When she starts work for a new client, Alexandra Amirian of M&P Design Group wants to know two things: how you want to feel in the space and what you want to use it for.
The owners of this 1907 Victorian were looking for a family-friendly space ideal for hosting large get-togethers and that reminded them of their former home in the San Francisco Bay area.
Amirian started with luscious, oceanic tones in both the dining and living rooms to offer a stark contrast to the absence of color in the foyer and lure occupants and guests into the heart of the home. “I wanted it to feel like when you’re in one space, you’re drawn to go to the other based on the colors in that space,” Amirian explains.
To the left of the foyer is a double parlor that takes up one side of the house. The front parlor serves as the living room. With a large sectional sofa, three rattan ottomans, and two wooden armchairs with woven leather seats, the space seats roughly 10 people.
Low, streamlined furniture in neutral colors and natural textures plays up the rich oceanic hues on the walls. Incorporating multiple textures gives a space a hint of intrigue. In the living room, the designer went with a range of materials that are tempting to touch: rattan ottomans; a wool rug; woven-leather chairs; a wood and wrought-iron coffee table; and velvet, pleated, and faux fur throw pillows.
Amirian converted the back parlor into a library where the homeowners (all avid readers) could house their book collection and have a quiet space to get lost in a good book. To contrast the coastal blue walls and white trim of the adjoining living room, Amirian painted the crown molding and fireplace a deep, high-gloss blue and left the walls white. “We ended up creating this wonderful, patterned, textured ‘wallpaper’ in the space by utilizing my clients’ books,” displaying them with covers facing outward on custom wraparound shelves, she says.
In the library, books do double duty as wallpaper. Custom shelving wraps around the room’s perimeter and allows the books to be displayed with their fronts facing outward.
Amirian’s favorite place in the house is the dining room. Low, silhouetted furniture and sea green walls ground the space, while a bubble-like chandelier, picturesque windows, and undulating artwork above the fireplace draw the eye upward.
The wishbone dining chairs match the furniture in the living room, so they can be brought over whenever additional seating is needed. “Things move when you have parties,” Amirian says. “[You] need to make sure everything works together.” The shape of the wire piece above the fireplace plays off the globular chandelier and the wire-like tendrils of the potted plant on the mantel.
To create a cohesive design, Amirian repeated various elements throughout the home. Natural fibers and textures (wood, leather, rattan, wool) feature prominently in each room. Sputnik-style chandeliers, dangling orbs, and midcentury modern lamps echo each other within the space. Amirian also stuck with low-profile, streamlined furniture in predominantly neutral shades. “All of these little facets fit together to create this one large compilation,” Amirian says.
Marble penny tile and white paint on kitchen walls complement moss-colored countertops and grasscloth window treatments. “We wanted spaces that were very colorful [and] also spaces that were almost absent of color, so nobody’s overwhelmed,” Amirian says.