Designer Snapshot: Comfort Zone

September 12, 2012

By Paula M. Bodah

For Jessica Dormitzer, design is all about homeowners–their personality and unique style, not her own. Of course, interiors have to be more than just a good-looking expression of a client’s individuality. In the best homes, rooms are as comfortable, functional (or multi-functional) and well-suited to the people who live there as they are attractive. Jessica, a Wellesley, Massachusetts-based designer created one of the dazzling master baths featured in our special focus on kitchen and bath in the September/October issue. Here, in a few examples of her work, she shows us how she helps her clients express themselves while making sure their spaces meet every expectation for comfort and utility.

All photos by Michael J. Lee

“This master bedroom started as an enormous T-shaped room that wasn’t really functional,†Jessica says. She added a wall with French doors to separate the space, giving the couple a home office off the sleeping area.  “The clients have three kids ranging from pre pre-school to fifth grade, so I wanted to create an oasis for them,†she continues. Even with the new wall, the room is sizable, so she included a generous sitting area that offers a place to relax and catch up away from the bustle of the rest of the house.  The mix of antique and contemporary furniture and a soft palette enhanced with sparks of color give the room an eclectic feel that suits the homeowners.



As the only living room in the house, this space had to function as a casual family room but be elegant enough for more formal entertaining. The wife had her heart set on a pink-and-green color scheme but didn’t want a look that was too preppy. Jessica incorporated a sectional sofa so the whole family can gather for TV watching. The contemporary wing chair and custom ottoman by the fireplace ratchet up the sophistication level of the room. “I used a practical velvet with a large pattern to create interest and keep from overdosing on pink,†Jessica notes. “The custom ottoman is trimmed in a piece of the chair pattern.†The custom glass mosaic that surrounds the fireplace “complements the scheme without competing with it, making the fireplace is a unique focal point.â€

“This house belongs to a pair of busy doctors with four children. Our priorities included: creating a place where the family could gather to watch Sunday football; making it easy to move the furniture so the kids can play on the floor; framing the view of the backyard and its swimming pool.†A large sectional offers plenty of room for everyone to stretch out. The cocktail table and slipper chairs are light enough to slide into a corner, leaving the extra-cushy rug bare for kids (and grownups) to get down and have fun. The first floor of the home relies on a gray/black/white color scheme, but here Jessica brought in touches of purple and yellow to create a bit of extra energy.

“This is my house. I have two kids, ages ten and eight, so we wanted a room that felt grownup but was comfortable for kids,†Jessica says. “I wanted to incorporate my favorite piece of art, which I had owned for several years before I finally could design the right room for it.†She removed a traditional mantel and covered the fireplace wall in a stone veneer to add a contemporary edge as well as texture. “That created a place to display the oversized art piece without any distractions,†she explains.

The built-ins, in contrast to the textured fireplace surround, are sleek and contemporary. Below, the doors hide audio/video equipment as well as toys, while the shelves display Jessica’s own eclectic tastes, holding everything from antique medical books that belonged to her husband’s grandfather (“Don’t look too closely–one is called Diseases of the Sexual Organs!â€) to a shaggy newspaper dog to an Art Deco-inspired Ralph Lauren tea set.

Finally, she used durable, easy-to-clean fabrics and furnishings–“easy to maintain with sticky fingers around,†she says. “I often advise clients to invest in good-quality furniture in the family room so it looks good even with heavy use.  That is where families spend their time, and ours is no exception.  I followed my own advice here.â€

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