The Lighter Side of Spanish Revival
Forget popular notions of Spanish Revival design—heavy brocades, thick tapestries and dark furniture. This Cherry Hills Village home, designed by Mikhail Dantes, owner of D&D Interiors and TOWN furniture showroom, puts a modern spin on the centuries-old style.
CH&L: What was the genesis of this project?
Mikhail Dantes: The clients called and said they had a floor plan for the great room of a home they were going to build—a 23,000-square-foot Spanish Revival residence—and they wanted a detailed furniture plan showing how I would use the space. They’d shared the request with a few other designers, so it was a competition of sorts. I’d never worked with this style before but I knew they wanted an intimate feel for a room dominated by a floor-to-ceiling stone fireplace and grand stone columns. I got the job, and when the project was completed two years later, the great room was almost exactly how I’d originally envisioned it.
Tell us how the grand Spanish Revival architecture influenced your design decisions.
I did not try to create a period house, but rather a design that tastefully reflects the architecture. I had to do my homework. I studied the houses of Palm Beach architect Addison Mizner and looked at books about the vernacular. I shopped in Los Angeles because the style is prevalent there.
The great room is very spacious and yet the furnishings don’t seem to get lost. What’s your secret?
When people see a room with high ceilings, they expect oversized furniture to fill the negative space. I did use a few big pieces, but overall I found furniture that comes to eye level, which brings the intimacy down to a human scale. With high ceilings, you also need to fill the space overhead, but without pulling the eye upward unnaturally. The unadorned fireplace and two large but simple iron chandeliers draw the eye up, but with ease. You don’t want the furnishings hanging above you to be distracting.
How did you create a palette that is neutral but not ho-hum?
If you’re going to use neutrals, you must make sure that there’s plenty of texture and detail to keep everything from blending together. Here, the entry floor is pitted stone and the wood floor in the great room is distressed and laid in a herringbone pattern. The furniture is covered in silk, linen and leather, and the pieces have wonderful details—each could stand on its own.
Even though all good designers cater to the client, each leaves a signature touch behind. What is yours?
Whatever the style is, I frame it with a modern sensibility. In this house I kept the lines of the furniture clean and not clunky. There’s very little clutter and certainly no tapestries or brocades. Every detail is elegant in its own right so the focus is on luxurious fabrics and high-quality pieces—not massive blocks of furniture and heavy wall coverings. The interior design is simply a reflection of the clean architecture.
Mikhail Dantes, D&D Interiors
Jeff Barnett, J.K. Barnett, Ltd.