CARMEL RESIDENCE / Carmel, California
This home was the result of a happy collaboration between a talented architect, Heidi Hansen, and clients with great taste and the dream of building an improbably chic and sophisticated townhouse in the Carmel woods, on a gentle rise surrounded by beautiful trees. Spare lines and exquisite trim details make it both disciplined and elegant.
The decorative scheme is paced to create a shift of dynamics between the various rooms and the two distinct floors. The entry feels almost monastically minimalistic until you take a moment to absorb the details: Louis XV bronze doré sconces frame the doors to the living room and dining room, and a dramatic lantern found at the Paris flea market peeks down from the dome over a gracefully curving staircase featuring a lyrical, hand-wrought bronze rail.
The dining room is dressy but restrained; its neutral background changes with the flowers and guests that fill it. The living room has velvet-upholstered walls, boldly patterned silk drapery, and intense jewel-tone silk velvets on chairs and pillows that create an enchanting background for entertaining. The kitchen and butler’s pantry are warm and chic with wood floors, lightly cerused walnut cabinetry, a handsome table that functions as an island, honed gray stone counters, and shagreen-pattern wallcovering. The adjacent bay window easily accommodates the extended family for weekend breakfasts.
Upstairs the mood is decidedly lighter, where dark wood floors transition to soft wool carpeting and the fabrics shift from saturated to fresh hues. Icy silk taffeta drapery in the primary bedroom complements the light colors of the bedding fabrics, and the primary bath’s crisp combination of white and lilac marble is enhanced by a wall of mirror.
A very personal collection of antique and contemporary furniture and lighting adds a layer of interest to all the rooms and helps to create a sense that this house has been here for ages, when in fact it just arrived.