Photography: Anice Hoachlander

Fine Furnishings + Art: Case Study

Artist's Take: Jonas Carnemark redesigns a home with the owners' vibrant art collection in mind

The owners of a 1960s split-level house were ready to renovate. They hired Jonas Carnemark to upgrade the home’s dated exterior, then turned to the interiors. A main priority: to create a space that would showcase the couple’s extensive modern art collection.

Carnemark and his team began with structural changes that included removing the wall separating the kitchen from the open-plan sitting area to give the cook a view of the outdoors as well as of the artwork displayed across the room. They also replaced one wall with a floating, trapezoid-shaped art wall edged in stainless steel and anchored top and bottom by stainless-steel legs. This wall “allows light to transfer between the rooms while creating a dramatic, two-sided frame for art,” Carnemark says.He and his team provided a clean backdrop for the art on the main floor with white-painted walls and large-format porcelain floor tiles that look like poured concrete in a light gray color. Downstairs, they retained the original wood floors, but added crisp, modern details on both levels such as the stainless-steel staircase and cable rails.

Before positioning the paintings and sculpture, Carnemark and his team completed an art inventory with the clients. “We created a plan for placement and color,” he explains. “We did groupings of paintings and the clients decided which major pieces they wanted to showcase in the public spaces in the house.”

Recessed halogen lights were placed strategically on gimbals that can be ad-justed to illuminate each piece of art.

RENOVATION ARCHITECTURE & INTERIOR DESIGN: JONAS CARNEMARK, CR, CKD, CARNEMARK, Bethesda, Maryland. PHOTOGRAPHY: ANICE HOACHLANDER.

JONAS CARNEMARK’S TRADE SECRETS:

  • When choosing which art should go where, ask yourself what is most important to you—what should be in a private versus a public area of the house.
  • Light each room as if it will have art in it and it will be well lit. Light that bounces off walls gets rid of shadows in corners and reflected light is softer and nicer than direct light. It flatters the room’s occupants.
  • Don’t be afraid of grouping art and creating art walls. You don’t have to center every piece of art. Grouping it can show it off to better advantage.
  • Make a plan that takes into account the colors and shapes of each piece of art with respect to your home. Doing an art inventory was very helpful in this project, so every piece was accounted for.