Last week on the blog, we introduced you to Samantha Gluck—an EHD alum who helped on a handful of projects a few years back (Joy’s studio and Joanna Goddard’s apartment)—by giving you a tour of her fantastic home. Everyone was so pumped by her work (and just seeing a house tour in general, I think), so we’ve got another one for you.
This project, in particular, is pretty fun in that the client reached out to me years ago but I was too busy (and they were in Orange County). Luckily, I had just worked with Sam and basically told them they would be crazy to not hire her. Four years later, this is the home…the house Em Henderson COULD have built (well, designed), but didn’t. I think she (and Amy Oppedisano, who Samantha brought in to work on the project with her…more on that below) did such a great job: it’s inviting, polished, yet eclectic in a way that isn’t overwhelming. It has a ton of moments that feel artisanal, yet totally approachable. Okay, enough of me, I’m going to let Samantha walk you through this one. If you’re as into the home as we are, please give her and Amy tons of love in the comments, because I fully support the uplifting and smothering of compliments to people/former staff/designers I like very much.
Take it away, Samantha:
This is a project that came to me through Emily. The clients initially reached out to her about designing their home, but they are located in Orange County, which was difficult for Emily at that point in time (for anyone not in SoCal, Orange County is about 2+ hours away from LA depending on traffic). So she referred them to me, knowing that I live and work here. At that point, I was seven months pregnant with my second child, so I knew I was going to need some help on the project, especially after the new baby came. So I brought my good friend and fellow designer Amy Oppedisano of Salt Coastal Interiors on board. She and I met about 13 years ago when we were working as design assistants at another design firm and we’ve stayed friends and sometimes-business-partners ever since.
The client was Nora Desruisseaux and her family. Their home was basically a standard ’80s tract house when we started. The overall layout and flow was great, with a few obvious exceptions: A raised entry area that was a tripping hazard for their toddler and made furniture arrangement awkward in the living room, a bulky wall/wet bar combo that cut the kitchen off from the dining nook, and a family room that made that whole end of the house feel really tight and choppy.
To fix these issues, we removed the raised entry and made it level with the rest of the ground floor. The kitchen wall was removed, giving them so much more floor space and making the spaces flow more seamlessly, and we retained some overhead beams which helped to maintain some visual separation of the spaces so it wouldn’t feel like an enormous bowling alley.
Nora is an art consultant, and all the artworks in the home were pieces she’d purchased over the years. We started by establishing where her art would go throughout the home. She also purchased additional pieces throughout the course of the project, so we had to make some adjustments as we went along.
We kept the home mostly white, giving it a sort of gallery feel so her art could really shine, and also so artworks could be moved and swapped out over time if she wants. They had some existing furnishings—a couple sofas, coffee table, some accessories—they wanted to keep. They were pretty simple pieces, so we added to them, and layered in some more pattern, texture, and some color (though most of the color comes in through the artwork) to add interest.
Ultimately, we were aiming for a space that felt modern, casual, family-friendly and happy.
In the kitchen, we removed the wall and wet bar that separated the kitchen from the dining nook and family room. It was the biggest change made to this space. It added floor space, gave them about four more feet of counter space and allowed for an island in the middle of the kitchen. We included a small appliance “garage” in the upper cabinets that sit on the counter (next to the fridge) so that counters could remain as clutter-free as possible.
Initially, we were only going to run the backsplash tile up to the bottom of the range hood, but when we checked in on the work site the day it was being installed, we loved the subtle texture and dimension it added to the space so much that we decided it would be better to run it all the way to the ceiling. The edges of each tile have the slightest gray/blue tinge that’s really subtle but interesting and so pretty. The clients were on board so we ordered more!
1. Wall Tile | 2. Faucet | 3. Gray Cashmere by Benjamin Moore | 4. Short Scone | 5. Wood Cutting Board (similar) | 6. Pendant | 7. Large Ceramic Canister | 8. Medium Ceramic Canister | 9. Stool | 10. Wood Bowl (similar) | 11. Ceramic Pitcher (similar) | 12. Swing Arm Sconce | 13. Long Wood Trough (similar) | 14. Cabinet Knob | 15. Drawer Pull | 16. Black and White Pillow | 17. Leather Pillow (similar) | 18. Dining Table | 19. Blue Chair (similar)
The family room is where the family watches TV. They also needed some storage in here for Nora’s many art books, as well as storage for toys. There are only three walls in the room—one has a big sliding door, one needed to be the sofa wall, so this meant the last wall with the fireplace and existing window needed to also incorporate the storage we needed in there. The cabinetry on the left of the fireplace allows for some closed storage for toys, blankets and such, while the open shelving above is a nice spot for a lot of the accessories Nora’s collected. The window seat built around the existing window provides visual balance on that wall (and more storage!). The black shiplap in the center helps to disguise the TV mounted above the fireplace and ties in with some of the shiplap detail elsewhere in the house; plus it really makes the pretty spines of those art books pop.
1. Table Lamp | 2. White Side Table | 3. Sofa | 4. Floor Lamp (similar) | 5. Iron Ore by Sherwin Williams | 6. Coffee Table (similar) | 7. Metal Accent Chair | 8. Rug | 9. Scone | 10. Kid’s Tool Workbench | 11. Turquoise Vase (similar) | 12. Fabric Accent Chair (similar) | 13. Sheepskin Rug (similar) | 14. Wood Side Table | 15. Blue Pillow | 16. Lumbar Pillow | 17. Pepper Pillow | 18. Wire Basket | 19. Planter with Brass Stand
The clients really wanted to paint the front door a bright, fun color and landed on a peppy blue. It’s a nice tie-in for the blue tones used in these spaces that are right through the front door.
The entry isn’t huge, so rather than sourcing some sort of foyer table or casegood (which they previously had), we had the contractor build this floating credenza which doesn’t take up any additional floor space but is still a functional place to drop keys and mail.
The clients really liked the idea of keeping the existing brick fireplace in the living room but updating it by painting the brick and changing the mantle to a cool reclaimed wood beam. They chose this particular beam themselves that has all these interesting cuts and grooves in it (you can even see an old nail through one of the rectangular cuts in the top).
1. Floor Lamp | 2. Half Moon Pillow | 3. Sofa | 4. Cream Round Pom Pillow | 5. Green Pillow (similar) | 6. Floating Shelf | 7. Square Vase | 8. Record Player (similar) | 9. Rattan Magazine Rack (similar) | 10. Rug | 11. Coffee Table | 12. Bar Cart | 13. Light Turquoise Vase | 14. Cream Vase | 15. Sea Glass Beads (similar) | 16. Tall Turquoise Vase | 17. Vintage Art (similar) | 18. Blue Pillow | 19. Accent Chair | 20. Balancing Blocks | 21. Stool | 22. Wood Candlestick Holders (similar) | 23. White Bench | 24. Basket (similar)
The master bedroom changed the most from concept to completion. Initially, the client had sourced a different piece of art for above the dresser but wound up finding this huge, vintage Tony DeLap painting and I don’t blame her for pulling the trigger on that piece one bit! The wave painting is a contemporary piece by Sally Deng.
Some background on how Nora works: She pulls from a variety of sources including auctions, galleries and secondhand resources like EBTH (Everything But The House) to find interesting and exciting artworks. Her company is California Art Advisory. She got her start in an auction house and has now been working in the art world for over 10 years as an art consultant and appraiser.
1. Bed | 2. Bedding | 3. Wall Hanging (similar) | 4. Sconce | 5. Rug (similar) | 6. Nightstand | 7. Table Lamp | 8. Vintage Art (similar) | 9. Throw Blanket | 10. Lumbar Pillow | 11. Woven Baskets (similar) | 12. Wood Tray (similar) | 13. Totem Candles | 14. Dresser (similar)
The cement floor tile in the master bath was the jumping off point for the bathroom design. We knew the rest of the space would be predominately white because we landed on the large white ceramic tiles for the walls in the entire shower/ tub area that have a pretty, slightly rippled handmade appearance in person.
We also wanted the remaining walls to be painted white to soften some of the strong angles in this long, narrow and very tall room. But with all this white, we wanted the floors to offer a contrast and we opted for a matte walnut vanity and soapstone countertop, brass lighting and hardware to offer some contrast and warmth, as well.
This room had to do double duty as an office for two and a playroom. So we wanted the room to feel playful, but not overly juvenile for the sake of the office. We had the contractor build a really long desk with banks of drawers on the ends and in between to create two workstations in an existing nook below the windows.
We then brought in plenty of toy storage throughout the room between the metal shelving flanking the sofa, the low wood shelving and white toy bins. The green color block is a fun pop of color but still serves as an almost-neutral. It looks good with pretty much any color you put with it, so it will still allow them to add or change art and accessories over time.
1. Bookshelf | 2. Arrow Bookends | 3. ‘Every Day Beautiful’ Print (similar) | 4. Louisburg Green by Benjamin Moore | 5. Race Car Carrier Truck | 6. X Black and White Pillow | 7. Tassel Pillow | 8. Sofa (similar) | 9. Indigo Vintage Pillow (similar) | 10. Lidded Basket (similar) | 11. Felt Basket (similar) | 12. Tray | 13. Coffee Table (similar) | 14. Black and White Pillow | 15. Woven Pouf | 16. Rug | 17. Parking Garage Toy | 18. Throw Blanket (similar) | 19. Corduroy Fox | 20. Blue Chair (similar) | 21. Recycle Truck Toy | 22. Toy Storage Bin | 23. Kid’s Dining Set
Her son’s room didn’t get a major overhaul. We just updated a few finishes, added Roman shades to windows and helped style up the space. (BTW we shot this room at the very end of the day and the room was basically pitch dark when we were shooting. We were literally doing 30-second exposures in here! The wrinkles on that blanket over the headboard didn’t seem too noticeable but in the picture, they drive me craaaaazzzy. Haha)
We went with carpeting in this room for comfort on little toddler feet and added shiplap to the window wall to highlight the cute little window seat nook next to the bed. The client already had art and really cute toys/accessories for the space so we didn’t need to add more than a couple of pillows and some new bedding.
For the kids’ bath, we chose finishes that were modern, clean, and gender neutral. None of the finishes in here were budget busters, but by layering in the art and accessories (most of which the client already had or chose herself) the room still has impact, and can easily evolve as their son grows.
***Art Selection by Nora Desruisseaux, California Art Advisory
***Photography by Alison Bernier