Five local designers describe the details of their favorite rooms
Most of us have a favorite room in our home. You know that one special space where we feel cozy and safe. The perfect spot where we can cuddle up in a down quilt and read a good book or magazine, or where the sunlight bathes every corner inspiring us to paint a picture, write a letter or put a puzzle together on a leisurely day. Maybe it’s the kitchen, where comfort food, friends and family linger and memories are made, or the relaxing solitude of the bath that restores and renews our energy at the end of a long day.
So what rooms do interior designers appreciate? We asked five local professionals to show us some favorite rooms they’ve created, to tell us what inspired them and to offer up some tips on how to bring it all together.
JENNIFER HOEY SMITH
Jennifer Hoey Interior Design
The owners of this new home in Timber Gulch wanted their master bath done in a neutral palette, which in less capable hands could have resulted in a ho-hum space. But, Jennifer Hoey Smith saw it as a perfect opportunity to use a variety of textures throughout the luxurious lavatory to add interest and create “aha” details around every corner.
Clean, uncluttered lines and interesting details are the name of the game in this stunning bathroom. The neutral palette led Smith to find ways to create layers of interesting textures and details. “For example the shower tile is three-dimensional and is ribbed all the way down. I then used a very smooth limestone on the bathroom floor and carried that into the shower. I kept the lines clean by not using a curb to transition between a shower and the bathroom,” she explains.
Smith worked with the builder to design the slightest quarter-inch drop in the floor into the shower to drain away the water, and installed a frameless glass shower enclosure to maintain the seamless feel of the room. Another out-of-the-box idea by Smith was to install a shaving ledge in the shower rather than an entire bench.
The large ceiling-to-floor windows looking out onto private gardens inspired Smith to install a large freestanding bathtub in front of the windows, angled in such a way that the bather would have a full view of the mountain peaks outside. “One of the premises of this house was to be able to connect all the spaces with the outdoors,” says Smith
Another strong focal point is the custom-made vanity designed by Smith. It features a black and steel face frame that integrates with vertical grain American black walnut cabinetry. Smith then dressed it with Rocky Mountain Hardware and a Carrera marble countertop, and designed mirrors framed in the same blackened steel. A window over the vanity looks out to the home’s entry and, adding yet another interesting texture, Smith designed a set of walnut screens that recess neatly and completely into the walls when more light is desired, or can be closed for more privacy.
“When working in a modern setting like this, the cleaner the better,” she says of the project, which took her two years to complete. “It’s all in the details. That’s what pulls this look off. It looks so clean and interesting because of all the details we considered.
“Any bathroom can have a marble countertop and walnut cabinets, but it is the extra detail that makes it special,” Smith explains. “The angling of the tub in a certain way, the textured tiles and the black metal framing that shapes the vanity. They are things you may not notice right away and you might not be able to put your finger on, but when you walk in, you feel it.”
Clean lines and elegant spaces consistently identify Jennifer Hoey Smith’s work. A nationally licensed interior designer she holds a certificate from the National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) and is a member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID).
Photos: courtesy Jennifer Hoey Smith
Bruce Martin Interiors
Bold colors, natural stone and reclaimed wood feature prominently in this mountain guesthouse. “I wanted to melt the house into the landscape and create something with an organic feel. I wanted to keep it in touch with its surroundings,” Martin explains.
Bright red wall hangings, a rich red beehive fireplace and a custom orange leaf print velvet sofa provide interesting shocks of color throughout. The sofa’s print is reminiscent of the forests of aspens in the area. “We did the cushions in velvet, and the sofa in a simple linen so the two textures would work together to not overwhelm the room,” says Martin. “The key is to get a nice flavor without having to eat the whole piece.”
Light-colored walls, chrome and leather chairs and contemporary art offset and complement the room’s heavier elements. “We also created a lanai feeling with a large glass opening at the front of the house that they can open in the summertime,” says Martin. “A home is to live in. If a room doesn’t invite you in, I’ve failed to do my job.”
I’ve failed to do my job.” —Bruce Martin
Martin blends elements of various styles together. In this room, he used reclaimed wood to fashion cabinet doors and furniture, and then paired that rustic feel with more contemporary furniture and art pieces.
With more than 26 years of experience, Bruce Martin is known for his use of natural materials such as stone, wood, cotton, wool and other such elements in his designs.
Photos: courtesy Bruce Martin
Fox Creek Interiors
A large, room-sized canvas teepee erected on the designer’s own sprawling property alongside the rushing Big Wood River provided the perfect decorating inspiration for—what else—Cowboys and Indians, of course! “Being in here makes people feel like a kid,” says designer and owner Susan Seder. “Our guests always tell us they don’t want to leave.”
“When I do a room, I start with one fabric,” Seder says. “For this room I started with a beautiful Ralph Lauren bed quilt that had Indians and teepees on it. From those colors it grows into the rest of the room and you find things to coordinate with that.”
Seder chose a hefty log bed as the main piece of furniture, and covered it in bed fabrics that complement the quilt. On each side of the bed she placed a rustic nightstand with lamp (yes, the teepee has electricity) for her guest’s nighttime reading. Seder has also included in the cozy space a small coffee table on which guests could lay their luggage, a coat rack to serve as a closet and a comfortable stuffed chair that Seder had refurbished and reupholstered with a Native American-style blanket. She has also added to the room’s coziness quotient by supplying several warm throws for chilly Idaho nights.
“The impression I get from people when they walk in is they are surprised to see a full guest room,” she says.
Seder points out that sunlight filtering through the canvas teepee walls can be quite strong and will fade fabrics quickly, so she has covered several pillows and a banquet seating area in sturdy, brightly colored indoor/outdoor fabric.
The key is to make it very welcoming for your guests.” —Susan Seder
Creating a comfortable guest room doesn’t have to be expensive. Seder found the nightstands and a coat rack at the local Antique Peddler’s Fair. “I live at that place,” she says. The stuffed chair came from a second hand store, and harmonizing items such as pillows, candles and rugs are simple ways to tie a room together. Fresh cut flowers in a guest room also create a warm environment.
“In a guest room you can use more colors than you might in your master bedroom, which you want to be serene since you spend so much time there,” she says. “A guest room is only used a few nights at a time, so you can make it more playful. The key is to make it very welcoming for your guests and make sure they have all their needs met.”
Susan Seder has been an interior designer for 30 years and is co-owner of the Sun Valley Design Center. She specializes in the decorative arts, specifying the details of window coverings, furniture, bedding and accessories.
Teepee: Tal Roberts / Susan Seder: Kevin Syms
AND JANET KROUGH
The Design Studio, Inc.
With a killer view overlooking Ketchum’s Main Street, this penthouse office provided a perfect space in which the owner could conduct both serious business and host not-so-serious social gatherings. “He enjoyed entertaining there, and especially liked to be able to go out on the patio when the parade came down Main Street,” says designer Connie Hagestad. “We wanted to create a room where people would feel sophistication and warm luxury when they were in the room, but also make it functional and inviting.”
“Our client wanted both a large desk for work and an entertainment area. We had a heavily carved desk custom made and placed it as the focal point at one end of the room and then balanced it with an upholstered wall and entertainment system at the other end of the room,” says Hagestad.
Hagestad and Krogh first picked the fabrics, and then came up with a few suggested color schemes. Their client wanted to go with dark colors offset by lighter shades and decided to go with dark browns and light greens.
All the furniture in the room was custom made, and Hagestad and Krogh personally came up with the design for the unique bar that features exotic veneer wood and a striking slab of onyx as its countertop. “The onyx on the bar is a beautiful jade green with a touch of rust and browns and creams, and the light transmits through certain sections,” Hagestad says. “So we also created some up lighting that would enhance the color of the stone.”
and furniture to stand out and be complemented.” —Connie Hagestad
“Interiors really need to have specific lighting for fabrics and furniture to stand out and be complemented,” explained Hagestad, whose company also designed all the interior lighting for the office space.
“There is a difference between ambient and task lighting and indoor and outdoor light and it all needs to be balanced.”
Hagestad recommends using dimmers to ensure a room’s overhead lighting isn’t too intense. She notes that many times kitchens have overhead lighting in recessed ceiling cans, in addition to under-cabinet lights, “both put out very different light and create a different feel.”
Hagestad notes that when selecting colors, samples should be taken to the location and light in which they will be used. “You always need to take carpet, paint and your fabrics into the space you’re going to put it in. The light in a showroom or store is totally different than the light in your own location,” she says.
Hagestad and Krogh upholstered one wall in fabric to absorb the sound from the entertainment center. “As much as people don’t like having window treatments block their view, they are very helpful in reducing noise,” she says. “You don’t want harsh reflective sounds, especially in tall great rooms.”
Opened in 1987, The Design Studio provides project coordination, preliminary planning and specifications for construction. As they say, “We listen to your ideas, understand your needs, and will manage your whole project.”
Room: Tim Brown / Connie & Janet: Kevin Syms
Top Notch Fine Furnishingsand Interior Design
A log house in the Wood River Valley owned by a client who loves Western décor and wanted the feel of an Idaho mountain lodge was the inspiration for a bedroom that features rich natural fabrics, hefty but sophisticated furniture and touches of special details.
“Although this is a Western room, it is really pretty, more like a sophisticated Western lodge,” said designer Anneta Glavin. A variety of textures and materials, including suede leather fabrics, wrought iron, rich wood and even a touch of crystal, were used to create a rustic and refined hideaway.
The starting point of the room was designing the bed, which is custom made from alder wood and features a large headboard with delicate hand carved leaves. “It’s a large and heavy piece, but it’s also very pretty and textural,” says Glavin. “It doesn’t feel like some guy went out and cut some logs and put a bed together.”
Glavin says the owners like to read in bed, so she had two large alder night stands created to hold a pair of tall handcrafted wrought iron lamps. The light fixtures are topped with laced leather shades and feather tiebacks. Metal stud insets and a slightly sanded surface give the nightstands a worn mountain lodge look.
Throughout the room, small touches create continuity and details of interest. For example, the bedding, throw pillows and draperies are all fringed in a unique twisted deer hide. Atop the draperies are buttons made from antlers, a detail which is repeated on the soft leather Euro shams.
Faux wall paint creates a soft suede-like look and picks up the natural feel of the room. “Faux paint is so much more interesting. It softens it, adds interest and makes the wall become something special,” says Glavin.
To add a bit of romance, crystal prisms were incorporated in the design of the heavy iron chandelier that hangs from the rustic wood-planked ceiling. “The crystals glow in the light and add another unexpected soft element to a western environment,” Glavin explains.
they love in a room,and then when it’s all done thinking,
‘Wow this didn’t come together at all.’” —Anneta Glavin
Glavin recommends finding furniture that is big and textural, “Everything in this room had to have a bit of weight to it, especially to balance that heavy wood ceiling.” She cautions that it is easy to go overboard when creating a room theme. “I think one of the mistakes people make is putting everything they love in a room, and then when it’s all done thinking, ‘Wow this didn’t come together at all.’ The elements in this room all relate to each other,” she notes.
“We pulled from the natural elements that exist in our area—deer hide, antlers, the twiggy motif on the headboard,” she says. “The home is in a natural setting and the owners love bringing the great outdoors in and surrounding themselves with it. They wanted this to be a special room. It’s definitely Western but it’s prettier.”
Established in 1975, Topnotch Furniture and Interior Design provides a unique collection of home furnishings, featuring handcrafted items from the Northwest and around the world. They specialize in helping clients create custom designed furniture, which is then built to specification.
Room: courtesy Top Notch / Anneta Gavin: Kevin Syms