When architect/interior designer Jun Villones agreed to update a home for a professional couple, he had a pretty good understanding of their likes and dislikes. He had renovated the showroom and offices of their carpet business, turning the spaces into contemporary, high-tech interiors that drew raves from workers and customers.
His new job was to transform boxy, traditional rooms, decorated in dark colors and chintz fabrics, into spaces that reflected the ultra-modern style of his commercial project. The challenge was to use high-tech materials like glass and stainless steel in a design that would be comfortable and practical for a family that included active grandchildren.
Once he was on the scene, his immediate decision was to combine the small living room and family room into one large space. He also removed the old ceiling and replaced one exterior wall with glass block -- an idea that had to be sold to the wife, who was skeptical about using what she perceived as a very commercial building material in the living area of her home. She is now enchanted with the block, pointing out that it floods the room with soft sunlight in the day and glows in the light from the ceiling fixtures at night.
There was no hesitation on furnishings. Everyone agreed on top-of-the-line contemporary, with a preference for Italian manufacturers and custom designs. The smoked-glass entertainment center was designed by Mr. Villones, who also redesigned the fireplace surround, changing it from dark wood to gray and mauve marble imported from Italy.
A curved sectional sofa in camel-colored leather by B. L. Wayne is a perfect spot for the entire family to watch television or listen to the stereo. Its sleek look is softened by throw pillows covered in a sophisticated beige silk pattern. The custom-designed triangular table that hugs one end of the sofa is finished in an aqua lacquer -- the brightest tone in a color scheme that plays largely with neutrals like beige, gray and mauve. The dramatic glass sofa table is from Saporiti, an Italian manufacturer.
Behind the sofa, a Chinese art deco-inspired area rug from Alex Cooper is a focal point. Two Italian-made Le Corbusier lounge chairs in deep gray leather flank a glass and stainless-steel console table from Brueton. Almost all the lamps in the room are Italian. "Italian designers are very innovative and creative, definitely a couple of years ahead of American designers," says Mr. Villones.
Besides redoing the living space, Mr. Villones made over the dining room and kitchen, giving both these spaces the same ultra-modern treatment as the living room/family room. "My clients and I had just the right chemistry and they gave me carte blanche to do the job," he says. "I even picked out the frames for their family pictures."