This Mamaroneck home was a brand-new construction built for a very active family of four. Designer Sara Touijer worked closely with the homeowner and the existing architecture to create furniture layouts that played off the flow of the home. To boost the house’s functionality, Touijer added several built-ins, including a breakfast-area banquette, bookcases in the little’s girl’s bedroom, and built-ins in the mudroom to create more storage space.
The award-winning design (it won Readers’ Choice Best Use of Color in our 6th Annual Design Awards) is both practical and stylish — as we think every design should be.
Because this was a new build, the homeowners and designer had a blank canvas. “Starting from scratch can be a daunting experience for anyone, including a designer,” says Touijer. “It takes time to refine and add and/or eliminate ideas until you come to a place where it feels right. I prefer to include the client in the process, guiding and educating them on better choices based on functionality and aesthetic.”
The first room Touijer designed was the family room. “This is the main area, where the family spends the most time, so completing this first was important,” says Touijer.
With each of the rooms Touijer says she started with the larger pieces, choosing items that made the biggest footprint in the space first. “Rugs take up a large area on the floor and set the stage for the larger pieces,” says Touijer. “In the family room, we selected a contemporary rug, sectional sofa, and oversized beach photos from Lillian August.”
A Neutral Backdrop
To keep the rooms cohesive and allow them to “flow into each other more smoothly,” Touijer says she kept the larger pieces of furniture neutral and “incorporated values and tones of blue in every room.” The blues ranged from vibrant turquoise in the daughter’s bedroom to a subdued blue-gray grasscloth wallpaper in the master bedroom.
The furniture, although eclectic, also played a big role in creating a cohesive look throughout the home. Touijer carefully chose pieces that complemented each other, whether through color, fabric, or shape.
The neutral backdrop allowed Touijer to add bursts of color: Accessories and art bring energy to the spaces. “Adding pops of color is a great way to liven up a space and give emphasis to a room,” says Touijer. “The addition of vibrant color is really determined by the look and feel you are trying to achieve. This home is very active with kids and pets, so I wanted the design to be dynamic and fun.” She accomplished that by adding color in higher-traffic areas.
Artwork and Accessories
There were no existing pieces of art to work with, so Touijer had flexibility when planning what would go on the walls.
“I enjoy the mixture of artwork and photography throughout the home,” says Touijer. “We sourced a lot of it online, from Saatchi, Minted, and One Kings Lane. The vibrant orange flower in the dining room is from a gallery in NYC. I’m also an artist, and I like to incorporate my own pieces into the mix.”
And although Touijer has a lot of favorite elements in this home, she especially enjoyed putting together the gallery wall in the piano room, which includes graphic prints, paintings, and photographs. “The selection of artwork is so eclectic and unexpected,” she explains.
Another favorite element is the glittery light fixture in the kitchen. “It adds a fun look to the space,” says Touijer. “[It] is striking and playful.”
Just like the rest of the home.
Bedrooms for Everyone
When you enter the master bedroom, you see a drastic difference in the color palette from the main living areas. It is much more serene, with muted pops of color. “My philosophy for designing in general is to create a space that you truly enjoy and that makes you happy,” says Touijer. “For this client, an elegant yet calming and neutral master bedroom and bathroom were important. We intentionally designed these areas to be more serene.”
For the little girl’s bedroom, lots of color was key. “Creating a beautiful kid’s room is the easy part,” says Touijer. “Designing the space to transition from a young age to the older years can be challenging. There are different things to consider when designing for each stage of childhood. I feel functionality is extremely important. I enjoy designing a room that grows with the child, selecting pieces that are multipurpose and will work for years to come.”
Touijer had white built-ins installed in the girl’s bedroom, along with a white bed, then infused the room with teal bedding, window treatments, a rug, and stools. “I prefer the larger pieces of furniture to be more neutral and then bring color with the bedding and accessories, which can be easily updated,” says Touijer.