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For The Home

Mid-Century-Style Patio Home

Author: Terri Feder
Issue: August, 2013, Page 80
Photos by Scott Sandler

Homeowner Carl Hight wanted a timeless look for his kitchen; thus, all the glazed ivory cabinets are built in. Even the refrigerator is disguised behind cabinet doors. “The refrigerator was my inspiration for the room. Before, I had a stainless steel refrigerator, and it looked too industrial in here. I also incorporated colorful artwork and pottery in the display cabinets and on the countertops because I wanted this area to feel like a part of the main living space.” Hight integrated electrical outlets underneath all the cabinets; this way they are out of sight yet readily available whenever needed, he notes.

The Walls Come Down and Spaces Open Up in a Major Patio Home Redo

To step into Carl Hight’s patio home is to be surrounded by artwork and photographs collected from world travels, an array of high-end furnishings and finishes, and open, airy spaces. But it wasn’t always so.

It all started when Hight decided to downsize and sell his former home. It was custom built, nestled in a mountainside and boasted a great view. A couple, who was living in a patio home but desired a larger place on a mountain, came to his open house. “They wanted to live with a view, and I wanted to live in a smaller space.” After visiting the couple’s home and seeing its pitched beamed ceilings and myriad patios, Hight was smitten. “There aren’t many patio homes this vintage—Mid-Century—with cathedral ceilings,” he points out. The two parties decided to trade places ... more or less.

A self-described “space planner”—a talent gleaned after many years of working in the advertising industry—with an eye for design, Hight moved into his new home in 2004 and spent several years “experiencing it”—seeing what worked and what didn’t. A two-phase renovation followed, which increased the home’s size from 1,650 to 1,800 square feet. “Everything has been redone, from the roof, right down to the plumbing and the wires in the wall,” he notes.

Foremost among Hight’s objectives was to open the public living areas—the dining room, living room, and kitchen—into one great room for easier navigation and entertaining. He began by removing a dirt-floored atrium that “basically cut the house right down the middle, wasting liveable space,” and creating a den in its place. The homeowner then removed a floating fireplace wall between the dining and living rooms. With the public living spaces now open, an angled pony wall with niches was added between the dining and lounge areas, producing the subtlest sense of division.

In the new light-filled den, which was created from an outdated atrium and another small room, the walls are covered in Venetian plaster and painted a deep mahogany. The photograph of a tree is by Ellen Wagener. Pots made by artist Nicholas Bernard add to the organic sensibility. Indian mud cloth covers an antique French settee. “Basically, I have a clean, uncluttered Contemporary look, but I also like to mix in vintage pieces,” notes homeowner Carl Hight.
Next on the to-do list—bring in more natural light. To this end, Hight incorporated French doors with frosted glass and transoms. The transoms not only maximized the amount of natural light but also made the ceilings seem taller. Skylights in high-impact areas, such as the master bath and kitchen, and large windows running the length of home’s back wall also were added. The latter ensure views of the verdant back patio from nearly every vantage point and visually extend the home.

Other big changes—claustrophobia-inducing soffits in the bedrooms and bathrooms that brought the ceilings down, were removed, along with clunky ceiling fans. The master bedroom and its walk-in closet and master bath were enlarged by incorporating space from a covered porch and stealing a sliver of storage space from the garage. This also allowed for the addition of a larger attached laundry room. The master bath was then clad in marble and decked out with twin freestanding vanities, a classic vessel tub and an open glass shower.

Phase two saw the kitchen completely redone. The renovated space features ivory furniture-style cabinetry, granite countertops and backsplash, and a dining peninsula. Its proximity to the patio has made it a favorite hangout for the homeowner, who enjoys cooking for friends and family.

The drywall dust has now cleared, and the homeowner is ensconced in his fresh surroundings. “With some ingenuity and vision, anyone can have a more effective, liveable space,” Hight remarks.

Photos - From left: The great room’s lounge area features pitched, beamed ceilings, new crown molding, expansive windows and French doors that look out to the back patio’s fig vine-covered walls. A painting purchased in China (left) adorns one wall. The three small canvases in the back were painted by homeowner Carl Hight. Throw pillows on the sofa are sheathed in African Kuba cloth with ultra-soft black leather backs. The matching table lamps have engraved tin bases. • A floating wall with a two-way fireplace formerly separated the dining area from the living room. It was removed to create one flowing great room.

Photos - From left: Once small and dark, the master bath now boasts Oceanic Blue marble walls and floors, freestanding vanities with long shallow sinks, and a glass-walled shower and classic vessel tub. Mirrors on three walls and a skylight visually expand the space. This Americans with Disabilities (ADA)-compliant home features extra-wide doorways and grasp bars, such as the one on the bathtub. • The expanded master bedroom boasts French doors with simple Roman shades. Two lamps with mother-of-pearl bases were the inspiration for the room’s neutral color scheme of taupe, brown and white.

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