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For The Home

Bijou Beauty

Author: Rebecca L. Rhoades
Issue: January, 2018, Page 88
A Sophisticated Makeover Takes a Small Scottsdale Condo From Dreary to Divine

Photo by Mark Boisclair and Scott Sandler
Restful Retreat
Opening to the patio, with a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows, the bedroom was simply a place for sleeping before interior designer Jamilyn Fournier got her hands on it. An upholstered bed is piled high with plush linens in neutral hues that complement the wall-to-wall carpet and soothing paint color. A matching pair of slim ebony-rubbed mahogany nightstands with metal cross-leg bases anchor the setting; they’re topped by minimalist table lights in bronze and black.

The serene palette is punctuated by a large abstract painting hung above the bed. “The artwork solidifies the space. It’s a good base for the black that’s in the lamps as well as the nightstands,” says Fournier. “I think the room can hold the color. Plus, there’s not much movement in the room; the painting has a lot of drama to it, so it adds that element.”

Custom curtains with blackout linings create privacy and block early morning sun, while a walnut Syrian folding chair with mother-of-pearl inlays completes the look. “It’s art, and it can stand on its own in any setting,” says Fournier of the ornate piece that recalls the homeowners’ love of travel.

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With homes in North Dakota and Minnesota, a pair of globetrotting empty-nesters wanted an easy, low-maintenance lifestyle when they decided to purchase a third residence in the fast-growing Scottsdale Waterfront community. Instead of building an oversized abode on a plant-filled lot on the outskirts of town, they set their sights on something much more manageable—a one bedroom condo just shy of 1,200 square feet in an amenity-filled luxury building steps away some of the best shopping, dining and entertaining in the Valley. 

“We don’t need a huge place,” the wife explains. “We’re not into stuff. In fact, we got rid of our stuff and traveled for a of couple years. Now we try to keep it simple.” While their new home offered exceptional views of the canal—“I walked onto the patio and said, ‘Hello, I live here,’” laughs the wife—its interiors were dark and uninspiring.

Two years after moving in, the couple decided that they wanted to give their dreary dwelling a fresh, functional facelift. While out browsing for ideas, the wife stopped by the Scottsdale boutique of interior designer Jamilyn Fournier. “I immediately liked her style,” the wife remembers. “She doesn’t take herself too seriously, yet she’s very classy and sophisticated.”

Fournier’s first impression of the condo was that it was dark and dated. “But it had a beautiful presence,” she notes. “The light was the first thing that captured me when I came in the door. I knew that I wanted to breathe some fresh air into the space.”

At the time, the home was a blank slate, with minimal furnishings and even less personality. The owners had replaced the carpet in the bedroom shortly after moving in, but that was the extent of their decor changes. For Fournier, the condo had good bones, with large windows and quality cabinetry. The interior designer knew that she could give the couple a space that met their living and entertaining needs without extensive structural renovations or bank-busting budgets.

From a muted color palette and organic materials to built-in storage, Fournier elevated the condo’s style and gave the couple the comfortable sanctuary they were seeking. “We’re enjoying it so much more than we did before,” says the wife. “Coming home now is like walking into a big hug.”

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Living Large
Many homeowners with a narrow entry hall might be tempted to forgo furnishing the area, but adding a slim stone-topped metal table and a collection of neutral accessories created a warm welcome in the diminutive space (far right). “The setting works because the lines are really simple and the palette is neutral. As such, the African basket becomes very powerful, as does the vintage painting,” explains Fournier. “If I were to place a colorful, busy painting there, it wouldn’t flow and be as peaceful.”

The hallway opens to the main living area, which includes a U-shaped kitchen and living room (above). According to Fournier, the room originally felt very closed-in and dark. Now, it has a spacious appeal that belies its small footprint. Notes the husband, “There’s more furniture in here, but it somehow feels bigger.”

Fournier kept the condo’s original travertine floors and fireplace surround. “Travertine is timeless,” she says. “It’s about finding the right palette and the right tempo to play off it.” A custom jute area rug defines the seating arrangement, which consists of furnishings and accessories in a variety of organic materials, including leather, iron, wood, fur and linen in soft shades of cream, oyster and white. “Nothing is overpowering. Each item is aesthetically pleasing and complements the next,” the interior designer notes. “That helps to draw out your peaceful energy, and it also breeds the sense of a larger space.”

A awkward niche was turned into a fun, functional dry bar, with cabinets and a countertop that match the kitchen. Recessed lights were updated with clear liners that shed true light, and louvered blinds were replaced with custom curtains that allow sunlight to gently filter in.

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Storage Solution
Because the homeowners love to entertain and frequently host overnight guests, they needed a space for their visitors to store their clothes, suitcases and toiletries without having the items spread across the living room. “After seeing how they lived, I knew that what they really needed was a space where people could throw their weekend bags and still feel comfortable as guests,” explains Fournier. “We really tried to utilize every inch of space.”

An existing niche in the living room wall provided the perfect solution: a built-in closet with doors that match the style and color of the kitchen cabinets for a seamless transition from room to room. Featuring upper and lower shelves for bags, towels, shoes and more, as well as hooks for hanging clothes, the wardrobe turns an unused, unattractive area into a beautiful, functional feature that doesn’t intrude on the living space.

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Light and Airy
Initially, the wife wanted to replace the condo’s dark wood cabinets and mottled brown-tone granite counters, but Fournier convinced her that refinishing the pieces would bring about a big change without stretching the budget.

“The cabinets are beautiful,” says the designer. “They’re very current, but they’re also very classic. And they were in great shape; there was no reason to tear them out.” Painting the cabinets—as well as the wardrobe and dry bar—a soft putty color helps tie all of the elements in the great room together, from the cream floors to the white walls and even the stainless steel appliances. “The color has been a wonderful surprise because it changes with the light,” says the wife. The muted shade also had an effect on the granite, subduing the dark black and brown specks in the stone and bringing its warm ivories to the forefront.

The wife picked out a backsplash mosaic that was placed above the stovetop. Its black, gold and white tiles complement the new gold-colored sink fixture.

“This look is pretty classic,” says Fournier. “And it’s neutral so anybody can come into this space and feel comfortable. I think it will live on for some time.”

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