Sourcing Street Art

Elisa’s sixth sense for place also considers what’s missing: What aspects of the client’s past seem absent in their present home? What elements, expressed as important, remain elusive in reality? 

For a young family of former city dwellers now ensconced in the Cleveland suburbs, Elisa recognized an opportunity for art to bridge their past lives with their present context. The couple expressed an affinity for street art and yet their wall décor remained more traditional in tone. So Elisa proposed an art-buying trip to Southern California, an excursion that would honor their urban years spent together and chart a fresh course as collectors. Aesthetic mission set, the trio enjoyed a whirlwind tour of galleries in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles—markets Elisa knows well having studied in LA. Their timing couldn’t have been better; now more than ever, top galleries are teeming with work by talents schooled as graffiti artists and muralists. A favorite from the trip: the art of Brendan Murphy, whose contemporary compositions pulse with the swirling inspiration of beat poetry and the bold palette of spray cans. Often working with acrylics on chrome board, his text-based paintings glimmer with the sheen of a new car hood, conveying an impulse at once urban and personal. With the latter in mind, Elisa worked directly with Brendan on a commission for the Cleveland clients. The final painting encircles a thumbprint in words resonant with the couple: beauty, pleasure, emotion, embrace. Now, the country refuge they’ve built for their young family also celebrates their city roots and aesthetic edge. Achieving such texture is what distinguishes a high-end house from a highly-personalized home. For Elisa, mission accomplished.

Clean Elegance

Clean lines recast a kitchen in contemporary sophistication

A kitchen remodel may seem like a concise design intervention, but for this older house, the reimagined room lent new life to the entire residence. An airy elegance now suffuses the space—formerly awash in heavy wood. Clean white cabinetry flank the gourmet gas stove, hiding both the fridge and freezer behind custom panels that blend into the contemporary aesthetic. Even the hood is sheathed a white cube tipped in walnut. 

Brass fixtures lend glamour, while the gleaming quartz countertop adds natural sophistication. Pocket drawers in the island encourage kids to do homework amid food prep, epitomizing the call for family-friendly functionality that drove the project. An adjoining powder room continues the contemporary refresh with its new sculptural sink and faucet—seemingly small changes that yield big impact. A modern makeover achieved in decisive details.

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The Green Light of Spring

Spring signals a verdant design palette

Every spring, Elisa drives around awestruck by the explosion of fresh growth in the valley. Along Teton Pass. Down Snake River Canyon. Everywhere she looks, a riot of green greets her. Thanks to the continued wet weather, the lush profusion has carried into early summer.

“It’s hard to comprehend how many greens exist in nature: evergreen, brown green, rich blue-green. Even the green of grass looks different when mowed or wild,” Elisa says. “I only think about green in the spring, probably because we are so color-deprived all winter. There is hope and life after a Jackson winter.”

Despite being a self-professed “blue girl,” this verdant profusion has—quietly, subtly—made its way into her interior design. A review of recent projects reveals a bounty of green hues accenting her otherwise neutral aesthetic.

The shades’ names alone speak to their sourcing in nature: citrus, forest, fern, moss, sage, pear, basil, pine, seafoam, kelly, lime, crocodile. Texture and pattern enliven such hues: boldly graphic upholstery feels more grounded in forest; an Ann Sacks mosaic tile feels freshly antique with its verdant tones; an open weave makes a pistachio textile seem less pastel, more organic. By carrying the natural inspiration into her design applications, Elisa makes green moments feel as fresh, as welcome, as spring itself.