, they were speechless. Later, upon some reflection – and maybe meditation,” she mused, “they told me the home feels like a hug.”