A recent trip to the West Coast was a joy. One of the highlights was my friend's invitation to visit a client and tour her very special home. By trade, my friend, Jenna Bayer (Jenna Bayer Garden Design, Inc.) is a landscape architect who turned her passion into a career. She is a delight, and every time I head out to the west coast, I'm eager to spend time with her. I was excited by the invitation and dying to see what she creates. Jenna and her client became fast friends and share a mutual passion for detail, an aesthetic for design and affection for developed beauty. I was gifted in seeing the glorious results.
The gift they both gave me was a rare peek at a truly magnificent home - magnificent on so many levels. The best home tour ever! From the incredible landscaping and gardens, to the home's beautiful architecture, to the detailed, rich interior design so carefully and soulfully developed. Luxury, oh yes, totally - but in the most comfortable way. But the real reward was lessons learned in embracing a passion, an eye for curated detail and care for homey comfort that went into creating a perfect blend of luxury, detail and total relaxation.
I'll call it 'Curated Comfort.' I'll define curated as creating a layered, collected home by celebrating past and present. It’s what you own and art and science of appreciated detail displayed in both architecture and design. What is the definition of comfort? A desire to make a house a home.
It would take dinner with drinks, dessert and two lattes for me to unravel my tour experience, but here are a few tips and lessons I learned when touring this incredible home.
The landscaping was in-tune with the natural surroundings and complimented the home. Specimens were selected and placed as an artistic collection. Exterior ‘rooms’ were created and connected with meandering paths.
- TIP: When planning a garden or landscape, or just refreshing one that you have - strive to create a place that looks like it’s naturally there, compliments the home and can become an extension of your home's space, so it can be enjoyed like your favorite interior rooms of the home.
The house was only a few years old, but the architecture and style of the home looked as though it had been there all along, incorporated local elements, and fit right into the area.
- TIP: Doing thoughtful research at the local historical society or library will reward you whether working from scratch or altering ready-made home plans. The land and your neighbors will thank you.
Each fireplace was custom made, inspired by fireplaces admired while visiting historic European homes and estates - making just another element in the home unique.
- TIP: Love a certain style, era or place? Seek an expert to have it made. Commissioned pieces are not out of your reach if you just take the time and effort to track down, ask and research to find the right people to create your vision.
The living room anchored with her family's vintage sofas reupholstered in dark sapphire blue velvet and approachable linen accent pillows invited me to sit, rather than feeling like I was imposing on a piece of furniture.
- TIP: If using luxurious fabric on seating, choose a darker "I can sit on this" hue; add toss pillows or a throw in a juxtaposition textile such as super friendly linen that calms the stature of the statement fabric.
In bedrooms, the beds where adorned with the perfect mix of voluptuous down, organic cottons and a total lush, layered envelope look of coziness.
- TIP: Do not pinch pennies on quality, but always pair with comfort in mind. Look for natural washable fibers and comfortable styles, so your bedding is easy care, but totally indulgent. Create layers with down, matelassé coverlets, quilts and plenty of fluffy pillows. Keep the colors tonal to let the materials shine.
The detail that went into to creating the interior design of this home came arose from thoughtful planning and resulted in pure comfort. Spectacular commissioned kitchen backsplash tiles and museum worthy fabric trims on window treatments, divine details and layered styling were displayed in each room.
- TIP: Scour, hunt and procure your finds so that your home becomes layered. Consider mixing elements, pairing old and new together. Create a room with detail, with a few eclectic elements to add just the right interesting twist.
The best home tour ever! After, we all headed to dinner with drinks, no dessert or lattes - but instead, more deliciously, a few more hours spent in creative conversation. And that's that. I'm now back home in Chicago, still digesting my joyful west coast adventure and a highlight I'll soon not forget. Cheers to you Jenna.