Interior designer Dana Hugo turns a dark, decades-old home into a bright, space-conscious retreat inspired by Midcentury Modern style
Big Idea No. 1: Lighten up
Moooi‘s “Heracleum II” chandelier adds a fun take on snowy branches to the dining room. “The ceiling was dropped to 8 feet, so we needed a fixture that feels light,” says designer Dana Hugo, of Avon, Colorado-based J&O Studio.
Big Idea No. 2: Pull up a bench
To make the most of a tight dining area, Hugo paired a rectangular teak table with benches rather than chairs, “so you can squeeze more people in,” she explains. One pair of benches is upholstered, while the other pair is covered with cozy sheepskins.
Big Idea No. 3: Swap a shelf for a table
Every entryway needs a place to stash keys and the mail, but what to do when the space is tiny? “Float a shelf,” Hugo suggests. This garage-level entryway is so narrow that even a small console table felt too big and clunky, so Hugo mounted a custom-made, 12-inch-deep barnwood shelf onto the wall using an L-bracket. “The shelf has a contemporary look that’s a cool contrast to the old barnwood,” she says. To amplify the natural light that filters through the nearby front door, Hugo hung a mirror on the wall. “It’s nice to be able to check yourself out before running out the door, too,” she says. The metal artwork visible in the mirror is from Slifer Designs.
Big Idea No. 4: Show your legs
Appropriately scaled furniture selections help this casual living area adjacent to the kitchen feel larger. “To lighten things up, we stuck with cleaner lines and leggy pieces rather than having everything skirted to the ground,” Hugo explains. “There are no camelbacks or curly arms that would make the space feel tighter.” A metal-and-wood coffee table from West Elm serves multiple purposes: “If someone wants to have toast there in the morning, half pops up to dining table height,” Hugo says. A walnut Tractor Stool from Design Within Reach is easily portable and “actually really comfortable,” the designer notes. “Someone can pull up the stool and join the conversation.”
Big Idea No. 5: Create wide open spaces
The original kitchen was cramped and closed off from the rest of the house, with a ceiling that had been dropped to just 7 feet high. To open up the room, the design team took down walls, raised the ceiling and kept appliances, like a cooktop, off the sleek, white Caesarstone island. “Having that clean expanse really adds to the feeling of openness in the space, and it can double as a buffet,” Hugo says. The designer feared hanging one large light fixture above the island might hinder views or require people to duck beneath it to have a conversation, so she selected a trio of two-tone glass “Jazz” pendants by Zaneen, which “provide a lot of light for as small and skinny as they are.”
Big Idea No. 6: Symmetry is key in a narrow space
The master bedroom is long and narrow, “like a bowling alley,” Hugo says. “Matching just made sense here. If there were different furnishings on each side of the bed, they would feel out of place.” The walnut MidCentury Bed from West Elm is flanked by matching side tables; above them hang a pair of walnut veneer Nut
pendants by LZF Lamps. “If we had put lamps on the nightstands, there wouldn’t even be room for a cup of coffee,” Hugo says. A pair of folding Cuba Lounge Chairs from Design Within Reach are “really comfortable, like a beach chair,” Hugo notes. And they’re a clever way to incorporate a sitting area into such a small space. “The key was selecting chairs low enough that they don’t obstruct the view of the bed,” she explains.
Big Idea No. 7: Make the wall your headboard
This bedroom is so tiny that even a headboard took up too much space, so Hugo let the entire wall take its place. The “mushroomy-brown and gray” hues of the bed’s faux-fur throw inspired her choice of reclaimed barnwood wall paneling. “Whatever catches your eye first, that’s your inspiration,” she says. The woven Gabby ottoman from Crate & Barrel is illuminated by a space-saving pendant light. A diminutive midcentury-style chair, upholstered in a gray tweed, is from Home Nature in Southampton, New York.
Big Idea No. 8: Choose flexible furnishings
Half of this second floor space (bottom right) functions as a laundry and ski storage area, while the other half is a casual hangout spot for the homeowners’ sons and their friends. A pullout sofa offers seating and sleeping space, and the metal-and-wood Lily Pad Coffee Table from Blu Dot features movable arms that allow the table to expand and contract as needed. Walls are covered with a Phillip Jeffries grasscloth; the gray-and-white braided rug is from Select Surfaces in Avon, Colorado. A molded chair from Home Nature is upholstered with a “really nubby fabric,” says Hugo, and can be moved easily. The designer chose the driftwood lamp from Arteriors for its “organic-ness.”
Big Idea No. 9: White really does make a small space feel larger
The homeowners’ goal for the main living room: to incorporate enough seating to accommodate the entire family. Simple white slipcovered sofas, a white rug and white walls not only visually expand the space, but also allow the room’s organic elements to take center stage. “The homeowner walked into the Slifer Designs showroom, saw that hide-and-horn armchair and said, ‘That’s the chair,’” Hugo recalls. A custom-made live-edge coffee table by Summit Woodworks matches the chair’s “organic vibe,” she notes. Accent pillows add pops of mushroom, gray and gold to the white-on-white color scheme.
INTERIOR DESIGN Dana Hugo, J&O Studio, Avon, CO, jandostudio.com/ CONSTRUCTION Olson & Sons
DINING ROOM CHANDELIER "Herculean" by Mooi, moooi.com
ENTRYWAY ARTWORK From Slifer Designs, sliferdesigns.com
HEARTH ROOM COFFEE TABLE West Elm, westelm.com STOOL "Tractor" stool, walnut, Design Within Reach, dwr.com
KITCHEN ISLAND Caesarstone PENDANTS "Jazz" by Zaneen, zaneen.com
MASTER BEDROOM BED "Midcentury" bed, West Elm, westelm.com PENDANTS Walnut veneer, by LZF, lzf-lamps.com LOUNGE CHAIRS "Cuba" lounge chairs, Design Within Reach, dwr.com
GUEST BEDROOM SIDE TABLE "Gabby" ottoman, Crate & Barrel, crateandbarrel.com CHAIR Home Nature, Southampton, NY, homenature.com
SECOND FLOOR LIVING ROOM COFFEE TABLE Lily Pad Coffee Table, Blu Dot, bludot.com WALLCOVERING Phillip Jeffries, phillipjeffries.com RUG Select Surfaces, selectsurfacesvail.com MOLDED CHAIR Home Nature, Southampton, NY, homenature.com DRIFTWOOD LAMP Arteriors, arteriorshome.com
MAIN LIVING ROOM HIDE-AND-HORN ARMCHAIR Slifer Designs, sliferdesigns.com CUSTOM COFFEE TABLE Summit Woodworking, summitwoodworking.com