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A California home artfully decorated in black and white

The Property Addict / Architecture & Design

United States of America

Apr 10 2017

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Natalie Warady, Architectural Digest

If you put your mind to it, you just might be able to envision the 1948 Cape Cod–style cottage that once stood on this spot a block from the ocean in Huntington Beach, California. Admittedly, though, it is tough to imagine that this 4,200-square-foot home, impeccably detailed with soaring ceilings, parquet floors, and delicate wall moldings, was once a simple boxy home at half the size.

With two young children, the homeowners needed to expand for a growing family. Although the couple quickly hired architect John Stützel, it took several months before they finally spotted the work of Leanne Ford, whose aesthetic was the perfect fit. A former fashion stylist from New York City, Ford once wrote a blog detailing her own home renovation. Ever since, the deftness she demonstrated in elevating vintage and reclaimed decor into a modern look has been sought after by many.

A transplant from Belgium, the mother missed the elegant details of interiors across the pond, but Ford appreciated that the homeowners weren’t looking for a typical European remake. “She knew she wanted a special place and she was really open to trying new things. That’s obviously so fun for me,” says Ford. Of course, the couple did want the beautiful doors and charming weathered pieces that define that old-world aesthetic, but the mother had also collected ideas that leaned more eclectic. Among those that were incorporated into the home are an exaggerated farmhouse paint treatment on the crown molding in the living room and a bold splash of paint across the stairs in the entryway.

To ensure that such eye-catching concepts wouldn’t get lost in the design, Ford decided at the outset to keep the residence's structural elements spare and neutral. Instead, the visual tension would come from the juxtaposition of textures, such as painted brick, chevron-patterned wood flooring, and whitewashed planks. “We wanted it to feel fresh and clean but also look aged,” Ford explains.

Equally important was making sure that all of the furnishings in the home worked together without feeling overdecorated. “Number one is the edit and being methodical about it,” says Ford, who foremost considers herself a curator. “I get it: There are a lot of cool things on the planet. But I wanted the house to look like the people who live there, like people who have beautiful things that they love.” In this case, that mission is clearly accomplished. 

SOURCE: Architectural Digest


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