“Incongruous” can feel so confusing. “Confusing” can feel so unpleasant.
Lots of other ill-at-ease adjectives arose – gamely, but futilely – in trying to define this 1920s Broadmoor home (previously a sad casualty of failed stucco, random additions and mushroom-overrun windowsills) before Clifford Bunch and husband, David Pritchard, remodeled it with architect Tyler Engle.
“Nobody could really identify what it was,” says Bunch.
“It was loosely termed ‘Mediterranean,’” says Engle. “The house was extremely eclectic.” (“I would use ‘funky,’” adds Bunch.)
“It wasn’t ugly, just inconsistent. There had been some interesting interior remodels; one toilet was at 45 degrees,” Engle says. “I love eclecticism, but we talked about giving it some order.”
This was a major overhaul. All-new, all-happy adjectives are now in order – starting with “orderly.” And “lovely.” Really lovely.
“Reconfigured circulation, enhanced functionality and a wholly new interior were the result of a substantial remodel where most of the upper floor and roof were strategically removed,” Engle says. “We got into it and knew we’d substantially change the roof. After studying the rooflines, we were able to modify the volume of the house and simplify it. The house has five gables and one major ridgeline; it’s very clean and simplified. The intent was to make it simple. Cliff calls it ‘casually elegant.’ “
Bunch is an interior designer. Trust him.
He and David moved to this gracious, storied community from Washington Park. They strolled into this backyard –along two rolling golf-course fairways, abutting the abundant greens and trees of Washington Park Arboretum – and knew. “It was afternoon, and there was light, open air and sky. This was the spot,” Bunch says.
Like the highly in-the-know clients they were, they had clipped and collected “hundreds of images” of Shingle Style homes to show Engle. “He said, ‘Yep,’ “ Bunch says.
“It just fit,” Engle says. “We took that and made the elements very similar. It’s like going to a barber and saying, ‘Make me look like Brad Pitt.’ It’s still a process to work on this site in this context. The whole point was to focus on the Shingle Style as classic – especially how it fits in this neighborhood, with scale and proportion. We pushed the Shingle Style into almost Shaker: more regular. The massing and volume are also simple. The form of the home can be pure.”
Structural transformations followed suit. The new master bedroom, pushed out under one of those defining gables, replaced a large deck that had been swallowed by shade, and then, “The rest of the house morphed with it,” Engle says. A new guest room and powder room were added upstairs (“The formula in this neighborhood is four bedrooms up,” Bunch says). The new mudroom “is an important functional piece because of their dog,” says Engle (Bunch calls Ned the dog “a big mix” often mistaken for a Doodle). And the often-employed (and -enjoyed) dining room expanded substantially, bumping out to create a roomy office for David above.
“It was almost like corrective surgery. We reconfigured all these rooms for improved circulation for how they entertain,” Engle says. “Everything pushed and pulled and fell into place.”
This is a consummately corrected place of unexpectedly fresh, bright, brilliant color (eggplant purple in the dining room, with a rich harvest-gold ceiling; Pompeii Blue in the entry; browns in one guest room and pinks in the other, for Bunch’s niece); carefully curated furniture and vignettes; and an amazing array of meaningful art.
Once tough to peg, this newly cohesive collaboration of talent and perspective is now distinguished by its timeless, enduring traditional design – and a whole new set of appreciative adjectives. Including: “not quite finished.”
“I really enjoy having a project, especially when it’s my own,” Bunch says. “We’re 95% done. It’s like reading a good book – you don’t want it to end.”