Is there a home where a giant lotus, wild horses and a burnt orange ceiling studded with gold stars can coexist? Is it possible for such wonders to cohere rather than collide? The answer is yes—beneath the wand of Annapolis-based Katalin Farnady of Farnady Interiors. In this home in Crownsville, she juxtaposes textures, finishes and colors in unpredictable combinations and integrates pre-existing furnishings. Farnady, who was born in Hungary and regularly travels the world, joins the old with the new, summoning an exotic, international palette to forge a fresh and unusual beauty impossible to duplicate.
Farnady explains that her client lives in a large traditional home that, though lovely, did not quite express the family’s exuberant personality. The homeowner wanted to incorporate some of her own artwork, furnishings, antiques and heirlooms from her parents but also do something fresh and new.
The challenge of creating an eclectic mixture using about 20 percent of the existing furnishings did not faze Farnady. Instead, she helped her client refine her vision and take some risks to create a one-of-a-kind home. “She wanted custom designs and quality. Those are the things I like to do,” says Farnady. She adds that, importantly, her client was not afraid to experiment and was open to uncommon combinations.
At first, her client wanted only to redesign the master suite to echo the clean elegant suites in grand hotels. Together, Farnady and the homeowner, who loves horses, combed through galleries in Baltimore and found just the right equine painting to set up a moody palette of black, brown and blue in the bedroom. In an intimate sitting area, muted colors soothe and encourage introspection.
The palette continues in the bathroom but intensifies. Its floor, walls and shower surround are carved from a single large hand-finished ceramic tile from In Home Stone, located in the Annapolis Design District. Farnady manipulated the size of the tile and the patterns to create a kind of dance, where colors pirouette, advance and recede, always in relationship to each other. There is movement in the air. The deep copper soaking tub—welcome departure from the ubiquitous white bathtub—recalls a simple boudoir in a Florentine villa. It is reminiscent of Italy, one of the couple’s favorite destinations.
One area of the home led to another and then another. “We started on the master suite and began to redesign more rooms in the home,” recalls Farnady. “When we got to the dining room, I asked her if she wanted to tone things down and she said ‘why?’” This was music to her ears. By now, she had learned something crucial about her client. “She liked all of the eras—classic, traditional and contemporary—and wanted to include them,” Farnady notes. “I was able to bring these together and forward into a modern sensibility.”
For example, in the dining room, she points to the giant magnolia-studded wallpaper which includes a black striped background. “The stripe grounds it in the traditional and the large scale of the flower brings it back into the modern. The black adds drama,” she notes. Above the table, a magnificent chandelier cascades, composed of famous Murano glass. Muted green velvet chairs speak to its royal presence, yet remain submissive. What distinguishes this room and others throughout the home, and Farnady’s work in general, is that secondary and tertiary colors surface and harmonize briefly, in their own syncopated rhythm. Farnady prefers a harmonic and organic flow of color rather than forcing a predictable or prosaic “match.”
In the living room, there is a hint of the West, and of Kentucky, a place her parents often travelled. Walls are hand-painted to look like linen, brightening up the atmosphere. A large pre-existing frameless painting of horses inspired the design of the fireplace wall. “The art is actually framed by the wall itself,” Farnady notes about this custom element. Close examination reveals that, indeed, the wall itself is built around the painting and becomes a frame, repeating some of the rough
For the living room ceiling, Farnady chose a burnt orange wallpaper with gold stars. With hand-painted walls, orange ceiling and gestural horse painting, this room is in itself a performance to delight the eye, a feast for the soul. And in a reading nook, a chair is covered in a surprising purple-red leather “almost like delicious red wine,” says Farnady. One would not necessarily pair a deep purple chair with an orange ceiling, but Farnady makes it work. “I am lucky my client wanted to do things like this…it is unusual to find leather in this uncommon shade.
The piano room is a place where the classic and traditional pervade. It includes many antiques from the homeowner’s parents; the striped chair and pre-existing green sofa add a touch of nostalgia. Memories permeate the air and find physical form in these solid supporting objects.
The lotus is revered in other cultures for it springs forth from the mud to become a pure and exquisite bloom. Horses symbolize freedom and a strong will. Golden stars in an orange sky are a vision. It is fitting that these and other emblems appear in this color-drenched home to express this family’s exuberant song of itself.
INTERIOR DESIGN: Katalin Farnady, Farnady Interiors, farnadyinteriors.com, Annapolis, Maryland | BATHROOM TILE: In Home Stone, inhomestone.com, Annapolis, Maryland | DECORATIVE PAINTING: Suzi Wood, Wood Design Group, wooddesigngroup.weebly.com, Severna Park, Maryland | WALL FINISHES: Deborah E. Watson, deborahewatson.com, Calvert County, Maryland
Annapolis Home Magazine
Vol. 9, No. 6 2018