Built in 1951, designed by well-known architect Allan R. Johannes, and commissioned by prominent attorney Walter Pettit for his beloved wife, Cherie Sutton, the fabulous Mid-Century Modern house was heaven for their three daughters to grow up in, including esteemed Piedmont resident and realtor, Anian Pettit Tunney — who took great care in choosing to whom she would entrust her childhood home.
This project is dear to me because the history of the house had a lot of significance for the new homeowner, our client. A young mother expecting her second child, a Millennial with a career in a creativity-based business herself and a passion for Mid-Century aesthetics; she took it to heart that she was the steward of this elegant structure, and she wanted to do right by it.
Some clients come to us for our good taste, others come with their own. Our job in the latter case is to let go of ego and let our client express their dream with our guidance. They come to us because we know what works and what doesn’t work. This project was a true partnership: we took the vision of our client, a woman with a high aesthetic IQ, and developed and elevated it.
In early meetings, our client communicated to us what mattered to her the most: She wanted the redesign to reflect her playful-yet-glamorous aesthetic while staying absolutely true to the energy and intention of the original mid-century house.
When we were brought on board, the bold, green, palm-frond wallpaper (an iconic pattern called “The Martinique” which rose to prominence for its presence in the halls of the Beverly Hills Hotel) had already been installed in the dining room. With that as one of our starting places, we had to think like our client, to connect our chandelier and furnishing choices for the dining room with that wallpaper, and continue that connection in our designs for her kitchen and front entry with her aesthetic choices throughout the house.
To match her lifestyle as a wife, mom, and devoted cocktail-party-thrower, we wanted to give her a kitchen that would function as a family gathering spot and function well for larger and more elegant gatherings.
Partnering with McCutcheon Construction, we specified Nana doors leading out to the deck, increasing flow and helping to make this the consummate party house (so much so that with our client’s gracious blessing, we had our company holiday party there after the project completed).
McCutcheon Construction is responsible for all of the build/remodel aspects of the project, including the kitchen cabinets, counters, and island, and the new floor in the entry.
Our client really wanted her home to be gorgeous. And welcoming. And comfortable. And glam. Because they’re an outgoing couple; young and hip. (Just because we become parents doesn’t mean we have to stop having fun!)
It’s such a joy when the home matches the personality of the client. This client, she’s a modern girl, through and through. This is perfect house for her to express herself, and be supported in it. And we loved supporting and executing that vision for her and her family.
Photos by Eric Rorer
Portions of this story originally appeared in the Piedmont Post
Another take on this project was recently published in the Fall 2017 issue of California Home + Design, print edition, written by CH+D Senior Editor Mary Jo Bolling.