Windows in the family room were replaced with generously sized casements that allow for plenty of natural light. The ceilings are 7 feet 10 inches high, but they seem higher, Susan says. "I like high ceilings, but we decided it would cost too much to raise them, so we visually enhanced the height with floor-to-ceiling windows and vertical curtain panels." A whisper-soft neutral color palette and an open floor plan also add to the spatial illusions. "Not raising the ceilings was a decision I could make for my own house that I probably wouldn’t have made for a client, but it was a good lesson for me. We think we need things, but there are other ways to accomplish the same look."
Rift-cut (similar to quarter-sawn) oak floors were stained dark and laid throughout the house, providing a visual flow from room to room. Rift-cut planks have straight graining as opposed to the swirl and cathedral patterns of typical oak floors. "It’s a little more contemporary, but that’s OK because I wanted the floor to be a non-event," Susan says. "It’s just a grounding plane."
Even with the select rift cut, oak is less costly than cherry or walnut. "Oak is hard and fabulous when you have dogs and kids," says Susan, with a nod toward Otis, the family’s energetic Boston terrier puppy.
Coffee table ("Rill Table’’ by Bill Sofield): Baker, 800/592-2537.
Lamps (alabaster): Visual Comfort & Co., 713/686-5999, trade only.
Love seat; upholstered chairs with ottoman; blue-gray chair: custom design by Susan Marinello, 206/344-5551.
Fabrication: A.W. Hoss & Son, 206/522-1229.