West Coast Appeal

Designer Amy Vermillion took design cues from her longtime clients to create an interior featuring a modern, clean, and light Southern California aesthetic.

Amy Vermillion and her clients know each other well. So well, in fact, that when her clients decided to leave their Myers Park home to find something that was larger and more conducive to hosting family and friends comfortably, one of the first people they called was Vermillion. “We’ve worked on so many previous homes together that I knew their style and what they wanted,” the designer says. “So when they found this home [built by Grande Custom Builders], I already had a general idea of what they might want it to look like.” Vermillion’s clients had previously spoken to her about their love of their recently sold home in Southern California. “They would talk at length about how much they enjoyed the clean lines, the simplicity, the light color palette,” she says. “So I asked them if they wanted to bring in that West Coast, California aesthetic that’s more modern and much brighter than their previous homes, and it was an emphatic ‘Yes!’” The homeowner shares, “We wanted our home to be modern without being too contemporary.” “This home lends itself to that design,”

Vermillion says. “It would be a real mistake to add a bunch of eighteenth-century antiques into a home such as this. To install a very traditional design featuring heavy patterns and color would do a disservice to the architectural details and clean lines of this home.” And so the designer pulled together a color palette of whites and creams through varying textures to add interest, coupled with hints of blue throughout. “I love color in certain areas of a home, but it needs to be thoughtful,” she says. “It’s more difficult to achieve interest without a lot of color and pattern. You have to achieve interest with architectural details and texture, which is what we were trying to accomplish here.”

After a few structural tweaks that included the addition of custom built-ins in various spaces of the home as well as extensive woodworking in the basement, Vermillion was ready to start on the interiors. Unlike previous projects for her clients where they had furniture and artwork they wanted to use, this time the designer was starting from scratch. To design the public spaces such as the foyer and living room, Vermillion left the rooms white to allow architectural details like the curved wall by the fireplace to shine. And to create visual interest, she combined fabrics in a complementary color palette but in varying textures—such as the Hickory Chair sofas in a creamy linen juxtaposed with velvet pillows by Romo. “The whole point of this home was to allow as much natural light in as possible,” she says. “Part of that was keeping the foundation bright and neutral.”

In the master en suite, however, there was a touch too much sunlight. “One of the biggest architectural obstacles in this particular home was removing the skylight that would have been positioned right above the bed in the master bedroom,” the homeowner says. “We like light, but that was a bit too much!” Despite that change, the master bedroom is still flooded with natural light, which Vermillion was keen on taking advantage of. “We kept the interiors in here really simple on purpose,” she explains. “It’s a very serene, quiet space that looks out to the side courtyard, so we wanted that natural light to brighten the room and keep it warm and peaceful.” Vermillion achieved that elegant simplicity with a Mary McDonald for Chaddock bed in blue velvet coupled with Lili Allessandra bedding and cerused-oak side tables.

The one room, however, where Vermillion took an opposite design approach was the basement. She transformed the large, white sheetrock space into a sophisticated bar area designed for entertaining. “It was so cold and sterile down there before,” she explains, “so we wrapped the entire space in rich, dark-paneled wood.” The inspiration? The homeowners’ love of the King Cole Bar at the St. Regis in New York City, a painting of which hangs above the bar. “Now it’s cozy and warm and such a fantastic place to entertain,” Vermillion adds.

Ultimately, Vermillion’s clients allowed her to drive the design of the home because they love and trust her. That close relationship played a role not only in how beautifully the home turned out but also in how seamlessly the project was pulled together. Vermillion concludes, “When you work a long time for a client, and you’ve developed that rapport, it really becomes this symbiotic relationship. It’s truly a wonderful thing to be a part of.”