Adding Pizzaz To A Modern Estate

By Mary Lou Janson

A contemporary architectural style, features that include tall glass walls, wide windows and light-inviting skylights are mixed with a monochromatic color scheme. The lines and design of this sophisticated Southern California home were as striking as they were stunning.

Yet, impressive as it was, somethinwas lacking. The all-white exterior and interior walls and floors exuded polish, but no pizazz.

When a Tampa couple decided to make the hillside house their personal California getaway, the first order of business was to introduce color. Not just any color, but lots of color and in lots of ways.

“I kept a lot of the white, but I knew that I wanted it to be bright,” said Nikki DeBartolo, a Tampa-based businesswoman who shares the Benedict Canyon home with her husband, Chad Chronister, and son, Asher. “Los Angeles is a happy place for me, so I knew that I wanted our house to reflect that. The more color, the better.

With the help of interior designer Enrique Crespo, who also collaborated with DeBartolo on her South Tampa residence, Crespo brought bold, brilliant and beautiful touches ranging from patterned wall treatments and commissioned art installations, to custom-made rugs and designer drapes and dramatically transformed the 6,000-square-foot home.

“Enrique makes every aspect of working on a house so much fun and his eye for detail is incredible,” said DeBartolo. “I could never do it without him.”

The living areas encompassing two stories now emit a much more vibrant and vivacious vibe.

“When we set out to find the perfect place I wanted it to be the opposite of what I had in Tampa. So I was gravitating to anything modern,” DeBartolo explained. “I wanted it to be bright. I thought that was more fitting for the type of house that it is. I don’t do well with monochromatic. I definitely did not want this house to be boring.”

A strategically placed free-floating bar separates the dining and living rooms. Its location is static, but not its appearance. Decorative pink, orange and yellow tiles forming the backdrop for the stylish piece appear to change color, based on the angle from which they are viewed.

“It is a big room, but I wanted to keep it very light so I used glass and designed the acrylic cubes and kept the front of the bar white, so that it would blend in with the rest of the room,” explained Crespo. “When you look at the area you don’t feel cramped.”

While some of the home’s original white surfaces remain intact, entire walls within some rooms became canvases for color. Multi-colored rugs made the terrazzo floors more of a focal point. And ceilings became showplaces for fabulous light fixtures and large, three-dimensional works of art.

Still, color alone could not complete the makeover of this ultra-modern space.

“The house was very square and angular and I wanted to introduce some curved elements,” Crespo said. “In the living room Missoni sheer drapes go all the way around the room and, from there, I built off of them.” The look is rounded out by a circular rug and curved couch prominently placed beneath a circular chandelier.

The floor plan provided the family with the space they needed for their lifestyle, but also easily accommodates visitors staying at the L.A. area residence. With five bedrooms and 5 1/2 baths, guests are welcome, particularly close friends and family. That is, when it is not being used as a private retreat for Nikki, her husband and son.

Keeping the overall look and feel casual and comfortable and creating a home that reflects their personalities, was another design consideration.

“In the family room there is a huge painting by (artist) Mr. Brainwash called ‘NOT GUILTY.’ It is of a policeman and a young boy. I had this painting made larger for this space because it reminded me of my husband, who is the sheriff of Hillsborough County, and my son,” DeBartolo added.     M



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