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A Family Plan
Sophia Markoulakis | Photo: Christopher Stark | October 6, 2017
For a couple with four young children, Kimberly Larzelere impeccably balances classic and modern.
Once the builder was given the go-ahead to move in, designer Kimberly Larzelere and her team had just one week to decorate and fill a client’s newly constructed 10,000-square-foot Los Altos Hills abode—and they were certainly up for the challenge. Refined millwork, dramatic lighting and trendy textiles get plenty of play, staying true to the homeowner’s requests and the designer’s eye for classic lines mixed with modern eclectic and rustic touches. “She wanted impactful millwork throughout the house,” says Larzelere of her client, who, with her family, settled in right before her youngest child was born. “Being that she was having a baby, she delegated really well and made decisions very quickly.”
Soaring ceilings in common rooms on the main level allow lighting fixtures to shine, literally and stylistically, as their modernity counters distressed oak flooring and classic furnishings. A cluster of contemporary globelike pendants from European brand Moooi hangs above the family room’s plush sectional, creating a visual break between the beamed ceiling above and the timber planks underfoot. In the formal dining room, the intricate jewellike design of the Harco Loor suspension light plays dramatically against the ethereal wallpaper, wooden table by Hyde Park Home, painted wainscoting and custom Moroccan door screen.
San Francisco-based Larzelere, whose practice initially specialized in kitchen design when it launched more than a decade ago, created a kitchen with a significant amount of wood mouldings, including paneling above the windows, which is an unexpected detail in such a space. Millwork continues in the family room and flows into the cabinet- and cubby-filled playroom. For the inhabitants—a family with four children under the age of 6— these three rooms comprise the hub of the house. “She loves to cook,” says Larzelere of the wife, “so we added a Dutch door connecting the playroom to the kitchen so that she can keep an eye on [the kids].”
Elsewhere, Larzelere managed to execute a modern formality, even in the rooms where the youngest residents are ever-present. In addition to a playroom and mudroom, there’s a basement-level theater with lounge- and chaise-style seating, as well as a reading nook with a bookcase and extra-deep sofa, providing plenty of space for quality together time. “This way, when she reads with the kids every night, they can all lay down together instead of her going from room to room,” Larzelere explains.
An office on the main floor stands out for its masculine leanings, and offers another example of the designer’s ability to merge different styles; this time with clean lines, raw materials and rough-hewn finishes. A tufted sofa with rolled arms is paired with a narrow table whose surface benefited from the ancient Japanese wood-charring process called shou sugi ban. A hide rug provides a free-form juxtaposition to the linearity of the rustic flooring and abstract art gracing the wall.
Larzelere’s range as a designer is further illustrated in the nursery. “I’ve done a few baby rooms, but never a little girl’s room,” she says. “It was fun.” Behind a crib that is one of the few pieces of furniture that was brought over from the client’s previous abode, one’s attention is drawn to the rosy-hued, nature-inflected wallpaper by Eskayel. The homeowner was introduced to the eco-conscious brand when she spotted one of its rugs in a magazine.
Eskayel’s textiles also appear in the dining room, in the patterned wallpaper. Larzelere traveled to the company’s Brooklyn, N.Y., showroom to meet the owners and see the products firsthand before procuring several items for the interiors. The inky Eskayel rug in the living room, which complements Farrow & Ball’s Hague Blue on the walls, was used as a color driver for rooms throughout the house, yielding an often dramatic palette. “I really wanted to make a statement [in the living room] as it’s the first room you see as you enter the home,” Larzelere says. Indeed, it’s the jumping-off place for the modern yet rustic story that the designer created. The next chapter begins with the evolution of the family that resides here.
Originally published in the September/October issue of Silicon Valley