“There was only one thing we couldn’t use from the bachelor pad in here,” Patrick Sutton says, standing in the foyer of this Guilford home. “That was a chaise designed by Maya Lin, covered in pony skin.” But Sutton has spoken too soon, as is revealed when he stumbles upon Lin’s “Peace Chaise” in what used to be a servant’s room in the 1916 Mediterranean-style home. “I take it back,” he says. “We did use every piece of furniture.”
In 1999, Sutton, an architect and designer, designed “a very modern bachelor pad up in the sky” overlooking the Inner Harbor for the husband of the couple that now owns this house. “The day I placed the last piece of furniture in was the realtor open house for the apartment, because he’d met someone and they wanted to combine their families a la the ‘Brady Bunch,’” says Sutton. The husband has three daughters from a previous marriage; the wife has one.
Other designers might have balked at the prospect of integrating the sleek modern furniture into a traditional Guilford home, but Sutton welcomed the challenge. “I like to combine the old and new, past and present, because I believe that’s how we live,” he says. Besides, he and his employees had hand-selected every item in the apartment— from furniture to linens to silverware— so he had a complete inventory list from which to design floor plans for the Guilford home.
The marriage of contemporary and traditional is perhaps best demonstrated by the home’s spacious central dining room, where Christian Liaigre chairs covered in tan suede, former inhabitants of the bachelor pad, are gathered around a Mediterranean cherry wood table by Emanuel Morez, bought for the room. Heavy curtains in a woven material by Coraggio pick up the colors in the Oriental rug that once covered the floor of the great room in the bachelor apartment. The room is lit by a stunning rock crystal chandelier, while several modern sconces provide auxiliary lighting. On one side of the room, a Marc Chagall print hangs above a French country buffet. With walls painted in a faux bois and a neutral palette with hints of deep red to unify the various pieces, the room is elegantly eclectic.
In the living room, as well, furnishings from several eras and styles co-exist harmoniously, from the antique Louis Philippe walnut commode to the French deco-inspired brown velvet lounge chairs, to the Christian Liaigre coffee table, sofa and console. Two bold works of contemporary art— Roy Lichtenstein’s “Haystacks” and a large canoe painting by Richard Bosman— grab attention while accessories such as a French Gothic cathedral model, a Grecian horse and various pieces of pottery act as bridges between the room’s eras and styles.
In the sunroom, which overlooks a flagstone patio and a sloping shade garden beyond, Sutton added beams to the ceiling to make the long narrow room more cozy, and gauzy wool sheer curtains to the three walls of windows to provide a sense of serenity. The wife of the couple chose the handpainted silk chandeliers by Fortuny, which imbue a Japanese-inspired feeling of calm. That same sunny calmitude exists in the breakfast room at the other end of the house. There the chairs have modern lines to match the Wendell Castle round table, but are covered in an Old World tapestry fabric. Sconces in the corners amplify the light given by a chandelier original to the home and a sisal rug provides a casual, outdoorsy feel.
With its arched ceilings and wrought-iron railings and sconces, the home’s foyer— reached from the street via an enchanting garden path alongside the house— looks like it fits in a classic Hollywood home, says Sutton. There the furnishings— a central table that holds a floral arrangement in an Italian pewter umbrella stand— complement, rather than overshadow, the room’s stunning works of art: a Picasso print hanging at the foot of the stairs and two Thomas Hart Benton drawings on the side wall.
After the extensive renovation and re-decorating, the couple were married in the home, and have thrown several parties there since. Their guests tell them the place is beautiful, blissfully unaware that the furnishings weren’t bought specifically for the house— and that’s the idea.
“We wanted the furniture to look like it belonged,” says Sutton.
Interior design: Patrick Sutton Associates, Baltimore, 410-783-1501
Antiques: Gaines McHale Antiques & Home, Baltimore, 410-625-1900