Fresh and bold
An Ohio native puts pizzazz into her personal style after returning from the East Coast and purchasing a spacious Wedgewood abode.
A patterned circular rug adds an unexpected twist to this modular seating area. Splashes of purple add color to an otherwise neutral background. The homeowner chose modern furnishings that fit well the home's traditional architectural elements.
After two decades of living on the East Coast—in a New York City loft apartment and more recently at her coastal home on Long Island Sound—a Central Ohio native longed to see her family more than four times a year. So, in 2010, the successful executive purchased a place in Powell where she now relishes her nieces’ and nephew’s frequent visits.
For her, though, finding a cosmopolitan-styled house in suburban Columbus wasn’t a simple task. She was growing discouraged until her brother showed her the modern, 4,500-square-foot home with picture windows overlooking a lake glistening with sunlight and filled with migrating birds. “I didn’t think I’d find this little lake house in Powell,” she says.
The homeowner’s next challenge was furnishing it. She brought a mix of pieces from her previous residences, but they came from spaces half the size of her new dwelling. Eventually, she was delighted to find Roche Bobois—an upscale, European-inspired furnishings store that she had also visited in cities around the world—in the Short North. There, she met local owner Isabella Grayfer and the two “just connected,” she says.
Her home now features stylistic touches that she would have previously questioned: industrial designed chairs in the dining room, curvy orange lamps paired with a Vietnamese bed in the master bedroom and a patterned circular rug coupled with a sleek leather sectional in the living room. The Wedgewood homeowner says that working with Grayfer helped her recognize some fresh design combinations.
Grayfer, who has managed her Short North store for the last 27 years, originally studied art and design in her homeland of Lithuania. She was well equipped to provide a contemporary viewpoint that suited the homeowner’s flair for upbeat, internationally influenced designs.
To get started, the homeowner shared her wish list: “Combine modern and soft edges, incorporate existing furniture and collections from travels; plus make it fun, young, whimsical, comfortable and focused on the outdoor view.” Grayfer welcomed the challenge and added more unexpected elements to the design.
Their first project together was the living room, the centerpiece for this home’s open floor plan. They decided on an alabaster and brown color palette to unify the room and other first floor living spaces. Next, an open seating area was focused toward the fully windowed wall, a nearby flat-screen TV and the fireplace. Grayfer recommended a mix of geometric pieces—a gray leather sectional, a taupe leather swivel chair and a modular coffee table.
A black-framed floor mirror was positioned on a wall above black shelving. The area was then fitted with aqua boxes and four vases that are embellished with folded Japanese comics. An existing Arco chrome floor lamp merges well with the room’s vaulted ceilings. To finish the space, Grayfer suggested swapping a rectangular rug for a patterned circular one and adding pops of color with eggplant popcorn pillows and a matching striped ottoman.
“I love the unexpected,” says the homeowner. “And that’s what I loved about Isabella.”
In the kitchen, the 120-inch walnut table is accompanied by chrome chairs, which are upholstered in dark brown leather. All are situated on a cream-colored frieze rug. Grayfer then suggested the angled chartreuse tablecloth that the homeowner says she would have never considered. The kitchen’s open shelving shows off a collection of Rosenthal dishes and other Danish pieces. “I’ve never had enough kitchen cabinets to store them all,” she says. “There were always pieces stored away in boxes.”
The dining room features a deeper taupe wall color and is furnished with an existing glass table and new Roche Bobois chairs, also in dark brown leather. On one wall, the homeowner chose to display an extravagant kimono, purchased while traveling abroad, because she liked the feminine touch it adds to the room. A fresco of an Italian woman, a Cellula crystal chandelier and sheer gray linen drapes elegantly finish the room.
The foyer’s strong architectural lines were enhanced when two alcoves were painted in taupe. One now features a piece of sculpture. For the other, the homeowner took Grayfer’s advice to try something different. “I was thinking symmetry,” says the homeowner. Instead, Grayfer advised her to place a second sculpture on the floor beside an upholstered chair, leaving the alcove open.
The foyer extends to include a sitting area and a two-story palladium window that provides a soothing view of the nearby lake. A custom-made circular rug and an aqua-dotted ottoman were arranged here with the homeowner’s existing white plastic Eames chair. On one wall, a set of Brazilian charcoals are accompanied by an unexpected photograph. On the opposite wall, the homeowner plans to recycle an old canvas painting after her nieces and nephew help splatter it with paint, Jackson Pollock-style. To light the space, she relies on an existing glass chandelier, inset ceiling lights and a signature Roche Bobois chrome floor lamp that was created by an Italian artist.
In the homeowner’s office, white built-in bookcases are set against coffee-colored walls, while seating is arranged on a diagonal pattern. Highlights include her existing antique Chinese cabinet and a modern chair that has been reupholstered in red. Simple artwork is from a West Indies street vendor, dry mounted and framed in black.
The master bedroom was enhanced when Grayfer recommended big orange contemporary lamps to update the homeowner’s Vietnamese bed and antique Chinese side tables. “The large-scaled bed required these larger lamps,” explains Grayfer.
The homeowner further personalized the space with artwork, including a Chinese needlepoint gift from her mother, and an heirloom Victorian settee that she discovered in her parents’ basement. Its wooden trim was repainted in white by her father and she chose a red fabric for the upholstery. With Grayfer’s help, the settee is now playfully accessorized with a furry white pillow, a matching throw and a boudoir-styled lamp that was originally being used in another room. Grayfer turned the room’s Persian rug on a diagonal slant to offer more whimsy.
Now, the homeowner smiles as she shows guests through her home, where walls are filled with the photographs and stories of her well-traveled life. New furnishings reflect what Grayfer describes as the owner’s “bubbly, playful personality.”
Meanwhile, the owner appreciates her designer’s fresh approach. “It was fun to break some of my pre-conceived rules and try some new ideas,” she says.
Teresa Woodard is a freelance writer.