Conventional wisdom says to start small, but designer says that when it comes to designing homes, she always starts with the largest room first.
It's one of the ways she overcame the challenge of vastness inside the Virginia house she recently completed, where 12-foot ceilings and all-white walls open out onto a patio and the newly-developed beyond.
"The part of the agrihood where this home is located was designed by Piet Boon," Schmidt notes. "He took traditional farmhouse style and reduced it with cleaner lines on the exterior," while the interiors, she adds, maintain all the sleekness you'd expect of a high-end new construction.
Fitting for a fashion maven client with roots in Texas.
In addition to the sheer size of the house, Schmidt was tasked with conquering the newness of it all — from the couple's status as newlyweds moving into their first home together, to the blank white slate that comes standard with many new builds.
"The wife tended to like a more modern aesthetic and the husband liked more traditional," Schmidt says. And because of the home's architecture, modern won out.
With a palette of white, grey and lighter-toned wood, Schmidt crafted a surprisingly cozy home suited to her client's sophisticated tastes, while, at the same time, erasing those overwhelmingly high ceiling lines. "You want to keep a neutral palette in such a large open space so your eye isn’t darting all over," Schmidt advises.
Textured pieces like a pair of stools by Kelly Wearstler and a 24-foot wall covered in a Schumacher grasscloth in the bedroom keep the monochromatic color scheme from skewing too cold or stark.
"I like to layer different variations of the same (neutral) color," Schmidt says of her approach. "For instance, the chairs in the family room are grey velvet and then we have a different shade of grey, slightly lighter, that’s linen in the daybed."
But the real takeaway for the neutral-loving set? "Add a dose of black," Schmidt says. "A blanket or a beautiful bowl grounds the space and all that lightness."
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