Home & Design

Gamble detailed the kitchen with quartz countertops, cabinets from Kitchen & Bath Creations and brass accents.

The spacious butler’s pantry plays backup with double ovens and a spare sink and dishwasher. Gamble selected modern basketweave tile by Sampson Mosaic Marble for the backsplash.

Handmade Rustica Natural ceramic tile graces the kitchen backsplash.

Cushy sofas and chairs covered in durable Crypton fabric withstand the rigors of three boys.

A beaded chandelier makes a statement over the Century dining room table.

Large Marvin windows bathe the owners’ suite in natural light. Bernhardt nightstands flank the Vanguard bed.

Designer Stephanie Gamble.

Sporting warm wood tones and board-and-batten walls, the foyer sounds a welcoming note.

Perfect Sync

Stephanie Gamble fashions a stylish yet kid-proof home for a busy Maryland family

A  couple with a bustling orthodontics practice was in the midst of planning a new custom home north of Baltimore when they called designer Stephanie Gamble for help. The parents of three young boys—she is the lead doctor and he manages the business side—needed someone to shepherd them through myriad decisions as their six-bedroom, 5,000-square-foot project took shape.

Gamble joined the team just as builder Danleigh Homes was putting the finishing touches on the modern farmhouse-style plan. She not only guided them through myriad selections—from windows to lighting and tile—but also designed built-ins, millwork and fireplace surrounds.

“My clients were looking for classic comfort—nothing too precious. And with three boys, we knew durability would be key,” Gamble explains. “But having kids doesn’t mean you have to skimp on quality. You can have nice things; you just need to make smart decisions.”

On the following pages, a Q&A with Gamble sheds light on the process.

 

Why hire a designer in the early stages of a custom build?
We catch things that builders don’t. Designers consider factors like where the king-size bed will go and if the island is big enough for the whole family. Whether it’s a small change like flipping a toilet and a vanity or making sure every space is going to accommodate a family’s needs, we come in with a different perspective.

How did you elevate the foyer?
Adding board and batten to the walls made the foyer much more interesting architecturally. And I love the Noir chest we chose. The wood tones are very “farmhouse,” but the style of the piece is modern. And the Visual Comfort chandelier is in keeping with the warm, modern-but-classic feeling we extended throughout the house.

What choices enabled you to marry elegance and durability in the kitchen?
We selected quartz countertops because my client didn’t want to worry about stains. We incorporated durable materials but made sure they have a really lovely appearance. For example, the kitchen stool-backs look like a natural woven fiber, but they’re made of synthetic cord and can be easily wiped down, as can the chairs in the dining room.

How did you warm up the white kitchen?
Beadboard on the ceiling and brushed-brass and gold accents help. We also brought in warmth with the darker stain on the island.

Explain your theory on blending textures.
A mistake people sometimes make when they go with neutrals is not realizing that you need texture. It helps layer a space. In the dining room, the first thing we selected was the chandelier by Made Goods, made of coco beads. The drapery is a modern linen damask by Fabricut. The Dash & Albert rug is wool and the Four Hands chairs have all-weather wicker seats. Adding these varied elements together created a great, welcoming environment.

Why was achieving proper scale in the great room a challenge?
The ceilings in that space are almost 25 feet high. So getting the size of the built-ins right was key. When we first had them drawn out, the clients insisted they were too big. I rarely use the phrase “trust me,” but I knew the room would be off if the built-ins were not tall enough. Once the framing was done, the owners emailed me and said, “You were right; the scale is perfect and it looks great.”

How did you create a luxurious vibe in the primary bedroom?
The owners wanted it to be their sanctuary, a refuge for peace and quiet and a bit of luxury. It also has very high ceilings, so we knew it could easily handle the canopy bed by Vanguard. We chose a rug with a mix of light blues and creams, awesome chairs by Lee Industries and a pouf for them to put their feet on while reading. The cashmere throw and lovely linen drapes were the room’s final touches.

What strategies protect interiors from adventurous little ones?
Focus on performance fabrics such as Crypton that clean well, and pay attention to rub counts. Counts of 50,000 and above are great while 100,000 is pretty much commercial-grade. In homes like this one, we stay away from 100-percent cotton or linen except for the drapes because we wouldn’t expect anyone to dirty them.

What drove your window selection?
We went with black windows from Marvin’s Elevate collection. They’re simple and don’t have too many grids.

Why splurge on lighting?
I always tell clients, especially if they have children, to go all out on lighting. It’s very rare that a child is going to ruin a light fixture—you don’t have to worry about little fingerprints on them. There’s really nothing holding you back.

Discuss why trust is so crucial to a project’s success?
The owners and I were a hundred percent in sync on this project. They listened to advice and understood that when you hire a professional, you should let them do their job. And they wanted to be pushed a little. When there’s such a great, synergistic relationship between client and designer, 75 percent of the work is done.

 

ASK STEPHANIE

NAME YOUR GO-TO SOURCE FOR ACCESSORIES.
Great Finds & Design in Timonium, Maryland, is my favorite spot for unexpected objects like trays, planters and huge baskets. You may discover pieces from the 1940s, the ’70s or something super-current.

SHARE A TREND YOU’VE SPOTTED.
I see a resurgence of dark, moody paint colors. We’re finishing a kitchen in deep hunter green and another client is doing a room in all black. It’s going to be spectacular.

DO YOU HAVE A DESIGN PET PEEVE?
Word-based wall art. I much prefer a gorgeous, abstract piece that brings interest and color into a space.

PRODUCT YOU CAN’T WAIT TO TRY?
I’m intrigued by induction cooking, especially products by Wolf. They seem to offer several advantages along with a clean, sleek look.

WHAT’S A PIECE IN YOUR HOME THAT YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?
An original floral painting by the late artist Alice Pritchard. I cherish the work for its large scale and striking use of color—it will go wherever I do!

Interior Design: Stephanie Gamble, Stephanie Gamble Interiors, Towson, Maryland. Builder: Danleigh Homes, Kingsville, Maryland.

 

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