Building on perfection

Mary Kay Mosch could not be more delighted with the latest renovation to the 7,000-square-foot home she shares with her husband, Jim.

Their stucco and gray stone residence in Sparks, with architectural elements that might best be described as European chateau-style, was custom-built for them in 1994 and sits on 7.5 acres of multilevel landscaping.


The house has seen many renovations over the years, and the kitchen and adjacent family room were most recently gutted to incorporate a more modern look.

It's "our favorite room right now," Mosch says about the new combined space that offers more counter space and new appliances along with a contemporary look. "We love the colors, textures and lighting used throughout the space. Cooking in the new kitchen is a pleasure."


With an eye toward what Mosch and her interior designer, Mary Pitt, call "layers of texture," both rooms flow seamlessly as one while retaining separate and distinct characteristics.

For example, the stone used in the two-story family room fireplace is replicated in the kitchen over the cook-top walls and also used as a base for the kitchen island, which has been topped in granite.

The clean lines of the stainless-streel appliances enhance the warmth of curly maple cabinets with doors featuring metallic threads woven inside the glass for a frosted look. The 24-inch square Italian tiles that make up the floor in both the kitchen and the family room are heated.

An unusual feature to the glass tile backsplash is the addition of faceted, jeweled stonelike pieces placed at close intervals that twinkle day and night.

"For some time now, the kitchens in Europe have been more contemporary than we see here in the States," noted Pitt, who has worked with the couple for the last 10 years. "I wanted to bring a contemporary edge to the new space [without] sacrificing comfort, nature or bling in the process."

She described the design concept she and the Mosches were going for as "very sleek … very timeless, and … every centimeter a detail of function."

If the kitchen is designed in contemporary fashion, the family room is more transitional in style, with inspiration for color tones and shades originating from artwork.

"The four large antique bird prints hanging in the family room are also among our most favorite pieces of art in the house," Mosch says. "In fact, the colors in these paintings inspired the color palette for all of our most recent decorating."


The gray of the birds is picked up by the ceramic tile, while the brown and tan tones in the prints are featured in the leather sofa and chair and brown tones are found in a coffee table fashioned from a tree section.

"Each [piece] adds the natural elements," Pitt said. "We kept the leather sofa but added a huge shag carpet and two-story window treatments to soften all the edges."

In contrasting style, the dining room, just off of the central foyer, and the adjacent living room are traditionally designed, with a hint of Georgian-style furnishings. Amid camelback furniture covered in damask and mahogany tables and hutches, the Mosches display some of their favorite artwork.

"We have a couple of paintings by Rita Cooper, a local artist. She painted a portrait of our daughter, which now hangs in the dining room and is one of the first things you see when you come through the front door," Mosch says. "Another work by Rita features our house not long after it was built surrounded by freshly fallen snow. This painting is hanging over the mantel in the salon. We have several pieces by Carol Collette and Helen Rundell, two artists from the New England area. These paintings evoke the time we have spent in Boston, Vermont, Maine and New Hampshire."

Three bedrooms are on the second level, including the couple's daughter's bedroom, currently vacant while she is away at college. But it is the first-floor master suite that, according to Pitt, makes a powerful statement.

"I wanted to create a high-end, artistic hotel feel for the new en suite master," she says. "We borrowed a small office and one closet from the front of the house to make two separate vanity areas for him and her, as well as a dressing room/closet for both. It was a huge transformation.

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Earthy with a kicked-up bit of an edge, is the feeling for this master bath, Pitt says, pointing out custom cabinetry that is wall-mounted and floating, for an open and contemporary feel. Vessel sinks and a soaking tub with colored lights add to the mood.

"[The] bed is hand-forged iron that looks like tree branches, with the headboard giving the [look] of a mountain range," Pitt says. "The views from this master suite are so amazing that I kept it nature-inspired with crewel [embroidered] linen drapes in a butter color that frame the views like fine art."

Fine art is larger than life in the lower level, where artist Jill Ionta painted a "Remington-inspired" mural on an entire wall.

"Colorado and Arizona are some of our favorite places," Mosch says. "When we set out to design and decorate the lower level, we were inspired by the hotels we have stayed in while on vacation in this part of the country. We wanted the same feel for this section of our house."

The couple is always looking to their next design plan. On their current wish list is a new deck that will reflect the contemporary design of their kitchen, a minimalist look that she says is more appealing as they consider future renovations.

"Our house is a project that has evolved over time and one that continues to do so," Mosch says. "We have made every effort to continually transition our house to match our evolving taste and to make our home a bit of a sanctuary for our family."


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