Cool house, warm look

Add coziness and personality with a mix of classic and contemporary elements

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  • A dropped ceiling in the master bedroom was removed to reveal original wood beams.


    Thomas J. Story

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Homeowners Daniel Germani and Bobby Costa offer their tips for creating an inviting environment.

Use texture and pattern
Stark, unadorned surfaces can seem icy without a balancing element. "We used sandblasted block, raised-pattern wall panels, and funky, fun wallpaper to counter the slick decor and create casual, interesting backdrops," Germani says.

Don't hide your stuff
Books, stacks of magazines, photos, and fun objects can be on display without looking cluttered. Show off your art collection, even in unexpected places like bathrooms. Make sofas and chairs more inviting with throw pillows. Use plants and area rugs to add warmth, color, and vitality.

Light rooms with table lamps
Place groupings in varying heights, shapes, and materials on side tables or credenzas to create soft, low pools of light.

Mix in woods
The 1950s aesthetic was hardly limited to stainless steel and molded plastic. The use of wood, especially walnut and mahogany, was a main design feature of that era; it adds tactile depth to any room.

Let the sun shine
Nothing warms up a room like natural light. Bring it in through glass doors and windows wherever possible.

Add humor
"We don't like to take ourselves too seriously," Germani says ― which explains the lighthearted black-and-white portraits of pop icon Madonna that take pride of place on a living room wall.

Connect indoors and outdoors
Extend the warmth of your house into the yard by adding colorful accents and inviting seating areas outdoors.

Design: Daniel Germani, BD&M, Phoenix (602/466-3820).

Landscape architecture: Chad Robert, Exteriors by Chad Robert, Phoenix (602/252-6775).

Resources: Living room Brady armless sofa ($1,880–$3,190) and chair ($870–$1,360) from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams (323/651-0200). Barcelona table from Knoll ($1,183; 800/343-5665). Atlas vase ($100) and bowl ($150) from Tiffany & Co. (800/843-3269). Remington 56-inch round mirror from Z Gallerie ($395; 800/908-6748). FL/Y lamp (red pendant lamp reflected in mirror) from Kartell (item 9030; $266; 415/839-4025). Hazel 8- by 10-foot New Zealand wool rug in Chocolate from Angela Adams ($1,699; 800/255-9454). Pool area Liguria chaise longue in white and gray from Modern Homes Design Showroom (760/320-8422). Lounger cushions (in foreground) in Wasabi weather-resistant polyester canvas from West Elm ($99 each; 888/922-4119). Custom cement block wall by homeowner. Master bedroom Hotel Collection Pintuck bedding from Macy's (800/289-6229). Nelson platform bench from Herman Miller ($814–$981; 888/443-4357).


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