OC Lifestyle

10 Amazing Rooms

By OCinSite At-Large | March 04, 2011 10:29 AM

10 Amazing Rooms

Photo by Dennis Owen

By Sharael Kolberg | Newport Beach Magazine, March 2011

In Newport Beach, a home is not only a castle, but a custom-built castle designed to express the luxurious lifestyle of the coastal community. From pink marble countertops to hand-woven fabric walls and dazzling crystal chandeliers, no expense is spared in the creation of these elegant places to call home.

Here, we take a peek inside a few distinguished Newport Beach rooms that started with a vision and were transformed by homeowners, designers and architects into spaces that reflect a unique perspective and employ the finest materials.

Secret Shower View 
To many, taking a shower is a mundane experience, but designer Courtney Lawrence-Ziething’s clients craved a luxurious and artistic shower for their oceanfront Corona del Mar home. “We chose to use onyx in the shower because it is a natural, organic material, yet has a contemporary feel, Courtney says. “The entire shower is book and butt matched to add extra pattern.”

The bathroom’s features include a his-and-hers steam shower. Each side provides four body sprays, one rain head and one showerhead. A common seating area in the middle was created using a floating slab stone.

Secret Shower
Photo by Gregg Seltzer of Seltzer Photography

Courtney’s biggest challenge was how to create a shower that was private, yet included views of the Pacific. She tackled the problem by cutting a small window out of the onyx shower slab, which offers clients a glimpse of the ocean through the master bedroom. She then installed wooden shelving with one-way mirrors on the opposite side of the window to provide privacy.

The his-and-hers theme carries over to the rest of the bathroom with sinks and cabinets flagging each end of the room to offer semi-private separate spaces. In the middle is the meeting area with a tub on one side of the room and the shower on the other.

Secret Sinks
Photo by Gregg Seltzer of Seltzer Photography

The style Courtney used stemmed from a traditional Spanish colonial home, but she mixed in a contrast of contemporary, clean elements to offset the old, traditional components. “We wanted to have a juxtaposition of texture and design,” she explains.

Textured materials include reclaimed brick walls, handmade terra cotta paver floors and a ceiling made from reclaimed roof tiles. In contrast, smooth and shiny surfaces are reflected in the onyx countertops, the solid hand-forged copper sinks and attention-drawing copper whirlpool bathtub. These elements give the room a rustic but modern feel that makes it both artistic and inviting.

Designer/Interior Architect: Courtney Lawrence-Ziething, CC and Company
General Contractor: Robert McCarthy, RDM Inc.
Realtor: Tim Smith, Smith Group
Onyx Slabs: Fabricated by Epic Ceramic & Stone Inc.
Shower Fixtures: Watermark Designs
Copper Tub and Sinks: Eurobath + Tile
Year of Completion: 2010

Reflective Kitchen
Stacy Hold loved the functionality of her kitchen, but was growing tired of the French country design that didn’t fit her personality or lifestyle. “I really wanted a bright white kitchen,” she comments. Thanks to Barclay Butera designer Sudi Jelveh, Stacy’s dream kitchen became a reality with white counters, cabinets, walls and accents.

Reflective Kitchen
Photos by Dennis Owens

Sudi was originally not in favor of a white kitchen. “It didn’t fit in with the Santa Barbara-style home,” she says. “The Old World hacienda look doesn’t mesh with a clean, crisp look.” Despite the challenge, Sudi pulled it off by adding white paneling throughout the house to give it a classic look and pull everything together. “I try to put the client’s vision into action,” she says. “Whatever they want, I make it work.”

Stacy says, although the 435-square-foot kitchen in her Crystal Cove home always had a nice flow and was easy to cook in, she is glad to finally have a counter and barstools for guests. The seating is situated at an island topped with a Calacatta Oro marble counter imported from Italy, which was a key element in the redesign. Finding a slab of marble big enough to fit the 120-by-72-inch counter was not an easy task, but gives an elegant and polished look to the room. The island is complimented by three dangling Caleb Siemon opaline unicorn pendant lights and surrounded by crisp, white walls that were painted using a seven-layer process to ensure the longevity of the redesign.

Coral Reflective Kitchen

To emphasize the beach theme, a collection of sizeable, mostly white coral and shells were strategically displayed atop the cabinets behind designer-inspired glass doors with corner-to-corner X-style mullions and beveled glass panels, and accented with recessed lighting. In the adjacent dining area, the seaside influence is also found in a chandelier made from abalone seashells.

“I grew up at the beach,” Stacy says. “This house is by the beach. It finally feels like the glamorous beach house I’ve always wanted.”

Designer: Sudi Jelveh, Barclay Butera
Painter: Mark Whaley, Mr. Paint Inc.
Cabinets: Jadon Designs
Light fixtures: Lightopia
Year of remodel: 2010

Bathed with Light

To Shelly Kormeluk, lighting is a key element to successful interior design. When selecting the distinctive lighting fixtures for her Dover Shores home renovation, she says, “I chose the specific lighting fixtures because I thought they were unique, beautiful and fun.”

Snowball Light
Photos by Dennis Owen

Her 14-by14-foot master bathroom has a noteworthy chandelier dangling above the tile tub. Shelly couldn’t resist the Matalica cable pendant made from brushed steel by Access Lighting. It almost resembles a ball of paperclips. “I was looking for something fun and trendy,” she says. “And when illuminated, it casts a really cool shadow on the walls and ceilings.”
Shelly selected high-quality materials that would withstand the test of time for durability and taste and that reflect the home’s modern, industrial style. “I wanted to design a bathroom that I could enjoy for the next 10 years without getting tired of it,” she says.

The architect for the project, William Edwards from Planet Design, admires Shelly’s choices. “Through the ingenuity of Shelly Kormeluk’s interiors and artwork, a successful blending of the exterior and interior environments was achieved,” he comments. “The master bath is a refection of that direction with naturally illuminated volume spaces and state-of-the-art solar enhanced lighting, fixtures and finishes.”

Bathed with Light

The luminosity of the lighting fixtures is offset by a cool color palette reflected in the deep brown Wenge high-gloss veneer cabinetry, earth-toned porcelain Xilo tile by Walker Zanger, and the Gascogne Blue limestone with fossil sedimentation used for the countertops and shower walls. The element that ties the light and dark hues together is the glass tile used around the tub, as a decorative trim in the 7-foot long steam shower, and on the wall between the sinks.

Shelly’s love of light can be seen throughout her home. In the glass “tower” entryway, it is hard to miss the dazzling chrome chandelier that is 5 feet in diameter with 90 lights that form a starburst pattern reminiscent of a snowflake. “I wanted to have a chandelier that, when it was turned on in the evenings, viewers from outside would want to stop and look at,” Shelly says.

Designer: Shelly Kormeluk/homeowner
Architect: William Edwards, Planet Design
Lighting: Light Bulbs Etc.
Room Renovation Completed: 2010

Bar None
When Tim and Debbie Howell of Corona del Mar had their home redesigned in 2010, Debbie wanted to incorporate a room for entertaining. “We wanted a place where kids and adults could coexist comfortably,” she says. “An area other than the kitchen table.” She turned to designer Megan Williams to create a space that was stylish, yet durable.

Howell Table
Photos by Mark Lohman

Within the 240-square-foot space, the kids now have a bar-height table that seats four, which is perfect for playing games. The adults can lounge at the custom-made bar and indulge in a glass of wine, or catch a game on TV. The bar is a conversation piece, made out of reclaimed wine barrels with stamps from France and California. “I combined wood from red wine barrels and white wine barrels to create contrast and show the rich burgundy color the wood has from the red wine stain,” Megan explains.

Howell Bar

The front of the bar is copper framed in reclaimed wood from old Kentucky fences, and the countertops behind the bar are made from seagrass limestone. The rustic theme also carries over to the floor, which is made from reclaimed white oak.
“My inspiration for the other areas of the bar all come from the beautiful autumn tones in the wine barrel wood,” Megan says. “I wanted all finish materials to be organic or possess an authentic aged appearance.”

Rather than a wine cellar, the Howells decided to build what they call a wine “closet” with a wine rack and cupboard also made from reclaimed wood. Megan designed a one-of-a-kind iron gate for the wine closet entrance, based on her sketches inspired by early California Spanish-style architecture.

Howell Bar

The end result of the design was what Megan calls “beautiful, yet casual with a relaxed coastal feel and an authentic California Spanish aesthetic.”

As for the Howells, they couldn’t be more thrilled with their new entertainment area. “We now have a nice place to sit where my friends and I can be comfortable and the kids can play,” Debbie says.

Homeowners: Tim and Debbie Howell
Designer: Megan Williams
Architect: William Edwards, Planet Design
Builder: Matt White, Matt White Custom Homes Inc.
Reclaimed Wine Barrels: Vintage Wood Floor Company
Year of remodel: 2010

Tuscan Kitchen with a Twist
Aleen and Andy Andonian’s redesigned kitchen in their Upper Newport Bay home reflects their affection for Tuscany, as well as Aleen’s Lebanese roots. “I wanted to create a kitchen that had a warm, inviting, loving, comfortable and cozy environment,” Aleen comments.

Tuscan Kitchen
Photos by Dennis Owen

In collaboration with designer Beverly Thompson, she started with the must-have La Cornue gourmet stove and accented it with a tile backsplash hand-painted with a scene of Tuscany. Above the stove, the range hood is artistically inscribed with “La Cucina.” The Italian theme is prevalent in the handcrafted custom designed cabinetry that combines sage- and walnut-stained alder wood.

For the sinks, Aleen chose to go with a handmade hammered copper farmhouse main sink, as well as a smaller copper sink in the large granite-topped island.

Another design element Aleen wanted to incorporate into the 600-square-foot kitchen was stone, which reflects her Lebanese heritage. “In Lebanon, they use stone in the houses, especially up in the mountain villages,” Aleen comments. “It’s a great way to bring the outdoors in.” The heavy stone, installed as a trim around the kitchen window, gives the room a distinct style that sets it apart from other homes in the area.

Tuscan Window

The biggest challenge, Aleen admits, was that her husband had different ideas for the redesign, and it was not always easy to come up with an agreeable compromise. For those who are considering a redesign, she advises to bear with the challenges and don’t let it come between you. Luckily, Aleen had support. Designer Beverly Thompson helped Aleen and her husband Andy work together to accomplish their design goals.

Aleen is pleased to share her new kitchen with friends and family. “When guests visit and feel comfortable, I feel we have accomplished what I wanted to with the house,” she says.

Homeowner: Aleen and Andy Andonian
Designer: Beverly Thompson, Designs & Details
General Contractor: Herman Gulezyam
Copper Sinks: Elkay
Stonework: Eldorado Stone
Stove: La Cornue CornuFé
Year of remodel: 2010

Theater in the Round
Veteran Newport Beach designer Karen Butera strives to create distinctive rooms that also bring harmony to a home. “Each room should make a statement on its own, yet tie the whole house together,” she comments.

When a client of hers requested a custom-built round movie theater as part of an over-all redesign for their home in Pelican Crest, Karen jumped at the opportunity to use her skills to create something intimate and elegant.

Round Theater
Photos by Scot Zimmerman

“I wanted something comfortable that the family could enjoy,” says the homeowner. “I didn’t want a museum home, but it was important to us to use top-quality materials.”

To continue the upscale Sardinian villa-feel of the home, Karen and her clients took more than one trip to Italy to handpick various pieces for the theater. From the custom-made iron and onyx chandelier and sconces, to the upholstered walls with fabric hand-loomed in Venice, and a domed Beaux-Arts plaster ceiling, there was an immense attention to detail.

An eye-catching addition to the room is a cast bronze handrail featuring an 18-inch curved star-fire glass wall. The glass has been delicately etched with images portraying the sirens of the Amalfi Coast in Italy. To create such a work of art took skilled craftsmanship since the glass could only be bent one inch per month to avoid shattering. Fiber optic lights on the base not only provide mood lighting in a selection of colors, but also enable theater guests to see without having to turn on any other lights.

Fiber Optic Detail

The biggest challenge in building a theater is achieving optimal acoustics. This was accomplished through adding padding to the walls to reflect sound, building a sound-enhancing ceiling and installing a state-of-the-art surround sound system. To make the sound vividly heard but not seen, Karen flawlessly integrated the speakers underneath the fabric in the walls and behind the perforated viewing screen. Movies are projected onto a 76-by-124-inch screen from a projector concealed in the ceiling.

To make the most of the theater experience, there are nine caramel-colored reclining leather seats to allow guests to relax and enjoy the show. The only thing missing is the butter-drenched popcorn.

Designer: Karen Butera, Karen Butera Inc. Interior Design
Arch: Rob Sinclair, Sinclair Associates Architects
Contractor: RW Lewis Builders
Glass Wall: Bananafish Productions Inc.

Sophisticated Girl

When Wendi Young got the call to design a room for a client’s young daughter, she decided to think pink, but with a sophisticated French flair. “I wanted the room to feel very girly, but since my client’s daughter was only 4 years old, it had to be a room she could grow with,” Wendi explains. “I did not want my client to have to redecorate as her daughter got older, but rather to create a room she would appreciate at age 6 or 16.”

Pretty in Pink
Photos by Dennis Owen

The décor is a mix of hot pink with citrus green and gold accents along with accessories that give it a whimsical French feel. What would a French room be without an elegant bed for dreaming about Paris? The custom-made Baker queen Venetian bed with Italian creme and gold highlights is made with an upholstered headboard and situated underneath a glamorous scalloped canopy with raspberry silk taffeta and rose glass bead trimming.

The walls of the 250-square-foot room are adorned with the Lord’s Prayer hand-painted in French by local artist Ellen Gladis. She also hand-painted the furniture to flow with the rest of the room. A standout piece of her work is the media cabinet adorned with a street scene of Paris that features a café named after the client’s daughter. A pink and gold Murano glass chandelier completes the room. The feminine feel is carried over to the attached bath with a glass chandelier from Bliss Linens and a tea rose marble tub and countertops.

“The most challenging thing was trying to create something very special and fantasy-like for a young child and still trying to keep it understated French to match the casual European feel of the rest of the house,” Wendi says.

Sophisticated Girl

The daughter, who is now 10, still adores her room. “I love Paris and pink,” she says. “Shopping, grapes, the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Versailles.” Although she enjoys returning to Paris frequently with her family, when she is in her room in Corona del Mar, it’s as though she never left.

Designer: Wendi Young
Architect: William Edwards, Planet Design
Artist: Ellen Gladis
Year of remodel: 2006

Living Room Redux
Designer Eve Lowey has a knack for taking wasted space and transforming it into usable area that is comfortable and inviting. “A lot of people have living rooms that have no use,” she says. “It’s square footage that is underutilized.”

When her client in Bonita Canyon was scratching her head about what to do with her uninviting formal living room, Eve came up with a design that turned the space into an entertainment area that can be enjoyed by all.

Photos by Erik Figge
Photos by Erik Figge

“Before, the room was formal, but we couldn’t use it the way it was set up,” says the homeowner. “The layout was only for sitting. The new design is much more appealing and suitable.”

Prior to the redesign, the room had a couch and chairs that were spaced far apart, which made it difficult to have an intimate conversation. Eve solved the problem by using four oversized occasional chairs that can be shared by a couple, or parent and child. The chairs all face each other and are complimented with a circular coffee table that Eve upgraded by removing the glass table top and replacing it with onyx to make it more unique and interesting.


The new layout also allows the family and guests to finally enjoy the fireplace, which now features colored glass in place of the gas logs.

Another element the homeowner wanted to add was a media center. Eve decided to install shelving along the length of an entire wall. In addition to housing the TV, lighting on the bookshelves showcases photos, crystal and art pieces.

“The seating grouped in the middle of the room really makes it work,” Eve says. “The furniture is not blocking the view of the fireplace or TV. Now the family has a practical, comfortable place where they can play video games together or have drinks before dinner with friends.”

Lighted Statue

To tie the room together, Eve used onyx as an accessory throughout, from the onyx tabletop, to a lit onyx pedestal and even onyx slabs displayed on the bookshelves. “I specialize in using natural elements,” she says. “It’s a beautiful, natural stone that has a nice, warm feeling.”

Designer: Eve Lowey, Chameleon Design
Custom Chairs/Shelving/Drapes: Studio Chameleon
Rug: Custom colored by Delos
Artwork: Oil painting by Simon Addyman
Year of remodel: 2010

Basking in the Bahamas
With a view of Catalina and a love of the ocean, Sherry and Wayne Smith wanted an upscale tropical theme for their Corona del Mar home. Inspired by the style of Tommy Bahama, the Smiths called upon designer Beverly Thompson to redesign their living and dining room areas with a casual coastal elegance.

“I usually walk in a room and visualize how I want to design it,” Beverly says. “Then I go and find my inspiration piece and work around it.” In the Smith’s home, Beverly used a scrap of tropical print fabric as starting point. She then weaved leopard and zebra print accents into the design to add an interesting visual to the room. The animal prints were used in chair upholstery, drapery trim, end tables, and room accessories such as a handmade paper-mache zebra that Debbie carried home on a plane from Mexico.

Bahamas Living Room
Photos by Dennis Owen

The color palette Beverly chose combines caramels, crèmes, pomegranate, greens and black. “Black adds elegance to the room,” she comments. “The design is casual chic, but not very formal.” Another bit of elegance that the dining room imbues is the glass-topped dining table and chairs that were custom-made using alder wood to replaced the previous burl wood table. The set also includes a matching hutch with custom finish. Beverly calls the room a transitional dining area. “It is contemporary, but traditional,” she says.

Basking in the Bahamas

The living room upgrade included two custom-made caramel-colored chenille couches with bouillon trim and a slanted mirror hung over the fireplace that was created to match the A-frame ceiling. Beverly also chose to paint the brick-covered fireplace to make it blend better with the color-scheme.

Although Sherry enjoyed the previous design, she admits that it was more of a hodgepodge. “Now the house is more uniform,” she says of the new look.

Homeowner: Sherry and Wayne Smith
Designer: Beverly Thompson, Designs & Details
Year of remodel: 2009

The Study of Amber
When designer Ric King was challenged by one of his clients to use amber as part of the décor for a “godfather study” in their Pelican Hill home, he not only met, but exceeded his client’s expectations. He collaborated with designer Karen Butera and various craftsmen in Russia to produce custom wood ceilings and floors inlaid with the gorgeous lucid material normally used in jewelry, not interiors.

Amber Study
Photo by Chris Mayer Photographer

“Amber has a historical significance, being prehistoric, and contains impurities that encapsulate the essence of Jurassic Park,” Ric explains. “Its beautiful gem-like character is reflective and translucent.”

Although amber is commonly classified as a gemstone, it is actually fossilized resin from conifer trees millions of years old. Upon close inspection, amber can be seen to contain insect or plant matter trapped in the resin as it was secreted.
To highlight the ceiling, consisting of nine square quadrants with 16 amber and wood tiles, custom lighting was installed. “To effectively display the amber on the ceiling, we used drop crown molding with concealed LED ambient lighting strips washing across the amber,” Ric says. The amber is also used as a trim to border the mahogany floors.

The 22-by-19-square-foot room is done with an Old World European style that is prevalent in the selection of distinguished materials used. The design, which won a National Association of Home Builders Best in American Living Award, includes alder wood cabinets stained with a walnut distressed antique finish to match antique chests from Europe, four leather club chairs and leather blanket coffee table, and a limestone fireplace. The study even features a concealed room that is accessed by pushing on one of the wall panels.

Amber Study Fireplace
Photo by Chris Mayer Photographer

Ric’s client, a builder, was going to use the project as a spec house to demonstrate his commitment to design and craftsmanship. However, he fell in love with it and moved in instead.

Designer: Ric King, Karen Butera Inc. Interior Design
Architect: Eric Trabert, Eric Trabert & Associates
Contractor: Matt White, Matt White Custom Homes
Year of remodel: 2004

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