Shenendoah

FD

October 12, 2014

Making Magic
Gonzalo Bueno conjures a modern jewel box for one of the toughest types of clients: a good friend

Yes, the Bluffview Estates house opens to exposed white brick inside and ebonized black walls, dark hardwoods and seating in subtle beiges, rippling grays and grounded espressos — but as its cool, serene core, the place is on fire. Perhaps the warmth come from the homage to the earth’s geologic treasures — take for example the amethyst lamps and drawer pulls. Or maybe it’s from the textured, clay-feather ceremonial shield by a Mexican artist, framed and mounted above the sofa. Or is it the sultry Sophia Loren print-on-canvas that commands a stylish sitting area? It’s really all of the above, and at the center of it all are vivacious owner Meredith Musselman, 29 — daughter of the late Shelly Musselman of Forty Five Ten and curator of her style legacy — and interior designer Gonzalo Bueno, of Ten Plus Three, who is a close friend of the Musselman family.

In this house, art is fashion is design is people. And while Musselman and Bueno are both dead serous about aesthetics, neither puts looking good over good living. Bueno remembers the program: “She told me, ‘Gonzalo, I want my house to be beautiful. I want to walk in and be blown away. I also want to live my life here and be able to entertain my friends all over the house.” Hence, there is a television in the living room (disguised by a handsome, silver-framed, two way mirror when no in use) and a movie projector with a 110-inch screen in the upstairs media room. There is a wall of Coliform bookcases stuffed with mementos — from Black Sabbath vinyl to Musselman’s Duke University diploma — that shares real estate with a roomy custom sectional in cotton tweed and a to-die-for portable leather bar from Promemoria. “The movie room really epitomizes how I wanted the house to feel,” Musselman says. “I love that you can walk in, peruse the books in the library, grab a favorite and curl up on the couch with a glass of wine.

Musselman bought the house in 2011, and while she loved the modern lines of the structure, built on a long, narrow lot typical of many of the neighborhoods’s homes, she knew she wanted dot soften it up. “I’ve always felt that the one major drawback to modern homes is the tendency for them to feel cold and uninviting, so when approaching the interior design of my home, I made a point to combat that wherever I could. While we still used ultramodern piece, we made sure to incorporate color and texture through wall covering, rugs, accessories and throws to add life and movements.” (Musselman knows what’ what.) In the living room, for example, on sees purple sparkles in the amethyst lamps and glass fireplace stones. A duo of Shell chairs by Donghia, in the warmly inviting shade of sienna rose, anchors the northeast corner of the living room. Upstairs, lime green pillows pop against the deep-charcoal sofa in the movie room. Outside, Bonick Landscaping created a raised-level limestone saltwater pool; Sutherland Teak furnishings, with cushions by Perennials, extend the dual themes of warmth and sophistication. A downstairs master suite opens privately to the outdoors. The house, as a composition, is 4,646 square feet of soft modern, full of Bueno’s signature looks: this ebonized walls and dark wood floors, textured wall coverings, contrasting colors, bronze accents and lots of curtains. “She has an eye for fashion and appreciates beautiful things,” Bueno says of his client and dear friend. “It’s an exotic place with a lot of character.”

Although there are touches of Bueno’s have and heart throughout the house, he focused most on the living room, dining room, office, media room and upstairs master bedroom and closet. The 60-foot-closet, subject of its own story in FD’s September issue, was created from Jack and Jill style bedroom suite with a bath. It runs most of the length of the second floor, with natural light from the original bedroom windows, a custom vanity, freestanding islands for clutches, jewelry and accessories and mom Shelly’s museum-quality fashion collection. The closet, not surprisingly, occupies a soft spot for this simpatico pair of fashion devotees — and it is a hard room for Musselman to leave. The house’s vivacious owner has just moved to Aspen to follow her heart. In August, she said yes to Colter Smith, an Aspen native, real-estate broker and development-company owner. “We recently bought a house in the West End and are currently in the process of remodeling it,” Musselman says, “It is a big project, and I have my hands full, so that has become my full-time job.” One more thing: “I am now about to start the process of planning our wedding. I’ve got plenty on my plate at the moment.”

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