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Stylish Compromise

Two distinct personalities merge to create one eclectic home

A 50-inch television hangs above the fireplace and blends into the surrounding décor in the great room.

When Lee and Keith decided to combine two homes into one, they began the project with a lot of preliminary homework. Both men had lived in their own places for 20 years, and both had infinitely different styles. “Mine was more traditional, and Lee’s was a little more transitional,” says Keith.

Mixing old and new

Going with the look of a traditional home, but backed with the modern convenience of a new structure, they decided to build in the community of Summerset at Frick Park. They brought in designer Jim Checkeye, of Evelyn James Interiors, to balance the merger, and lay out plans for their new home. Keith began by photographing every stitch of furniture, in both homes. He sent Checkeye the photos along with dimensions, to incorporate in the new design.

“As designers, our job is to work with existing furnishings and then add new furniture, lighting schemes, and accessories to fulfill the client’s vision of their spaces,” explains Checkeye. “The key is to select new pieces that can team with the old, and achieve a cohesive look that encompasses both clients’ personalities.”

A pair of chandeliers from Fine Art Lamps accentuates the formal dining room.

Creating personality

With Lee traveling frequently for work, he decided to put a corporate office in his home. “I’m sitting here working and from one side I see the river, then I look ahead and it’s nothing but greenery,” he says. “It’s truly the most amazing office that you could ever work in.”

The walls in the living room are the main attraction. “It took many days to apply paint, because it was done in layers,” says Lee, as he points to the red walls that are mottled with black. “The goal was to make it look like leather but with a subtle finish so as not to look like faux.”

Sporting a collection of old and new, the dining room pops with the help of two stunning chandeliers. Reminiscent of an art deco theater in the 1920s, with drum shades and mirrored trim, they are an updated interpretation of that particular style.

Thinking ahead, Lee and Keith thought it wise to put a shower in the downstairs bathroom. With 18 steps to the second floor, and if one of them were to sustain an injury, they would have the capability of ambulating on the first floor. “There are lots of stand-out features here, starting with the pyramid ceiling,” says Lee. “You may not even notice it, but it just frames the crystal chandelier, which isn’t something that you normally see in a bathroom.”

The wallpaper has a newspaper backing, and much like making a collage, it is applied by ripping off pieces, before adhering them to the wall. Layers of color give it depth, and a metallic look.

The flat screen television was the driver for the custom mantle in the great room, and panels were cut right down to a quarter inch to integrate the TV. Bronze glass tile frames the fireplace, and mimics tile used behind the stove hood in the kitchen. Four brilliant light boxes hover over the bar, and were first spotted in a condo in Mexico. “Keith and I actually saw this concept when we were on vacation,” Lee says. “We took pictures of it, showed them to Jim, and said we want this.”

The dark Century Furniture bedroom suite adds a touch of formality to the master bedroom.

The beam ceiling in the great room flows directly into the kitchen in an effort to connect the two spaces. Monorail lighting over the kitchen island provides flexibility to shift lighting positions where they are needed. Checkeye chose cherry cabinets to create a warm sense of tradition in the home. Granite countertops, offering rich swirls of caramel, cream and gold, are overflowing in the expansive kitchen. “When we are cooking for Thanksgiving, or a party, the counter space is incredible,” says Keith.

An outstanding chandelier, which resembles an art sculpture, is suspended over the kitchen table. Its colorful parts, often mistaken for glass, are actually made from acrylic. “We call this the Cirque du Sol-chandelier, because of the colors,” laughs Lee.

With a few new add-ons, Lee’s bedroom furniture was transplanted to the new guest bedroom. Roman blinds, chair fabric, and bedding, were all cut from the same material. With shades of gold, brown, and black, the room has been swathed in calm, monochromatic shades. “It looks like a colorful room, but it’s actually not,” points out Lee. “There’s not an ounce of color in here.”

The master bedroom plays on swirls of texture that repeat throughout the room. “You’ve got waves in the carpet, on the furniture, and on the bench fabric,” says Lee. “You’ve got this subtle movement that you don’t see until you really look for it.”

Doors open to a private patio overlooking an expanse of scenic nature, a hint of the river, and a quiet street below. A panoramic view of neighborhood fireworks was an unexpected bonus for the homeowners.

Checkeye was given a basic guideline to follow in the master bath. The idea was to design something very “Zen-like,” and nothing too fancy. The designer used marble on the walls and the floor. “We had a few large walls for artwork and found a wonderful three-dimensional sculpture which added texture to the smooth surfaces,” says Checkeye. Cabinets were raised from the floor, giving the illusion that they are floating in the air. 

Favorite things

“Even though we both came from our own homes, those are a foreign place now,” says Keith. “I feel relaxed and at home here, and it never feels big because we use all the space.”

Visitors often comment that they don’t know which room they want to hang out in. The homeowners share this sentiment. “Do we want to be in the back yard, on the balcony, downstairs shooting pool, or do I want to be working in my office,” jokes Lee. “There are just a lot of fun spaces inside and out.”


Interior designer and draperies: Jim Checkeye, Evelyn James Interiors, Inc.; Architect and builder: Montgomery and Rust; Kitchen and bathroom designer: Nancy Sudsina, Leggett Kitchens; Fireplace surround: Don Montgomery; Hardwood flooring: Liberty Oak, Bruce Flooring; Hardwood and carpet installation: A&S Carpet Collections; Plumbing supplier: Crescent Bath and Kitchens; Sound system: Control4, X1 Systems; Cabinetry: National Forest Products; Window blinds: Peerless Wall & Window Covering; KITCHEN AND GREAT ROOM: Countertops: Solarius granite, Dente Classic and Exotic Stone; Backsplashes: Honed travertine; glass, A&S Carpet Collection; Sinks: Houzer; Faucets: Kohler Simplice (kitchen); Elkay (bar); Lighting: Tech Lighting Mono-rail Pendants; Van Teal chandelier; Appliances: GE Monogram ovens, dishwasher, cooktop; Jenn-Air refrigerator; Scotsman wine cooler; Vent-A-Hood range hood, supplied by Hillmon Appliance; Fireplace: Heat-n-Glow; DINING ROOM: Carpet: Weisshouse; Chandeliers: Fine Art Lamps; Wall stripes: Sam Blancato; Mirror: Chelsea House; FIRST FLOOR BATHROOM: Countertops: Black Morgan granite, Dente; Faux painting: Antique Red Leather Finish, Kevin Sullivan; Chandelier: Castilian; MASTER BATHROOM: Quartz countertops: Zodiac Cygnus Pearl; Flooring, vanity walls and shower: Durango travertine; Toilet, sinks and sink faucets: Kohler; Bathtub: Bain Ultra Thermo Masseur; Bathtub faucet: Grohe; Shower faucet and control system: Kohler DTV system; Sink lighting: Rapunzel sconces, Top Brass Lighting

To see this article as it appeared in the magazine, please visit our Digital Edition, pages 40-46.


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