Going Beyond Builder Grade in a New Home for a Young Family

Going Beyond Builder Grade in a New Home for a Young Family

Project by: Mimi Fong of Luminosus Designs
Location: Darien, Connecticut

Mimi's clients wanted a little more personalization than the builder grade finishings that were being offered for their new home. In under three months, Mimi not only upgraded the finishings, she tackled floor plan problems and furnished the entire space. We could all use a Mimi in our lives.

From Mimi:

When this Manhattan couple decided to leave the city for the leafy suburbs of Fairfield County to make room for their first child, they knew they wanted their home to have a modern, urban look. They chose a new construction, three-bedroom townhouse in Darien, Connecticut. But when it came to selecting the finishing touches, they found the builder's offerings too traditional for their tastes. So we were brought in to design and create a modern home. Our big challenge was, within a scant 10-week envelope, to complete the kitchen, baths, master suite built-ins, carpeting, lighting, painting, and window treatment — as well as furnishing the entire house with a mix of custom and retail furniture.

There were also several challenges with the floor plan: the first floor plan was too open and there was no division between the foyer and the rest of the floor. The fireplace structure and location in the family room was also less than ideal as it interrupted any interaction with people in the kitchen. We created a custom screen wall in the foyer to provide a sense of entry without blocking lights or views. We completely re-designed the fireplace and turned it into an architectural feature that can be enjoyed from the dining room as well as the family room.

The master suite was more challenging, requiring an entire redesign. The steeply sloping rooflines, so attractive from the exterior, limited placement for bathroom fixtures and furniture. We used a little bit of "smoke and mirrors," such as creating a bedroom "closet" that neatly disguises the slopes. "All the disparate angles were distracting," Mimi says, "so we created a consistent horizontal line across the room to bring the eye level to the highest plane, unifying all the different slopes. Also, we upholstered one wall in a fabric that matched the bed, creating a more pronounced headboard effect which keeps everything to scale." The dream closet—originally planned to be two separate rooms—features a dressing bench, double base hampers, and his and her jewelry trays with different insets. The closets feature handy pull-down bars to make clothes more easily reached.

All these changes made this home a truly unique property in this small, but well-heeled community.

Thanks, Luminosus Designs!

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