Interiors by John Chadwick

Residential Gallery
Lobbies & Corridors
How We Work
Commercial Gallery
Current Projects
Project History
Designer's History

Rhythms of Tuscany

By M.J. Van Deventer


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 Etruscan countryside.

"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 created.

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 wrought-iron balcony.

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 room.

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 construction.

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 concentrate.


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

• House Porn Wednesday •
• Mixing patterns is easier than you think in decor •
• Refreshing Green •
• Contemporary Jewel •
• A Tropical Paradise in Quail Creek •
• Rhythms of Tuscany •
• New Flatiron Style •
• From the Bible Belt to the Big Apple •
• Design Focus: John Chadwick •
• Studio Style •
• What's Ours is Yours •
• The Designer's Oklahoma Residence •


Home | Residential Gallery | Lobbies & Corridors | How We Work | Elevators | Commercial Gallery | Current Projects | References | Project History | Designer's History | Publications | Search
Copyright 2015 All Rights Reserved

Interiors by John Chadwick

Revised: October 16, 2015
Web Design:  Keith Reding Designs, Inc.
Seven Park Avenue
Suite 14D

New York. New York 10016