Gaillardia or Portofino? This carefully detailed
exterior would be equally at home in either locale, bringing the plains
of Italy to the lawns of OKC.
When John Chadwick, a former Oklahoma
City designer now working in New York, inherited a design project from
architect Bruce Faudree, he immediately envisioned an Old World Italian
villa that would look as at home in Gaillardia as it might in the
"I saw it from the ground up," Chadwick
said during an interview in the home of Johnny and Kathryn Walker.
"I had helped Mr. Walker design his commercial construction offices and
was delighted when he asked me to work on their new Gaillardia home."
Chadwick helped design the home but Johnny contributed a broad knowledge
of design, so the result is a collaborative effort.
Chadwick's meticulous attention to unobtrusive detail is
evident in every room of the large two-story mansion and extends
outdoors to the patio and pool. This is a home that whispers
subdued and subtle modern elegance. On first viewing, it takes
some time and a searching eye to see the quiet design drama Chadwick has
The design style is sleek contemporary.
"It's chic and modern," Chadwick says. "We were going for
glamour." In this home, it is understated glamour at its best.
A principal focus in the design is the
repetitive use of arches. Chadwick used them in hallways, in
niches inset in the the walls at appropriate and eye-catching spaces, in
fireplace and furniture motifs. The arches are graceful and lend a
delicate sense of rhythm and movement without being overpowering.
Cool but not austere, warm but not over-the-top,
this lavish living room is a design masterpiece. Its sun-ripe
colors and crisp accent tones are smoothly framed an complemented by the
home's ubiquitous arches, and surmounted by a surprisingly delicate
Chadwick introduces the arch in the formal entryway with four
rounded niches, each displaying jade Italian pottery cache pots
decorated with miniature cypress trees reminiscent of the Tuscan
countryside. Here he also introduces the tri-color marble used for
the entry and long hallway flooring. The centerpiece of the floor
is butter yellow Jerusalem tile, framed by a border of red rojo
alicante and green Houlian jade. The effect is exquisite,
setting the tone for the quiet, upscale elegance to be found in every
The formal living room, one of Kathryn's favorite rooms,
combines all the rich colors of the Tuscan landscape. The palette
is used tastefully throughout the home in such a way that no one would
ever tire of it, although the painters did comment to Kathryn, "You
really are committed to this color scheme, aren't you?"
She laughed and replied, "Committed indeed." The base is a soft
Tuscan yellow gold, accented by a warm terra cotta and a soft blue
green that borders on sage -- colors inspired by the sun-baked chalky
tile of Italy.
Chadwick has used the colors in different ways in every room but the
overall effect is one of strategically planned design unity. "The
painters did a magnificent job of finishing the walls," Chadwick notes.
To the casual touch, they are as smooth as glass.
The soft gray limestone mantel anchors the room, accented by an
arched mirror that reflects the second story balcony and its exquisite
wrought iron Chadwick-designed railing. The same motif is echoed
throughout the home in windows, doors and patio furniture.
Concave ceilings highlight the three main entertaining areas -- the
formal living room, library and dining room. In these areas, the
ceilings are 22 feet high, cresting in the center at 30 feet.
The draperies in the living room accent the arch of the windows, and
repeat the color scheme of the home in layered stripes.
In the cozy library, Chadwick designed
a series of arched bookcases -- three flanking the fireplace and two in
each corner of the small, inviting room. The wood is a russet
tone, with a darker stain for accent. Even the fireplace surround
repeats the arch motif. A grand piano complements the bookcases
and contrasts with the brown leather walls and the soft wood tone of the
herringbone patterned floor, which is repeated in the formal dining
room, just across the entryway from the library.
A barrel vaulted ceiling, covered in
exquisite gold leaf, draws the eye upward in the dining room. A
starburst pattern accents the top of the exotic mahogany dining table,
and visitors should peek under the table to see its unique base
Arches reappear in the library's custom
bookcases and beautifully inlaid fireplace. Plenty of natural light
relieves the somberness of the dark wood, leaving a perfect place to
Meals in splendor in the glossy dining area.
Chadwick designed the buffet,
upholstered the walls in a beautiful Fortuny fabric in the home's color
family, found whisky-colored leather chairs, designed the drapery sheers
to complement the gold leaf ceiling and imported a Murano glass
chandelier from Italy to light the center of the dining table. The
effect is dazzling and with tiny pin lights twinkling in the ceiling,
Chadwick says it is a magical setting for formal dining.
Two series of doors, one leading to the
entry, another to the long hallway, are accented with panes of mercury
glass -- new, but designed to look vintage. Closing the doors
creates an Old World intimate setting for dining. Chadwick says,
"It's like dining under a midnight Italian sky."
Dazzlingly cheerful colored tiles grab attention in
the huge and inviting kitchen
The home's kitchen is a 600-square foot
entertainment center for the family. Kathryn says , "It's where
everyone gathers." With a breakfast view, a very functional
kitchen, a comfortable seating area and a view of the outdoor kitchen,
pool and patio, with its furniture that continues the color scheme, this
has to be one of the favorite places for the family. Of special
note in the kitchen and butler's pantry is the patchwork of colorful
tiles reflecting the darker hues of the Italian countryside.
For design drama, with a hint of tasteful sexiness, the master suite
is a restful oasis of relaxation. The large space is divided by a
double center fireplace, an elegant room divider between the intimate
master bedroom and a sitting area. The ceiling is painted the blue
green color of the home's palette. Four Egyptian stone paintings
are art accents in the room, tying in with the Egyptian-style wallpaper
featured in the master bath. Chadwick calls the Walkers' taste in
art "catholic," because they enjoy a variety of styles.
In the master
suite, flat screen televisions accents both spaces. The
furnishings are spare and modern and the bed feathers a leather
headboard, trimmed in walnut. The suite opens to a spacious master
closet and a bath that leads to a private outdoor patio.
The master bedroom's relative lack of objets
d'art only emphasizes its rich furnishings, like this marvelous leather
and walnut headboard.
Wallpaper with an Egyptian motif enhances the
feeling of unusual decadence echoed by
the open bath.
Sleek fixtures in a deliciously cool bathroom.
The home is truly a place where this
family, which includes daughter Clara, and precious toy poodles Angle
and Little Bear, feels comfortably at home and they love to share the
beauty with their friends. "We have cookouts every weekend in the
summer," Kathryn says.
For Chadwick, the design project has
been a delightful experience. He has loved working with the
Walkers to bring their dream home to fruition. Perhaps even more
important, when Chadwick is presented with a project of the scale and
magnitude of the Walkers' home, he immerses himself in the theme, style
and design culture of the home. "I have a whole library now of
Italian design," he laughs. ◙
Herculean design effort has paid off handsomely for
this breathtaking Northwest home .