Modern Day Titanic
By Susan Brandjord, Ellie Ann's Interior Design
Photography by Ockhardt Photo
This is the story of a Modern Day Titanic. The homeowner wanted a more modern outcome to her design project with unique elements that had punches of “wow”.
The beginnings of the project started with opening up the kitchen to the living room in order to obtain a more open concept floor plan and also to utilize all of their “real estate” to its maximum. This brought more light into the space from the picture window that inhabited the living room. Once, the wall came down between the kitchen and living room, the husband went to work opening up the ceiling to give some more height and visual interest to the space. The homeowner and his son worked diligently perfecting and strengthening the ceiling, fireplace wall alcove, and the staircase area. This was a Titanic that wasn’t going to sink!
Because the kitchen was now open to the living room area, I started working on designing the kitchen details to be functional but not sterile. I believe a key to open concept design is to not have the homeowner feel like they are sitting in a workspace. I feel that this interferes with the homeowner being able to relax and recharge. Your home should rejuvenate you. How I achieve this is by bringing in furniture detail, changes in material on door fronts, and utilizing more than one style of cabinet hardware. For this homeowner, this meant incorporating a mantel looking vent hood over the cooktop with corbels that have a more contemporary profile. The husband fell in love with a black leathered granite for the island that complimented the aged white cabinets perfectly and definitely brought in some sex appeal. Add in the sophisticated Tableaux Decorative Grille that was custom designed for the island front and you’ve got yourself a bit of James Dean with Marilyn Monroe!
The homeowners wanted to make a statement by incorporating a unique, one-of-a-kind application for the stairwell area. The process got started with a wood wall with variations of browns and grays that the homeowners were really keen on. This started the transformation of this basic stairwell area to become anything but basic. The challenge was to keep going with adding something extremely unique and show stopping for the staircase without it competing with the wood wall. I found this side table on Horchow that had a bronze contemporary sculpture as the post part of the side table. I thought, what if we took the tray portion off of this end table to make it into an end post for the staircase. I needed for this sculpture to be hollow so that a rod could be applied through the entire body of the sculpture to make it a sturdy end post that was anchored well from floor to handrail. This was crucial for stability and safety. The angels of the Titanic were with me as this was the case! I was able to proceed with the remaining staircase design. I selected acrylic ballisters for a unique but quiet, contemporary solution for this part of the staircase design. The staircase design was topped off with a hand rail that has a contemporary profile that mimics the new custom casing in style and stain color. The end result is a modern day Titanic staircase! It was exhilarating to have the very last detail of this job end on such a high note. I am so in love with it!
Other tasks that were included in this project were furniture selection on both levels of the home with attention to detail like black leather piping on the sectional to give it a tuxedo polish. Lighting selection, guest bath and master bath remodel, utility room that is anything from ordinary with its contemporary waterfall glass folding table; custom window treatments, custom “plaster” walls that have now become a new favorite for many of our new builds and remodels as it is a sophisticated application that is applicable to many design aesthetics, new flooring for a majority of the home; assistance in exterior paint selection, plumbing fixture selections with one of the fav’s being the kitchen sink faucet.
The master bath involved knocking out a wall and making space for a walk-in closet and custom walk-in shower. The design of the master bath was driven by the design aesthetic that was started in the master bedroom as that was not changing except for furniture. We reused a beautiful mirror the homeowner already owned for the vanity mirror. From there blacks, golds, grays, dark brown stains, and Cambria Galloway countertops applied on a contemporary floating vanity started the updates but what really brought the design to the sophisticated sexiness was incorporating cabinet hardware that have an Asian influence and the sconces that give a reminiscence to cheetah in the way that the metal is stamped.
The homeowners were artistically a breath of fresh air to work with as they have a sophisticated understanding of design and an appreciation for good design; which allowed me the creative freedom to pursue achieving their dreams on this project. In addition, the husband also had the building knowledge to assist in bringing their dream into reality so there weren’t the challenges of having a builder saying this or that can’t be done.
This brings the Story of The Modern Day Titanic to a close, which encompasses a modern couple that has their eyes to the future with an anchoring to the relationships built from the past.
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We are a design firm whose foundation is built on honesty, integrity, and creativity. From this foundation, we are able to problem solve and create a home that becomes your sanctuary. Bringing families together in a well-designed environment is becoming more of a necessity than luxury in this fast paced, socially connected world we live in today. Family is what brought about the name Ellie Ann's Interior Design. It came from the combination of my daughters' names, which helps me remember that behind every design is a family, big or small.