Words by Susan Cannon | Photos by Nate Sheets
A ‘slow and considered’ process results in exquisite details and lifestyle upgrades in this Mission Hills home.
ttention to detail is the hallmark of Lisa Schmitz Interior Design. As a firm, their style is consistently unassuming yet with results that always exude a relaxed elegance.
When the owners of this Mission Hills manor first approached the firm, they originally had a simple request: “They asked us to update a few furnishings in their living room and family room,” says owner Lisa Schmitz. “We got right to work, but then the pandemic hit.”
As the world started to change, so did the clients’ needs and wants. An additional request to update the casual dining room led to a refresh of the entryway, and the wish list began to grow organically.
“It became a very long, protracted project that kept expanding from there,” explains Lisa, who brought in Alicia Berg as the project manager and designer.
“Suddenly, the entire family was living, working and going to school under one roof,” Alicia adds. “They realized there was no privacy—no place for the adults to escape to or relax—so the project needed to grow further.”
With the entire design team, including Schmitz Remodeling, the project became about uncovering hidden potential. They wanted to find ways for the home to take on multiple functions with ease—particularly on the second floor.
“We made transformations that offered a smarter, modern feel and a sophisticated, calming vibe—something airy but grounded, serving unexpected moments of joy,” Lisa says. “We wanted to create a place where each family member could live and work without being in the middle of everyone else’s activities.”
The two front rooms took shape in a much more complete manner than originally planned. Staying true to their modern eye, the design team created a welcoming family room that incorporated a few vintage finds with new contemporary furnishings while adopting a more sensible scale of furniture within the space. They custom-designed the walnut shelving unit to accommodate the TV and books in an attractive and functional way.
In the living room, they infused a touch of formality with a refresh in white paint and drapes. Scraping buff paint off the fireplace surround, they revealed its original black slate, then accented the room with modern black accessories, naturally. The move to mix the black-and-white contrast with neutral furnishings warmed up the room, bringing in a relaxed ambiance.
A freshening of the entryway offered a chance to have fun with eclecticism. “I love the fusion of antique pieces and original architecture merging with our modern aesthetic,” Lisa says.
As change was rolling through the first floor, it came to reason that the tiny powder room just off of the entryway—visible from the kitchen—should also be redecorated. They intended to create a little more ‘mood’ on the first floor. Reusing the existing modern sink, the team designed a vanity with a stone countertop and backsplash from Carthage Stoneworks. It complements the medallion-print grasscloth and round brass mirror.
The team played with neutrality and texture in the casual dining room. All new furnishings serve as a complementary backdrop to the outdoors, with its new pergola and portico—which was a much-needed respite during lockdown—and still is. The plein air space, designed by McHenry Shaffer Architecture, incorporates an eating and lounging environment equipped with a TV and fireplace.
As for the formal dining room, Alicia encouraged paring back and simplifying the space to allow the clients’ Hung Liu daffodil paintings to shine. Consoles were removed from each side of the fireplace to make space for the paintings (stacking on each side), bringing a light, modern touch with the contemporary furnishings.
Upstairs, reconfigured rooms define new functional spaces. The design team balanced solutions spatially and created consistency in a soothing palette of gray and camel—as seen in the custom cabinetry and walls—along with textural interest throughout.
Zeroing in on the objective of a private, multi-use primary suite required borrowing space from a disjointed existing layout. A TV lounge now incorporates a functional workspace integrated within a custom-designed wall unit. The white oak desk and cabinets conceal all office accoutrement, and a flush-mount door accesses a tiny half bath.
“You walk in and it gets quiet, both physically, with the wool wall covering, and visually, with the nice rich tones that are calming,” Lisa says.
That aesthetic—the same palette, surface materials and attention to detail—carries through into the primary bedroom, the new laundry room, the daughter’s room and the bathrooms. A large Kelly Porter painting acquired from Blue Gallery subtly vibrates within the primary bedroom without overwhelming its peacefulness. Again, texture and muted colors feed into the perfect formula for cohesiveness.
“We also played some tricks with the ceiling by taking away the crown molding and adding it to the existing soffit,” Lisa says.
In the master bath, a warmed marble floor combined with a thick, cool gray- and white-veined countertop display a sophisticated mix. As the design team retouched a total of six baths or half baths throughout the house, it’s hard to determine a favorite. It’s equally difficult to choose a favorite room in the home, as they each tell a story of thoughtful design and luxe comfort—meaning that each space will get a lot of familial love.
Interior Designer: Lisa Schmitz Interior Design
Contractor: Schmitz Remodeling
Art: Toma Wolff, Byron Cohen Gallery; client’s personal collection
Cabinets: Royal Fixture Company
Countertops: Carthage Stoneworks
Electronics: Simplifi Audio Visual
Flooring: Totta Hardwoods
Rugs: The Rug Studio; The Beverly Collection; Knotty Rug; Golden & Pine
To the Trade Showrooms: KDR; Design & Detail
Lighting Fixtures: Visual Comfort; Allied Maker
Plumbing Fixtures: Brizo; Kohler
Wall Coverings: Weitzner; Wood Wallcovering Window Coverings: The Beverly Collection; KDR Portico architect: McHenry Shaffer Architecture
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