Modern Rapture

By Elizabeth Heubeck
Photography by Jennifer Hughes

 

 

A waterfront manor home in Annapolis built in the 1940s had reached the end of its lifespan. The existing home had too many limitations, which led the homeowners to forgo a renovation. They built instead a French Country 10,000-plus square foot home whose interior includes a double-height grand entry foyer and great room that offer a water view upon entry. A hall with columns runs along the front of the house where, again, all rooms share vast views of the water. 

Inside, elegant touches and custom millwork abound, including abundant crown moldings, handsome square columns, ample arches, and French Oak floors (by Natural Creations, a division of Burchette & Burchette).

This new home was designed by ABS Architects and built by Pyramid Builders, with the interior by Farnady Interiors. ABS Architects selected many of the light fixtures, including the four Zurich Lantern pendant hall lights. The fine architectural design and lighting selections, along with Pyramid’s exceptional craftsmanship, add warmth to the home’s sophisticated interior flooded with natural light. 

This traditional handsome home has an unexpectedly open floor plan inside, offering the perfect stage for interior designer Katalin Farnady to create a one-of-a-kind interior. Combining art, sculpture, modern, and traditional elements, she worked to produce quietly riveting scenes. In the world of interior design, the most successful spaces exceed décor to become something much more powerful when art and objects take on a luster, a sheen of their own, and seem to converse visually with each other and with each inhabitant. 

The rooms showcase accessories, original artwork, and furnishings, including one piece of furniture from Farnady’s début collection: the Directional Console. Using innovative local art has become part of Farnady’s signature style. She understands that art has more significance than simply putting a familiar picture on a wall. With sensitivity to form and composition, she mixes new, rare, and custom furniture pieces with various finishes, shapes, and textures. 

Take, for instance, a wall that is tightly curated: two identical 10-foot mirrors hover above soft gray velvet benches, “tufted” to elevate their style. They flank the sculptural console table—the first piece of the designer’s furniture collection installed in the client’s home. The custom metal table’s strong vertical forms contrast with the two repeating pieces of swirling, modern artwork that hang above. A limited-edition ink, Karen Darling’s Tangle is a modern black-and-white shaded piece, both dramatic and sophisticated. Hovering slightly above the mirrors, the artwork creates a desirable amount of tension in the space that might otherwise appear predictably symmetrical.

At the far end of the great room, a magnificent custom-designed JELD-WEN window—nineteen feet to the top of the trim and softly curved to align with the ceiling vault—offers striking views of water and sky upon entering the foyer. Farnady staged six seating areas, each with different shapes and fabrics, and set them up in various arrangements so that no one cluster repeats the others. She mixed and matched furniture, taking an unorthodox approach to placement as in the two mohair couches (courtesy of Vanguard Furniture), placed back-to-back in the living room.

Farnady’s design involves a high level of sophistication that extends beyond simple furniture choices. She avoids “over-decorating,” opting instead for statement pieces, many of which are customized. “I believe,” she says, “that less is more.” 

In the great room—long and rectangular with monochrome wall colors—furniture choices add an element of intrigue. Here, she introduced two sets of handmade iron coffee tables by Arteriors: one finished in brass, the other in bronze. Curvy and playful, the sculpture-like pieces bring an indelible flair to the room. Also eye-catching are two vintage high-back Hollywood Regency chairs in the corner, restored in an ebony finish and reupholstered in velvet fabric with silk threads, made by Zinc Textiles.

In the corner of the room opposite the matching chairs, Farnady installed a wall sculpture (Phillips Collection) handcrafted from a sheet of iron. Finished in an antiqued silver patina, each individual tile glistens and creates dramatic shadows for a dynamic wall display. In keeping with her focus on the creative, Farnady used whimsical wallpaper by contemporary Virginia artist Lindsay Cowles in the piano room.

What is it that makes this interior exceptional, including the stately dining room with its double chandeliers and formal draperies? Working with the architects’ and builders’ exquisite work, the interior designer has gone beyond merely selecting and arranging furniture. While embracing the energy and force of contemporary art and incorporating it into a thoughtfully conceived composition of furnishings, Farnady has created an interior that is artful, distinctive, and utterly elegant.

 

 

ARCHITECT: Sarah Favrao, lead architect; Angela Phelan, project manager, ABS Architects, absarchitects.com, Annapolis, Maryland | CUSTOM BUILDER: Bret Anderson, Pyramid Builders, pyramid-builders.com, Annapolis, Maryland | INTERIOR DESIGNER: Katalin Farnady, Farnady Interiors, farnadyinteriors.com, Annapolis, Maryland | WINDOWS: JELD-WEN; Architectural Window Supply, archwin.com, Annapolis, Maryland | MILLWORK: Premier Custom Cabinetry, premiercb.com

 

 

© Annapolis Home Magazine
Vol. 13, No. 1 2022