Designers Jessica Bennett and Suzanne Hall recast a rustic Highland home as a luxurious retreat.
By Jessica Adams, Photos by Nicole Hill Gerulat
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A Thomas O’Brien rug anchors the great room’s muted sitting area. A canvas from Pryor Fine Art visually softens the rugged stone fireplace wall.

When an interior designer and a homeowner meet for the first time, their conversation often covers a laundry list of must-haves and talk of personal style. Throw in a few inspirational photos and the design project is good to go. It’s not often, however, that a client presents her preferences through a meticulously prepared PowerPoint, but when she is an executive software engineer, that scenario doesn’t come as a surprise.

This Highland home is a serene, clutter-free retreat providing a reprieve from its owner’s logic-based occupation. Suited for the jet-setting fashionista, the interior is peppered with personal effects of Hermès scarves and Valentino pumps, reflecting its lived-in luxury. While working with this client, designers Jessica Bennett and Suzanne Hall of Alice Lane Home Collection strove to cultivate the home’s cocoon-like, comforting ambiance.

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Branches of cherry blossoms add a pop of pink and freshness to the subtly-toned living room.

She didn’t want anything too exact because she deals with that all day long,” Bennett says. “Understanding who she was as a person made it easy to work with the house.”

The home boasts a fresh, clean-lined interior, warmed with a neutral color palette, perfect for its always-on-the-go owner. In the main living areas, Bennett and Hall incorporated natural elements using living plants and framed crystals. The owner’s collection of paintings and sculptures from all around the world are prominently displayed nodding to her love of travel while enriching the décor.

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The master bedroom features a spectacular custom plasterwork mural by artist Tyler Huntzinger. 

In order to further personalize each space, Bennett and Hall called in local visual artist and designer Tyler Huntzinger, best known for his inspiring plasterwork. Among his memorable creations is a ceiling detailed with 3-D chrysanthemums mimicking artwork originally drawn by the owner’s late grandfather.

Huntzinger presented his interpretation of the drawing to the homeowner as a reminder that her grandfather is always watching over her. Bennett and Hall completed the celestial effect with a chandelier that appears to cascade from the plaster foliage, replacing what was once rugged beams.

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A striking gold ceiling detail and delicate glass pendant foster the master suite’s luxurious style.

“When we first came to this house, it was heavy with rustic detail, featuring  dark, hammered beams extending across the ceiling,” Hall points out. “It threw your eye so you didn’t know where to focus, and it felt nervous.” The team removed the beams, dropped the ceiling and floated a large circle that diffuses the ceiling’s harsh angles, relaxes the room and showcases Huntzinger’s artistry.

Below, a large painted canvas rests above the fireplace and serves as the great room’s finishing touch. It not only tones down the rustic feel of the original rock, but also adds an ethereal aura to the room. “It looks like heaven ruffled its feathers,” Hall says. “When I first saw it, that’s what came to mind and I thought it was absolutely perfect.”

The kitchen is another flawless representation of function meets fashion with impeccable Calacatta Marble countertops and sophisticated dove gray backsplash. Embroidered white linen roman shades give the room texture and delicate luxury, and pendant fixtures above the island and dining table perform as jewels that polish it all off.

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A fresh, uncluttered kitchen features Calacatta marble countertops, understated backsplash, luxurious window treatments and simple pendant lights over the island.

The master suite features more of Huntzinger’s spectacular plasterwork brought to life with a large mural that spans each wall and creates the look and serenity of a muted woodland. The room’s adjoining sitting area is similarly cozy and charming. Near the window, a crisp white daybed is dressed with lush pillows and flanked by a tailored armchair, an unspoken invitation to settle in and stay awhile.

“When I walk in after a long day or a long trip, it is a sanctuary, and it is a very beautiful, calming space without being boring,” the owner says. “It’s functional and it reflects aspects of my travels. I love that Alice Lane provided a canvas for that.”

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A cozy sitting area, complete with a daybed and tailored chair, offers an unspoken invitation to sit and relax.

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