Designer Nadia Watts walks us through how she remade this dated home—and struck the perfect balance between tailored good looks and casual elegance.
Above left: A large painting by Arizona artist Joanne Kerrihard lends a contemporary vibe to the foyer. The owners found the rug on their travels, and Watts sourced the pair of textured, geometric stools at the International Home Furnishings Market in High Point, North Carolina. Above right: In the office, a grasscloth wallcovering from Kneedler Fauchère inspired the blue palette that continues throughout the home. The remaining elements, which create a handsome—but not overly masculine—space, include a glass desk by McGuire, a ceiling pendant from Visual Comfort, matching chests by Asian Treasures, and lamps from the Shanahan Collection.
5280 Home: The foyer’s design belies the home’s handsome architecture: The enormous painting and those unusual geometric stools right inside the front door are surprising.
Nadia Watts: My clients and I really loved the idea of something contemporary there, more abstract than formal. We wanted something big—colorful and fun and a little playful. I gave my client a list of galleries to see, and she found this painting by Joanne Kerrihard at the [Golden Triangle’s] William Havu Gallery. I found the stools at the massive High Point market in North Carolina; aren’t they great? There’s a rough texture to them, like they were painted over sand, and the white is perfect with the artwork.
Above left: Built-ins span one side of the family room, where the backs of the shelves are painted deep blue in a simple but lovely tribute to the home’s palette. Above right: Watts commissioned local artist Duke Beardsley to paint one of his signature cowboy works for the space above the fireplace in the kitchen and family room area. The brass pendants over the island are by Visual Comfort.
The mood really changes in the family room with those rustic beams and lantern pendants.
Those were already done. This house was built in the late ’50s, and my clients had just done a remodel when I came in. So here, we covered the furniture in indoor-outdoor fabric from Zoffany and Perennials and then had the coffee table made by Madison Street Cabinet Makers. It all lends a more casual feel to the room. My client likes clean lines, nothing too fussy or frilly, with something a little unexpected thrown in every once in a while.
Above left: The home’s blue palette hits a range of tones in the formal dining room, where deep blue Nobilis drapery plays off paler tones in the chairs, which Watts covered in a combination of Manuel Canovas and Donghia fabrics and then had hand-glazed and painted by a local artisan. The sculptural chandelier is by Dennis & Leen; the rug and table are by Kravet. Above right: A Madeline Weinrib rug accentuates the gray tones in the master bath; above, a ceiling pendant by Visual Comfort echoes its pattern. The shower is clad in Carrara marble.
Like a cowboy painting in a relatively tailored room?
That’s by Duke Beardsley. He’s a local artist and a good friend of the family. We already knew we wanted something of Duke’s in the house, and cowboys are one of his staples. We brought the canvas over to make sure the size was perfect for that space and then again to make sure the colors were working.
Above: Watts added warmth to the master bedroom with grasscloth from Kneedler Fauchère. A rug the owners found in Santa Fe, New Mexico, ties together the blue and brown tones in the room’s other signature pieces: the Kravet chairs and custom headboard and the round table and bench from Black Tulip Antiques.
Those colors are hitting a lot of blue notes; I’m starting to see a theme.
My client gravitates toward blue. We’re playing with different shades of it throughout the house and introducing dark pieces and light pieces and layers for balance. The family room sofa is dark navy and white woven together. There is slate gray with blue undertones on the chairs in the basement, which looks fabulous with the camel-colored angora pillows, and the dining room chairs are upholstered in soft, pale blue.
Where did the blue palette start?
The navy grasscloth in the office was our starting point. The dark color creates a wonderfully warm texture and striking contrast with the crisp white trim. The office is directly adjacent to the foyer, and the grasscloth just calls you in. It also ties in with the blue entry rug, which [the owners] got on a trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Above left: A furry rug by Lee Jofa warms a daughter’s room; Clarence House fabric on the draperies and shams adds pops of color. The vintage cane-back bench is covered in a John Brooks fabric; the headboard is by Serena & Lily. Above right: Denver architect Kathy Jones, president of ArchStyle Inc., drew the plans for the renovations to this handsome Greenwood Village home, while Watts handled the interior design.
Grasscloth is such a classic way to make a statement.
We used it in the master bedroom too, but it’s much more refined. The room just felt so cold before we installed the wallcovering. We warmed up that space and made it feel like a retreat.
Above: The home’s lower level gets playful with a black-and-white photograph of a zebra the owners purchased while traveling through Africa and furry pillows (from West Elm) on the armchairs. The sofa is by Restoration Hardware, and a custom ottoman is upholstered in Donghia fabric.
There seems to be a standout piece of furniture in every room: those bedside tables, the stools in the foyer, and the custom coffee table in the family room. The glass-topped table in the office is also striking.
We had to find pieces that were more unique than just right off the shelf. We like to use pieces you wouldn’t normally see at retail shops around town.
The effect is lovely. So is your work here done?
No! There are two kinds of clients: those whose houses you design from top to bottom with an end date in mind, and those clients who stay with you forever. You’re always helping them evolve their homes. That’s what this family is—especially because they have young daughters. We’ve already changed the older sister’s bedroom from pale lavender and gray to coral and apricot colors with ikat patterns that are more mature. And in the basement family room, we’ve brought in new furniture to make it more of a hangout—inviting for everyone—because it’s no longer just a room for toys. As the children continue to get older, the needs for the family will change, and so will the design.
—Photography by Emily Minton Redfield; Styling by Erica McNeish