Open House: Style and Panache in Shades of Gray
By Jacqueline Gonzalez
By: Jacqueline Gonzales Photos: Jason Page
If gray is your favorite color, how do you decorate without winding up with a drab, dreary living space? Blake and Monica Braslau have found the perfect balance for their gorgeous home in the historic Lamar Park neighborhood. Their choice of various gray hues paired with black and white accents dazzle in their spacious, well-lit residence.
Soon to be empty nesters, the Braslaus wanted to downsize to a smaller home; however, they didn’t want just any house. They longed for a house they could remodel, one they couldn’t resist. After two years of searching, they happened upon the ideal home in a thriving neighborhood with a strong sense of community.
Like all power couples, Blake and Monica worked in tandem on their home. While Blake worked with their contractor, Jamie Dow of Vertical Ventures, on the overall structure and layout of the house, Monica focused on aesthetics and décor. With her trusty Pinterest board, she discovered a multitude of designs that embodied her vision for their new home.
The Braslaus focused on maximizing space with an open floor plan, while still maintaining privacy between rooms. “We really didn’t change much in the house,” says Blake. “Instead, we got rid of the dead space.” With this design concept in mind, they transformed unused space into functional rooms.
The no-frills approach to decorating the living room is modern and minimal, while maintaining an air of sophistication. The furniture and ample lighting make the area comfortable, but the real eye candy is a floor to ceiling tile display complete with a television mount and a fireplace with a cutting-edge design. The high quality, modern, linear look of the fireplace is perfect for a newly renovated home.
The Braslaus removed a wall between the living and family rooms to create a new, open gathering place. Monica also tweaked the floor plan to convert the master bedroom into a master bathroom with a cozy and conveniently located mini gym. The original dining room became the new master bedroom. In addition, the couple expanded a small closet into a spacious, well-organized, walk-in closet.
Family photos adorn every wall in the hallways leading toward the bedrooms. Monica calls the display “The Wall of Fame.” Monica had a similar gallery in her previous home, but the frames were in different colors, shapes, and sizes. This time, she purchased multiples of the same frame to achieve a more cohesive design. Creativity and decor are still at the forefront with each frame hung either vertically or horizontally. The gray walls act as a stage on which the precious black-framed family memories perform.
An impressive kitchen serves as the heart of the home. The Braslaus love people, cooking, and eating; so, they wanted a kitchen where they could chat while preparing meals. Monica enlisted the help of her nephew, Sam Ferris of Tukasa, to find a backsplash with a wow factor. Much to her delight, he came up with a geometric print in a soft gray with white accents, providing a contemporary touch to the professional grade kitchen. White counters and cabinets keep the space feeling fresh, and the island, also created by Jamie Dow, is complete with a small fridge for beverages, a compact trash bin, a pullout microwave drawer, and a hidden compartment holding a table for a standing mixer. All the kitchen features add up to an excellent culinary entertainment center that beckons guests in for dinner.
A “spool,” otherwise known as a “spa pool” sits front and center in an adequately sized backyard. With a variety of seating options and vintage style Edison bulbs hung from the custom-built pergola, this intimate and cozy space is perfect for outdoor entertaining.
Monica also sprinkles uplifting, spiritual touches throughout her home. Her message board, located near the kitchen and easily visible to guests, is the most prominent piece. These decorative and inspirational additions make the Braslaus’ home truly welcoming and comfortable.