One of the most interesting and challenging projects I have worked on is a 13,000 square foot north shore waterfront home whose owner has amazing eclectic taste. He’s traveled the world, his interests are varied, and his passion for his home is unwavering. The main level, with its breathtaking view of Long Island Sound has somewhat defined areas – master suite with fabulous bath and closets, guest rooms and huge dining room, kitchen and family room, off which is an indoor pool and spa. A second floor hideaway encompasses a movie theater with a medieval theme and a paneled library, along with additional guest rooms. Integrating his many collections in these large spaces was a fun and challenging endeavor where scale and proportion of furniture was critical. The lower level, however, was even more exciting, because it was a clean slate. Whatever we imagined could be possible. Fortunately, my imagination and his concept of a fabulous home “get-away” were in sync with the artifacts and collectibles he had amassed. So what about a home gym? Great! How about a walk- in 2000 bottle wine cellar with outside sampling area? Terrific! What about a cozy gathering spot by the fireplace to enjoy a glass of wine, enjoy a game of billiards and surround yourself with African art? Wonderful! And would you be interested in a museum like glass walled ecology area for still more collectibles leading to a café that resembles an old fashioned ice cream parlor as well as an arcade of working slot machines? Absolutely!
What more could a designer ask for? With a client whose passion for repurposing translates into his home as well as his business, my shopping experiences with him were in his store rooms. It was most fascinating and challenging for us to find new and unusual ways to repurpose his “finds” and treasures, and along with his vast collections of African, Asian and Medieval artifacts came an onsite full time work crew which made the job a lot easier. They worked month after month taking “recycling” to the next level.
So…. Is this home just a little over the top? I’ll say! Is it a Natalie Weinstein classic? Perhaps not – but it is definitely the home that makes this client proud and happy, a fun place for family and friends.
Clearly, this project was a growing experience as well as a challenge for me and my staff. We’ve had “larger than life” homes and clients in the past – but this owner is a “one of a kind”. Yet the collaboration of strong willed client and designer worked – not only once, but twice. (Look for his Florida waterfront apartment in a future HOUSE issue). With mutual respect and good humor, we created a personal space that reflects the man and his vision.
Here’s what he had to say about the experience...