Worlds Best Homes

Design house: A modern condo with a beautifully balanced interior scheme

Contemporary design marries splendidly with classic fittings and fixtures for a homely feel

modern condo
(Image credit: Andrew Giammarco)

Condos are not known for feeling warm and homely, so interior designer Tamar Kestenbaum had her work cut out for her on this project. Did the hard work pay off? This smart home renovation is testament to her design prowess.

'We believe that design should support a sense of balance and well-being, and should fit seamlessly into your life,' says Tamar.

We speak to Tamar Kestenbaum about the design project.

My client, Jennifer Hunter, was preparing to send her daughter off to college and relocate to the city from a large property in Yakima, Washington.

She had owned this condo for some time, and wanted to take on a full remodel with the goal of making the space feel well designed and highly functional for a new city-living lifestyle.   

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modern condo

(Image credit: Andrew Giammarco)

The property

Prior to this remodel, the condo was more segmented. The fireplace turned 90-degrees, projecting out from the wall and into the main open floor-plan and creating an unnecessary obstruction and eye-sore in the space. 

The kitchen island was capped with a large, heavy floor-to-ceiling cabinet box which interrupted a significant portion of the city view. 

The kitchen cabinetry finish was a textured dark brown, and the flooring had likely yellowed overtime due to the immense amount of natural light pouring into the condo through the floor to ceiling windows throughout.     

modern condo

(Image credit: Andrew Giammarco)

The design project

Our objective in planning the design for this remodel was to soften, elevate and unify the look of the space. 

Jennifer is an avid art collector with a keen eye, and we aimed to create an elegant backdrop for showcasing some of her pieces. 

She is mostly drawn to traditional design, so one important goal was to honor the condo's natural contemporary leaning while still incorporating an inviting softness that would make the space feel like home.     

Living room

modern condo

(Image credit: Andrew Giammarco)

The biggest layout changes to the space included turning the fireplace so that it would occupy an unused cavity in the exterior wall, and rethinking the kitchen layout to allow the space to feel more thoughtfully planned. 

Kitchen / living area

modern condo

(Image credit: Andrew Giammarco)

Our initial inclination was to open the kitchen island, removing any visual interruptions to the city view. When we explored this option with the general contractor, we discovered a pipe running vertically at the interior end of the island. 

modern condo

(Image credit: Andrew Giammarco)

We modified our plan and added a wall at the end of the island, enclosing the plumbing, providing an anchor for a much desired kitchen bookshelf, and adding a key landing zone for a pivotal piece of artwork from Jennifer's collection.     

Beyond these two critical layout changes, our attention was focused on decorative details; palette, furniture layout and selections, window treatments, and artwork placements. 

modern condo

(Image credit: Andrew Giammarco)

We embraced a balance of femininity and masculinity in these selections. All of the walls and trim are painted in a soft, warm grey (special mix). The new fireplace is clad in a custom steel panel layout. 

modern condo

(Image credit: Andrew Giammarco)

The stunning B&B Italia Atoll sectional steals the show in the main sitting area, and combines a delicate grey fabric with some magnificent grey leather detailing. We envisioned the rug selections themselves as artistic details, and were lucky to work with Leela Dominoski of Driscoll Robbins to carefully curate a combination of colors and patterns that would elevate the space and pull in some dramatic effect. 

modern condo

(Image credit: Andrew Giammarco)

Hubbardton Forge lighting and Charleston Forge counter stools match the strong presence of the fireplace steel. A stunning Akdo backsplash kitchen tile combines marble with stainless steel, adding a touch of glamour to the space. 

modern condo

(Image credit: Andrew Giammarco)

Bedroom / bathroom

modern condo

(Image credit: Andrew Giammarco)

Finally, we worked with Audrey Spence of Lesley Petty Studio to create beautiful, bespoke window treatments in the bedrooms, adding an additional layer of softness to the space.    

As previously mentioned, the icing on the cake is the artwork. The condo features a combination of beautiful pieces from Jenny's previous collection, as well as some striking pieces by a variety of local artists including Corrie LaVelle, brought into the space with the help of Sarah Hurt, Owner of Seattle Art Source.    

modern condo

(Image credit: Andrew Giammarco)

modern condo

(Image credit: Andrew Giammarco)

Overall, the beauty of the condo lies in the undeniable feeling of calm that washes over anyone who enters. It is a serene space, and a perfect retreat nested in the center of busy city life.

Interior design / Tamar Kestenbaum / Sienna & Sage

Photography / Andrew Giammarco