Tuesday, June 15, 2010
San Francisco Designer Jean Larette's First National Feature
California Wine Country Chic
For months, my friend Jean Larette (who was named to House Beautiful’s top designers list a few years ago) had been telling me about the house she was designing in the Napa Valley. I was intrigued.
Jean praised the owners, adored the architect, and admired the landscape designer. “This is a great team,” she would say. “What a pleasure.”
Now I finally see the house in print.
Twelve pages in the June issue of House Beautiful. The photos by Reed Davis are glorious, directed by the wonderful Doretta Sperduto.
It’s a triumphant for the brilliant Jean—who is also an arts supporter, an enthusiastic movie connoisseur, and a vivacious addition to the California design scene.
DDS: Jean, I recall when your clients signed you up to design their new Napa Valley house. What a wonderful outcome—they love it, and now you have twelve pages in House Beautiful.
JL: This project was a joy from start to finish. I am so honored to be published in House Beautiful.
It was a designer’s dream project. The clients had complete trust in our decisions, which instilled a great level of confidence. My clients were sure of their likes and dislikes and were consistently drawn to specific colors, textures and materials.
DDS: I’m impressed that you did not do ‘country style’ or Italian country’ but made it fresh and modern, with a touch of traditional.
JL: My clients had a very clear vision of a contemporary farmhouse. They wanted it to be fresh, modern, casual.
Comfort was high on the list of priorities. We chose seating that’s comfortable and modern. Swivel chairs are lush and you want to curl up in them. This is modern but there are no sharp
edges. It is curvy, sensuous and cozy.
We had magazine clippings of the color palette my clients were drawn to and the style of furnishings they preferred. I was aware of their taste in art.
The open kitchen allows for conversation while the meals are prepared. The children have their own wing that can stand alone when the farmhouse style door is rolled closed to create an area of privacy.
In the home office we created an extra deep window seat bench with storage underneath so while one family member is on the computer, another can be relaxing and reading in the window overlooking the rose garden.
DDS: I love the light and breezy color scheme.
JL: We took cues from the client’s art collection and began formulating the color palette with the rugs in tone-on-tone silk and wool from my City Collection line. For the main living area walls we chose Benjamin Moore Coventry Gray with White Dove ceiling and trim. Erin Adams mosaic tiles were installed on the kitchen walls. We carried blue, light gray and warm brown tones in all of our fabric choices in the living area. Ironies chandeliers and sconces with a silvered finish and onyx shades are both earthy and modern.
This house was created for a family that loves to entertain. Recently they purchased the property next door. Stay tuned.
DDS: How long was the process, from the start to the celebration party?
JL: The process took place over an eighteen-month period. The architect, Marshall Schneider, and I came onboard the same week.
We immediately had a great working relationship. We both proposed landscape designer Robert Trachtenberg and thought his contemporary garden design aesthetic would work well for the indoor/outdoor style of the house. We all wanted the architecture, the interiors and the garden to feel very modern and unfussy.
One of my very favorite parts of the design process was the week of installation. My team rolled out the carpets, hung the art, installed the curtains, made everything perfect.
On the Saturday afternoon when my clients arrived I was anxious for their phone call. It was truly a crescendo for me as a designer as they went from room to room, “We love it, we love it, we love it!” I was very gratified.
Jean Larette Design