Friday, April 23, 2010

Lessons from a Grand Home

One of the wonderful things about writing Willow Decor is the opportunity to get to know Architects, builders and other designers. Like any master skill, if you look closely and listen to these talented individuals you can learn an amazing amount. Master architect, Tom Catalano of Catalano Architects, was kind enough to send some photos of a house he recently finished. While the house clearly exceeds the price range most of us can afford, reflecting more closely on the design, we can learn a great deal about how to add details and features into our own more modest homes, for a stunning effect. Here is the exterior of the home. Of course it is beautiful, but interesting things to note are the the roof lines and the use of multiple materials. Stone, cedar siding and wood accents and doors are featured prominently. Additionally notice the curved roof lines, copper roofing and copper accents. The cobblestone driveway also adds to the wonderful feeling outside. In your own home try to assess if you can add any one of these features to your existing exterior. A new wood door or cobblestone edging along your driveway or walkway can instantly elevate your exterior.
Of course some things are difficult and expensive to change once in your home- like banisters. But take a look at this entry. The iron spindles add a such a lovely accent to space. Also notice all the mouldings in this area. They are so beautiful. The addition of moldings is another way to add grandness to your spaces.
The gorgeous living room has all the architectural features to make it a showplace: limestone fireplace, curved large windows, beautiful mouldings. Here the mouldings have been painted a soft seafoam, rather than white and become more prominent in the room. Paint is great tool to use to call more attention to a wonderful feature in your room - who could forget the black painted mantel from the movie It's Complicated (photo link here)?
The dining room color echos the living room colors and provides a beautiful flow. Also notice the light fixtures. I love sconces in a dining room. They provide ambient light that can really help create a spectacular atmosphere. Also notice how the beautiful windows are not covered with heavy draperies, but allow the light to flood the room.
Thea kitchen is an area where details abound: the ceilings are coffered, the cabinets have all the extras, not even the tile was overlooked.Notice the detailed inlay on the cabinet crown moulding and the extended sides of the cabinets. Also of note it is the wood wall moulding which highlights the arched opening into the breakfast/dining area.
I imagine that wall moulding was used to off set this moulding detail entering the family room. The wood trim around the stove hood is interesting. Here is a close up of the tile design. Although the center piece is most likely expensive, the tiles that are not embellished are generally more affordable. Adding decorative tiles in strategic places, can give you an expensive, beautiful look for a reasonable cost. This can be done in your current tiled space, by carefully removing specific tiles and replacing the opened area with something more dramatic. Another doorway with wall moulding that looks into the breakfast/dining area. I really love the raised fireplace. So cozy in the winter. Notice the color of the kitchen ties in nicely with the color of brick. Off the entry, which you can see through the doorway is the library. Who wouldn't love to be surrounded by such fabulous wood and furnishings? Notice the ceiling - a deeper russet than the kitchen. Painting a ceiling in this tone really envelopes you in the room. (Have you noticed I am really into painted ceilings lately?)
Wonderful marble bath with wall mounted faucet.
This house has it all, including a to-die-for mudroom. The beadboard walls are so inviting. I love the branch like pulls. Also notice the floor; the slate is set on the diagonal which will make the space seem larger, and then edged horizontally, interesting details!
Here a back stairway brings you to the second floor. I suspect it is off the mudroom due to beadboard walls. I love beadboard in a newer home. It adds a nice touch by adding depth and a sense of age.
This is an entry to seating area -not sure which floor it is on, but I included it to show the wall moulding detail. It is interesting to me how well the rosettes mimic the kitchen backsplash tile. I love when details of one room are echoed in a different way in another room and this is a great example. Stunning!
The master bedroom is tranquil and beautiful - again gorgeous windows and french doors to private patio flood the room with light. The leather headboard provides a nice balance to the stunning wood ceiling.
Finally the opulent master bath. So much space and light - a dream with private make up area, separate sinks and glorious soaking tub! Small glass shelves dividing the vanity spaces provide privacy and openness at the same time.
This house is an exceptional example of classic home design. Though we may never be able to live in such a home, there are many small elements we can take from this and use in our own spaces. Take a fresh look at your room. Can you add some crown moulding, paint the ceiling or the mantel, add some tile? Outdoors can you edge the walkway with cobblestones or create a pebble path in the garden? Small changes can bring big impact. Let me know if any of this inspires you!

(all photos by Eric Roth and property of Catalano Architects - do not copy without permission)


  1. Gorgeous home!!! Yes, so much in this home inspires me. I love all the moldings. I really want to add some to my home. Just gorgeous. Hugs, Marty

  2. What an architectural gem! From the walkway outside with the "eyebrow window"-like raise in the roof, to the archway from the kitchen to the living room , to the exposed brick fireplace... I loved it all! I would love to see more of his work. Where is the house located? Do you know?

    Your blog is so fabulous, I would love to feature you in my upcoming "Why did you start blogging" post." I will send you an email! Thanks for a great start to the day :)


  3. An incredible house. Yes, most of us can only dream about a house like this. The attention to detail is amazing and I think that is what makes it even more special.

  4. Wow that is one amazing home! I gotta say that bath is my favorite...a private make up area?! I LOVE that!

  5. What a gorgeous home! I LOVE the bath.....
    Health and happiness,

  6. Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful house with us! A lot of inspiration for me!
    Love everything! Even the mudroom is gorgeous!

  7. One can always pick up new tips when reading about high-end construction! I love your suggestion of lining a driveway or walkway with cobblestone. By the way, I would love to have you visit my new blog: I am finding increasing traffic is a very slow process. Thanks!

  8. A beauty. The barrel ceiling in the bedroom is wonderful.

  9. Wow, this house is seriously gorgeous! So many details, I especially love all the beautiful arches.

  10. What an amazing home. I love all the curves, and the branch pulls too! I think the master bathroom is about the same size as my dining/kitchen/living area - lol! Beautiful.

  11. Now that's a house! The details are amazing, true craftsmanship. I love a cobblestone drive!

  12. Amazing, it has taken my breath away...thanks for sharing!

  13. Gina,
    An amazing tour and I loved all of the details and despcriptions you provided!!!

    The fireplace mantle and all the wood throughout the home are a standout. Oh, and the powder was a beauty!

  14. There is a relatively cheap way of updating your home’s interior mood just by introducing suitable lighting accents. It’s quick to do and it can make a huge difference.

  15. Honestly....if builders knew how much women, mothers and anyone else who entertains, absolutely LOVE....mudrooms, they would fit them into even the most modest of homes....I think it would do wonders for the new home market. Well, that and closets....smiles!

  16. This is a very beautiful home. I agree with you the mudroom is "to die for". Thanks for sharing.

  17. Hi Gina!
    I agree with you this architect is very talented! I love the portochere with the stone and wood and the curved roof. What a beautiful welcome for a visitor to that gorgeous home.Maryannexo

  18. Thanks, Gina, for sharing this beautiful home with us. You've done a great job of teaching the reader how to incorporate elements of the style into their own homes, giving everyone the sense that they too can have great design in their homes. That's an admirable quality for a blogger to have, and I appreciate you and this post. I'd love for you to cruise by let me know what you think of my blog. Thanks

  19. I really like the color palette used in the mudroom . . . and what a wonderful wood ceiling in that bedroom. Wow.

  20. Wonderful ideas displayed here.The rooms are so beautifully done...thanks for the tips ...really helps to take advice from experts.

  21. What an amazing home! I love all the post and specially the wood ceiling of the bedroom.
    If you want to play a little game, you have to visit my blog, I have just nominated you. ;)
    See you!

  22. They did a beautiful job with the wood pillars and entrance pathway/ceiling in the exterior portion of the house. Treated wood is key for something like this especially in the northeast with the weather.


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