For anyone who loves style, light, openness and yet needs to feel comfortable watching all their favourite sports on the television, Vista Verde is a dream come true. As you walk up the steps and through the front door—while taking a moment to look behind you at the spectacular overland view—you are greeted by a serene scene of cohesive blue, grey and white hues leading all the way through the living areas to a beautiful water feature, which draws you into the garden beyond.
Prior to this large-scale renovation, Vista Verde was “a standard Bermuda cottage,” say interior designers Patti Crouch and Jill Henneberger of By Design Ltd. “It was dated, mismatched and rabbit warreny.” The renovation was conceived with both the owners and architects, Benevides and Associates, and By Design Ltd. were asked to develop the interior design elements to suit the owners and their blended family unit of older children.
Crouch explains that the owners are “‘sports fanatics’ so there is a television in every room and the open plan nature of the downstairs area means you can almost watch them all from every room.”
The start of the whole interior design process was a large, eye-catching grey and white canvas of three elephants which hangs in the dining room. “He said ‘this has to set the tone for whatever you’re doing,’” says Crouch, who also explains that the owner’s favourite colour is blue, which is therefore a dominant colour throughout, from the soft furnishings to the kitchen wall colours, some of the cabinetry and even the fireplace.
To replace what Crouch describes as the “mediocre, pedestrian, old-fashioned typical wood-burning fireplace” in the main living room, they installed a very striking, wide horizontal Dimplex electric fireplace, which has electrical “flames” on display with a multitude of colour options.
“We wanted to give them something with more sex appeal,” continues Crouch.
“Sports watching is a high priority. We wanted to use that space for a really decent-sized television and TVs can be a problem above fireplaces. This one can be on and you have a choice for heat on or heat off. It has dual usage and the heat comes from the bottom.” This means that if you enjoy the colour feature, but don’t want the heat, you can have it both ways. “It was really just part of the whole contemporary style and gave this unique function.”
Contemporary style and unique functions are ubiquitous throughout Vista Verde. To maximise the light downstairs there are huge sliding doors taking you outside into the garden, with the addition of a panoramic screen in front of them, which the judges were very impressed with. “That screen system was really innovative,” says one. “That screening had a beautiful drapery quality to it,” adds another. “It’s not intrusive and gave an exterior-interior connection, which I love. Often you forget how interior space plan engages with the environment.”
To maintain the light and open feel, there is a large window in the stairwell and a glass railing and custom handrail around the stylish staircase and balcony, from which you can survey the living, television and dining areas. In a clever use of space, a small office area has been discretely created next to the stairs.
As an example of the attention to small, yet important, details, the light fixture above the living area is LED and has been designed so that when you do look down on it from the upstairs balcony, you don’t see light bulbs and it is equally as attractive from above as it is from below.
Vista Verde is a three-bedroom, three-bathroom home. The master bedroom suite is upstairs and the two guest bedrooms are downstairs. Upstairs, from the master bedroom, the owners can enjoy the beautiful overland views as well as an enviably sized and exquisitely designed closet and uniquely stylish bathroom. Restful hues of the same colour palette are also used throughout the bedroom.
In the master bathroom, “they wanted little glam touches,” explains Crouch. “They said they liked the touches in places like Z Gallerie, so a little crystal, a little sparkle here and there. I just tried to give them little touches.” The bathroom also has a heated floor and a soft light next to the WC, which can be turned on using a switch by the bed.
Slightly apart from the rest of the living areas, the large, light and modern kitchen was “pushed out” and a banquette was added for comfortable and informal dining and the island was redone “to a better shape for the room.”
Overall, the judges were “blown away” when they walked in. “Immediately there’s a cohesion,” they say. “Everything is beautifully articulated. It is start-to-finish done and highly styled. To see something that fleshed-out was really wonderful visually.”
They also commented on the way the colour palette had been used to make up for the fact that, because it faced east, the house did not get a lot of natural light: “The colours help to make it lighter and seem airier than if the concept had been darker,” they say.
They enjoyed the attention to small details and the way the whole house flowed. “I liked the detailing with the glass staircase and the stainless-steel accents,” comments one judge. “As you go back into the home spaces, they become more private. There is a good flow. They have done that really well but a slight separation with the kitchen.”
“The openness about it made the space seem bigger than it actually was. I liked the glazing on the staircase. It made it flow a little better. Your eye didn’t stop when you looked up,” adds another. “I loved the blues. It seemed to be a themed colour throughout the house and the kitchen area had the tones too. The bedrooms were very neutral. Very soft, very warm.”
“What the designers accomplished at Vista Verde, within the existing structure—they did a great job. It was a beautiful, very tastefully designed house,” the judges all agree.