At its core, interior design is something of a quest for balance. With their trained eyes, designers choreograph every part of the room down to the minutia. They can tell when there is enough color or not enough pattern. Their designs are a never-ending dance with form, function, balance, and weight. Each project presents a new stage, a chance for designers to show off their moves. This family vacation home was no different for Melissa Warner Rothblum, one-half of the California design firm Massucco Warner.
Melissa’s vision for this Montecito, CA, home was simple. “We wanted it to feel really fresh,” she says. The home was dark, with heavy beams. It was not the dreamy, beach-adjacent vacation escape she imagined for her clients. She wanted things to feel a bit more whimsical while still grounded in the classic forms dictated by the home’s grand architecture. The beginning steps of her dance were easy. First, the floors got a new stain. Next, the beams went white. Then came the difficult part: doling out pattern to every room.
The result was a veritable ballet of prints and colors. “Clients will get in the groove of picking these amazing fabrics and interesting patterns,” says Melissa, “and then they want every single thing in the room to be just that.” She laughs. “I always say sometimes there is too much of a good thing.” Ever the master of balance, Melissa guided her clients to an optimal mixture of movement and rest. “Maybe 90% of the things need to blow you away. But there needs to be 10% that aren’t as exciting to the eye.”
That 10% comes to life in this project through the details. In the family room, she painted the ceiling, walls, and molding all the same soft white. The living room was painted a pale green. She chose the Matouk bedding in the main bedroom for its clean look and classic motif. “It’s all about balance and realizing that not everything has to offer the same amount of excitement,” says Melissa. “If you tone down certain things, the rest will feel even more exciting.”
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