When an active family of four found their dream property in the idyllic waterfront village of Old Field, the home that occupied the lot was a concern. It was built in 2006 atop a bluff overlooking the Long Island Sound and was structurally solid, but lacked the modern amenities and sophisticated design sought after by the new homeowners and their two young boys.
The ultimate goal was to create a sense of grandeur—in respect to the home’s sizable 13,000-square-foot floor plan and the homeowners’ desire for an edgy yet functional style, said Andrew Suvalsky, principal designer of Manhattan-based Andrew Suvalsky Designs. “They wanted to feel the greatness of the house, but in a setting that was warm and familiar, where each space felt inviting rather than overwhelming or intimidating. The biggest challenge was to create intimacy and warmth among rooms that are all quite large…to really create a home where each space was valuable and usable [in] their day-to-day lifestyle, while still looking super glam and fun.”
To customize the space, Suvalsky looked no further than the homeowners’ personal style. He juxtaposed the tastes of the tailored, sporty and stylish lady of the house with the more conservative and scientifically-minded man of the house to craft a cohesive and luxurious design. “I understood that their tastes were definitely more modern, with bold fusions of color, but color that never overpowers…each piece had to feel uniquely special rather than just ‘nice for the design.’ The inspiration was to consider the overall design like the [curating] of art-like pieces.”
Suvalsky started by completely gutting the interior, leaving intact only the strongest original architectural elements: the curved stairway and floor-to-ceiling windows present throughout the home. He selected neutral tones for the walls in the main areas of the home, allowing for daring accent colors to make a dramatic statement without overwhelming the space. Splashes of purple, red and metallic gold brightened the living room without detracting from the true star of the room: the 26-foot, full-length window overlooking the Sound. Unexpected bursts of color continued with the dining room painted a rich purple, the family room colored with reds, yellows and oranges, and the kitchen decorated with lime-green hues.
“I think of colors as my strongest building blocks in a design,” Suvalsky said. “Even in some of my less colorful designs, I’ll be bold in choices and use colors to both graphically define the object as well as to open up and energize the other colors and pieces around it.” The house’s color scheme (a mix of fresh, bright, bold and warm tones) was accentuated with rich finishes. The furniture, lighting and window treatments were all selected to create a layering effect balancing grandeur and warmth. Suvalsky’s criterion was that “each fabric had to pass three tests: natural, luxe looking (and feeling) and richly hued.”
The curved staircase was another focal point. Suvalsky enhanced its original splendor by applying an espresso chocolate toned, high-gloss Venetian plaster to its body, as well as the walls above the columns. “The choice for this was twofold: a rich and deeply lustrous version of this color that would add to the sexy quality of the sweeping curve, plus [it’s] a material that would be repairable if ever scratched or dinged. It succeeds on both accounts.” And it helps reflect light.
Keeping the needs of the homeowner in mind, Suvalsky incorporated child safety features, an oft-overlooked task in designing palatial homes. He embraced the challenge of adding both luxury and safety by cleverly shielding designer pieces under sleek, easy-to-clean laminate.
“I feel the entire house really accomplishes what we set out to do: create a livable work of art that feels homey and warm, playful and authentic to the clients living there in terms of their taste and lifestyle, all while transforming an existing house into something that feels fresh and unseen in other designs.”