by Dick Pirozzolo and Linda Corzine
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER: A Classic Home In Kentucky Horse Country
Let’s look at this home as a way of understanding how all the elements were put together in one home and share a little about what the designer was thinking during the process.
This Classic Post & Beam Home is in perfect harmony with the venerable Kentucky horse country estates surrounding it in this rural county just outside Louisville.
Like most post & beam homes, the Classic model home does not reveal its true elegance until you open the front door. This is when it comes alive revealing an open environment that leads your eye upward and is perfect for informal gatherings and raising a family.
“Here in Kentucky we have beautiful weather and beautiful lawns — Kentucky bluegrass — so we wanted to reflect regional aesthetics,” explains Jon Bednarski of Classic Post & Beam in La Grange, Kentucky. Bednarski worked with Classic’s design team in Maine to capture the Kentucky feeling for this home — including the cobblestone and cedar exterior, with gray and white trim that is typical of the region. “Considering the long warm seasons here, a patio and deck were imperative,” says Bednarksi, who introduced this home as part of Homearama an annual event that showcases the very best Louisville area architects, home builders, and interior designers have to offer.
When we created this award winning interior we went for the AH! FACTOR with lots of color. You may be tempted to overdo the wood look, but recognize that the beams carry the wood theme and offer a back drop to color in the home. So now it's time for the next challenge: decorating.
In addition, this home demonstrates that one need not be hamstrung by convention. While timber frame evokes a country, or traditional feel, you need not restrict yourself to that style. Timber frame construction provides a wonderful beginning to creating a warm, friendly atmosphere, but it does not necessarily limit your decorating style.
Notice the emphasis on bold and colorful elements — the massive solids of the beams give us the opportunity to use big furniture pieces and bold floral patterns in the rugs.
We mixed mix upholstered furniture colors, or blended wicker with upholstered in the livingroom. Some people would think it's heresy, but it works and keeps the informal tone and the relationship with the outdoors alive.
Every room had a touch of whimsy. The carved wooden dog in the foyer, painted like a Dalmatian, is the entry's humorous touch, and is a nice conversation piece.
Inside, visitors arrive in the spacious foyer. It's just perfect for greeting guests without them having to clump up or feeling they have to rush off to another room. Just off the foyer is a power room with pedestal sink - a nice touch and convenient, too.
Above the door a large palladium window lets the view and tremendous light into the foyer. At night, light coming from the window makes the house seem friendly and inviting, especially when entertaining. Lighting was key and the palladian window literally glowed with hospitality at night.
The great room features a stone fireplace, a beamed, vaulted ceiling to the ridge height of the house, two skylights, a ceiling fan, and a 34' by 10' deck. The master bedroom and bath are also on the main floor.
"The foyer, with its great height, creates a natural, spacious feeling. We decided to leave the atrium window unadorned, for a simpler look. The bronze look of the grille in the window is very effective. We used grass and plants in the entry.”
Upstairs is the second full bath and two additional bedrooms, each with a large under-eaves closet. Light pours onto the second floor balcony through the foyer's large atrium window, located above the front door while natural elements, including live plants, carved wood animals, dried flowers and dried fruits. You'll see the natural motif throughout the home.”
The two-story great room seemed to need grounding, which is a way to provide a counterweight and balance to the soaring and expansive visual weight of the ceilings. The heavy-dimension timbers, and the wood-paneled vault, if not compensated for, could have overbearing presence. We accomplished this with the use of large area rug with lots of design and color. Fabrics with heavier texture, pattern or color seemed to give a nice balance to the dominating presence of the beams overhead.
The modest kitchen blends style and utility, and includes a dishwasher, disposal, refrigerator, pantry, built-in range, wine rack, and self-cleaning oven. The breakfast area overlooks the deck. We kept the kitchen modest, and avoided the overpowering woody look by using white cabinets and appliances. We wanted an unpretentious, lived-in look. The kitchen floor, a wood laminate, extends into the eating nook and blends style and utility. The countertops are a versatile synthetic enhanced by an attractive stone look.
Sticking to the natural elements motif used throughout the home, she selected a hooked area rug with fresh fruit designs. She found a well-worn table, and used bright colors on the chair seats to counter the white of the cabinetry. Make the kitchen fun. Some of the best fun you can have while entertaining is to invite guests into the kitchen to help with cooking - especially pizza, which is tactile and a favorite.
In the master bedroom, muted leaf designs in the bed covering complement the potted plants. She used a flat weave rug with floral patterns, and simple window treatment in order not to spoil the great view. Note how we made use of the windows and the exterior views of the hardboard, something to consider if you like to wake up to the light and feel as though you are being invited outdoor. If so, place the bed against the window. Conversely, if you are an evening or night person, make your bedroom your personal grotto, deep hues, bug drapes that puddle on the floor, even reserve a little space for a coffee pot and small fridge, so that you stay in your special place and avoid early morning hustle and bustle in the rest of the house.
The leaf designs in the framed wall art throughout the home further extend the natural elements motif. Oriental rugs are versatile, and they give an upscale look to a wood-accented home. Orientals are used in the master bedroom, master bath, in the eating nook off the kitchen, and in the upstairs bedrooms.
Metal lighting pieces and larger simpler furniture pieces seemed appropriate and effective in this home.
The color choices, according to Linda, need to complement the color of the wood. We found yellows worked well with the natural yellow tones of the unstained wood. Natural fibers worked well with the wood. For example, the sisal look carpeting (which is made of wool and is softer and more comfortable for bare feet), wood look on the floors, and the wicker, rattan and painted or natural wood furniture complement the wood in the house.
An extension of the natural motif is continued with grasses, cattails, and other simple “plantings” in the urns and vases about the house. Very often more is less, and these decorations are a good case in point.
Overall we kept our options open, and had fun... and you can too.
Design Ideas You Can Learn From This Home
- To bring out the beauty and warmth of natural wood posts and beams, contrasting colors and textures are needed.
- Fewer large pieces of furniture are easier to work with and accent open spaces such as rooms with cathedral ceilings.
- Just as big pieces of furniture work better in expansive areas, big pieces of artwork look better on large walls. Smaller art objects should be saved for more intimate areas, such as bathrooms and hallways. Visually, larger pieces make a large wall come alive without clutter. By making large prints, paintings, and tapestries the focus, you can more easily coordinate furniture with the colors in the artwork. The result: an overall total look for your living space.
- Pay careful attention to your lighting. Plan your lighting during the building stages so that electrical wiring can be put into place ahead of time. If you are undecided about having a fixture in a specific area, have the wiring and a box with a cap installed. This gives you flexibility and is more economical than wiring after moving in. Consider floor-up lighting. It's another way to light a space and can be used in addition to overhead lights. It fills in dark spots lurking around furniture and in corners.
- For window treatments and upholstery, florals and geometrics in bold colors are terrific. As a contrast, consider antique sheer white curtains to diffuse bright sunlight while adding warmth and comfort. Sheers also provide a cozy, yet elegant feel that is sometimes needed to define a window area.
- Put the most durable rugs you can afford in areas with heavier traffic (stairs, foyers). When considering floor coverings, avoid clichés. Rugs are artwork for the floor. Instead of a commonplace braided rug, try an Oriental, a hooked rug, or an Aubusson-style rug.
- As with carpeting, countertops and flooring take a lot of abuse. If you install quality materials when you move in, they will look terrific now and for as long as you own your home.
- When making budget decisions, suggests, determine the scope of the project first. Prioritize your needs room-by-room, then price each item accordingly. Obviously, if you decide to spend more on one item, you will have to spend less on the others. Planning the overall project helps you determine your priorities and enables you to earmark for a few luxury items that you will cherish.
- Seek balance The successfully designed timber frame home is like a perfectly balanced meal. No one dish overpowers any other.