You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so the entry to your home has to speak to your style, your personality and welcome your guests.  These clients had a space with great bones but a frumpy message.  They asked me to open it up and let in the natural light in a contemporary language.  I removed multiple columns, reshaped the 2nd story landing and replaced the traditional baulsters/handrail with a sleek silver and black combination. The focal point became a late 1890's rigging timber which was left unfinished (Mother Nature can do a wonderful job if given 110 years) that allowed several load bearing walls to be removed. A Paris flea market hand-carved sculpture was paired with an oversized metal and crystal chandelier to add interest and scale.  The clients requested a gallery space to display a rotating and expanding collection of family photos.  I added distressed iron tables with unfinished travertine tops and antique pharmacy lamps, to offset the mirrored picture frames.  The tufted settee and zebra patterned rug provide a relaxing space to recall great family experiences.  The clients also requested a formal dining room with an intimate, sophisticated feel.  I framed an oversized window with custom satin fabric and selected a marbled mural wallpaper to add drama and contrast.  The table pedestals were commissioned in polished stainless steel to support a boat shape glass top.  The floor is recycled leather planks in a rich chocolate brown, and the chandelier is an alternating polished/satin stainless steel in a flame pattern.  The photograph of a London skyline is printed on metal in a triptych format.  The dining room has programmable lighting, stealth speakers and an optical fireplace which set the mood and compliment the conversation. The great room (images shown below) continues the balance of organic with contemporary.  The wide plank floor in a distressed grey herringbone pattern provides a smooth transition to gather with family and friends.  The floor to ceiling custom curtains add drama and scale to the room while framing the gorgeous outdoor view.  Leather and Tibetan wool seating contrasts the polished library scale on an acrylic coffee table.  The iconic Bocci light illuminates it all.  When the sun sets the metal art panels come to life and make the room dance in color and sparkle.  The entry to the house says "Welcome" while the great room says "Stay awhile"  





This client loves the outdoors and is an avid hunter.  He wanted to showcase his passion but not make the space too masculine.  The goal was to provide a balance of traditional and classic elements, colors and textures to bring it all together comfortably. The color palette he requested for the main level was rich burgundy, reds and greens. In the foyer, I blended the antler chandelier and zebra patterned rug with the more traditional sideboard and tufted leather bench for functionality and to set the tone for the rest of the home.  A handmade teak wood root bench fits the nature-like decor and leather cornice boards with oversized nail trim don’t interfere with the wooded outdoor view. A surprisingly fun part of the project was the lower-level staircase which led to a more relaxed area for entertaining. The comfy white linen couch and black leather swivel chairs provide a classic traditional style while the stainless deer head sculptures add some whimsy to a powder room. This hunter knows how to have fun.





As part of an extensive remodel, this husband and wife added a great room to their existing home.  They both enjoyed traveling to the mountains and desired to bring that feeling to the midwest.  All the standard features were in place–vaulted ceilings, exposed wood beams, oversized windows and a stone fireplace.  The desire was to make this new space feel like a natural extension of the rest of their home.  By mixing old and new, rustic with contemporary, and softening the mostly wood palette, the new room became a comfortable place to relax and is a true reflection of the owners love of the mountains.





This was my opportunity to really add "WOW" but with a rich sensual feel.  The clients had purchased an existing residence that had an irregular shaped master bedroom and an outdated master bath and his and her undersized closets.  After moving walls and lowering some floors (along with gutting the bathroom) it was time to start the fun.  First, I recommended a bedroom floor that is recycled leather in a black high gloss crocodile pattern (surprisingly durable).  I paired that with a sexy vermiculite wallpaper with reflective specs that add a subtle shimmer in the morning light.  A king size tufted headboard in a soft velvet fabric contrasts the texture of the wall and floor and faces opposite the grey oversized Italian tiles framing a dramatic inset fireplace.   The art above the bed was from the clients collection and heightens the sensual feel of the room.  The entry doors were repurposed from mid 1800's pocket doors sourced from a salvaged yard and stained a rustic black and still showing suspected bullet holes.  They paired beautifully with vintage English chrome and leather door handles.  The fireplace is flanked by iconic leather Barcelona chairs with a commissioned table of spalted maple and feminine stainless legs.  The rug is a speckled hair on hide in an octagon pattern. 



Who would not want to take a shower with beautiful art?  The clients requested room for two, along with a steam shower option.  I redesigned the floor space to proved a walk-in shower/steam room with an Italian mosaic wall and a crocodile granite floating bench.  The floor to ceiling glass entry wall along with a trough drain and exterior rated art lights complete the contemporary look.


This space takes "WOW" up a notch.  Starting with an elevated open space off the bedroom, I designed a secluded, sensuous, but functional boudoir.  My client wanted to display her collection of vintage Chanel jewelry along side fashion books and personal photos.  The cabinetry was custom designed with smoke glass panels that complement a leopard print wool carpet.  The tufted sofa and chair were found on clearance.  Wood shutters provide light during the day, while the crystal chandeliers provide sparkle after dark.





This space was a former home office in the lower level of a private residence.  The entry to the room was through generic glass paneled french doors. The new owners desired a open space that connected to the more casual feel of the lower level but using authentic materials.  The challenge was opening up the entry on a load bearing wall.  I used Douglas Fir timbers from the early 1900's, finished in a natural color with interior distressed brick from a 1860’s alley house to create a dramatic and natural entry point that was structurally sound.  The center coffee table was commissioned by JRDesigns and utilizes the same timbers in a different finish, coupled with polished metal supports and a glass top elevated with rustic bolts.  The textural journey continues with matching contemporary hair on hide swivel chairs flanking a commissioned side table which features a Polynesian wood top paired with a simple metal base.  On the far right is an art display stand which utilizes a crank shaft from a heavy duty truck to support one of the owners collection of unique wood geodesic spheres.  





What do you do when a client has 2,000 bottles of wine and no where to properly store it?  My answer was to convert a 2nd floor, over the garage "bonus room" into a wine loft.  The practical challenges were: structural support of 6,000 pounds of wine– solved with steel beams in the sub floor; climate control–solved with cooling units in the attic and garage, and functionality–solved with glass partitions and an open mind.  The antique brick columns frame the large format bottles and storage drawers, which are finished with 2,000 year old redwood.  The floor is Italian tile in a concrete finish with random graffiti.  I added programmable lighting which allows for 6 different lighting scenes; from dramatic display, to functional task lighting–this client is in control.  The tasting area includes Barcelona chairs and a leather love seat to provide a comfortable but contemporary environment to enjoy a first growth Bordeaux with friends (make that very good friends).  To the left of the signed advertising poster is the Champaign area–because every successful relationship is based on sharing your space.  Cheers.

Cool & Contemporary



Knowing how challenging building a new custom-designed home can be, these clients reached out to me before they even broke ground. They have told me several times it was one of their best decisions.

Everything about this project was unique: the lot, the style of the home, the finishes, and above all, the feeling the clients wanted when they walked in the front door. All this made for a very different aesthetic than I am normally asked for but in a very refreshing way.The clients desired “negative space,” therefore, the finishes selected needed to be strong and clean. In essence, they needed to stand on their own. The free-standing two-story fireplace was wrapped in large format polished Marmi Classico black tile with strong white veining throughout to keep the look clean. JRD designed and built a floating mantel for the lower level out of a reclaimed white oak barn timber. This allowed a more casual vibe in the entertaining area of the home and complemented the suspended steel and wood staircase. In the kitchen a clean, pure white quartz center island runs 12 feet long, providing ample space for six leather-topped piston stools.

The white quartz is repeated on the countertop and 4 foot backsplash, which complements the dark wood flat-paneled cabinetry and draws your eye up to a span of horizontal windows which provide plenty of natural light in the daytime and make a striking architectural feature at night.A unique convex wall finished in vertical slats of beautiful Tigerwood greets guests as they approach the front entrance. Inside the home, the reciprocating concave wall provides the perfect niche to display a cone-shaped piece of Louisiana Cypress driftwood (I found this “sculpture” on a sourcing trip to Chicago and knew it would resonate with the Bayou-born homeowner).The clients have acquired many beautiful pieces of art and furniture over their years of travel. The biggest challenge was to find just the right mix, in order to maintain the clean, strong aesthetic they desired while surrounding them with the warmth and joy a beautiful home can provide. While the project had its challenges, I truly enjoyed working with these homeowners. What started out as a business relationship is now a very special friendship. 

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