Kelle Contine Interior Design Brings Strong Creative Vision to Tarrytown Build
Bold colors and natural elements come together in the house designed by Principal in Charge Kelle Contine and Lead Designer Nicki Perez
By Bryan C. Parker
Photos by Chase Daniel
Designing for a speculative homeowner requires a bold vision and a subtle touch. Such was the demand of firm Kelle Contine Interior Design for a new construction in Tarrytown in collaboration with architects Hugh Jefferson Randolph and builders Capital Construction.
With Contine serving as Principal in Charge and Nicki Pérez working as the Lead Designer, the pair relied on the longevity of their experience together to develop a cohesive color scheme, design concept and material palette for the property. Contine has 20 years of experience in design and founded her own firm in 2011. Meanwhile Pérez has more than 11 years of working as a designer, almost a decade of which she has managed projects for Contine.
“Our team was challenged to design a home with a strong creative vision while also dancing delicately with restraint so as to not push boundaries too far,” Pérez says. After the pair solidified a plan to emphasize rich jewel tones, lighter shades of natural wood and a modern aesthetic with art deco flourishes, Pérez took the helm to fine tune the design and take the project to completion.
“The home is situated in the heart of one of the most architecturally dynamic neighborhoods in Austin — Tarrytown,” explains Pérez. “We were driven by the concept of old meets new with a nod to modernity.” The team took risks, but moved cautiously enough to avoid anything feeling ostentatious or gauche. Nothing feels safe, yet everything is refined.
Early on in the process, the team knew they wanted to extend the home’s exterior brick to interior spaces, which provided a grounding, natural element as a foundation. Varying between sandy brown and limestone white, the Old Chicago brick allows an occasional charcoal hue to emerge. The lighter shades are echoed in the soft wood hues of flooring and ceiling beams in the residence’s open-concept living and dining area. The darker shades are mirrored by window frames and matte black finishes on lighting fixtures or bathroom hardware.
Exposed brick comprises the long wall that leads from the entry into the residence’s living room, culminating in a focal point with the hearth. To offset the brick’s neutral tones, the home reveals bold paint selections and a variety of vibrant tiles throughout the interior.
“We have long admired the deeply saturated hues that come from gemstones and loved that the coloring of jewels are not exclusive to one specific design style, but are more multifaceted, with flexibility that fits into many settings,” says Pérez.
One of the home’s most alluring elements, the wet bar adjacent to the dining room, features a particularly stunning sapphire blue mosaic tile laid in a chevron pattern that suggests the glamor of 1920s decor. In the ceiling near the dining table, a skylight invites soft, natural light into the room without sacrificing the intimacy of a private dinner.
The kitchen cabinetry shines with a gorgeous, deep blue paint and balances the subtlety of the backsplash tile. Contrasting with the saturated blue and the dark steel of the contemporary range hood, the solid white tile’s textured geometric lines provide a thoughtful detail without distracting from the drama of the space’s color or complicating the room’s minimalist approach.
The powder bathroom at the fore of the residence shows off with a striking jade green square tile paired with sage green wallpaper with a fish scale pattern. Brass sconces with translucent glass complete the room. Outside the powder room a steel pocket door painted emerald green reveals a cozy study with built-in bookshelves. A marble and brass cocktail table and two navy velvet armchairs sit in front of an accent wall featuring a bold wallpaper with an ornate pattern.
Despite the incorporation of art deco elements in patterns and accents, Contine and Pérez made sure not to marry the design strictly to one period, even as it maintains a unified and classic feel. The aesthetic reaches out and gently touches a variety of design eras, allowing them to coexist without becoming mired in one mode or falling into an inharmonious sampling of styles. Contine and Pérez’s design for this Tarrytown gem manages to provoke thought with small surprises that yield the sensation of discovering something sophisticated and exquisite.