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When you’re a normal person and you’re renovating your house, you get overwhelmed, drink too much, pass out in a corner and wake up covered in paint chips. But when you’re architect Lou Simmons and you’re renovating your house, you settle in and get to work. Preferably at a desk you designed and built because, again, architect.
When Simmons sat down to draw out plans for his tear-out-the-guts-for-all-the-glory design, he put a lot of thought into it — obviously, it’s kind of his job. But there’s way more to Simmons’ design than torn-down walls, detached garages and new locations for the front door. There are thoughtful details that us mere mortals would never have thought about. Things like placing the light switches at waist level and tucking the outlets neatly into the baseboards to remove them from the line of sight. Or using materials in different ways, like the gray rubber-lined shower walls. It makes perfect sense because rubber can handle water like it’s nobody’s business, but when was the last time you saw something like that? Or using two separate tables as desks and then pushing them together to form a gigantic dining room table when Simmons and his wife, Lynn Bossange, entertain. Simmons designed and built one of those desks from a salvaged piece of Parklex because of course he did. And what the hell is Parklex, you ask? It’s made of 100% natural wood and treated so it’s water resistant and virtually indestructible. When you’re in the business, you get to know these things.
And while all of these details are incredible, they didn’t make the final list. Seriously. This house is so loaded with ideas, handmade furniture didn’t make the cut, but some pretty freaking fab stuff did. So, pull up a chair that doubles as an ironing board and read on.
There are tons of windows in the house to let in light and a little of the outdoors – at least it feels that way. The backyard is super green and loaded with trees and shrubs so it’s a pretty sweet little view.
Simmons custom built all the horizontal windows in the house. (The verticals were purchased and open out like a door.) Each window is placed in a way that people on the inside can see out, but people on the outside can’t see in. Well, they can, they’re not made of lead, but the idea is with the raised foundation, the windows are at a height where the only thing people will see is a series of floating heads.
Simmons wanted the living room wall lined with bookcases. When he came across Rakks, a modular shelving system, he knew that was it. He’s used Rakks in several previous jobs and recently purchased a set of his own. They’re perfect for displaying art and books and changing the layout every once in a while.
The Counter Addition in the Kitchen
The food prep and coffee counter is the latest addition to the kitchen. Simmons didn’t make it from scratch, but you know he modified the hell out of it. He hung the cabinet at waist height and swapped out the legs for something slightly taller. Ergonomics, fools. Get into it.
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You would never, ever, ever guess it, but the wood floors are original. BUT HOW? Simmons striped and sanded them, then applied a mixture of steel wool and vinegar. The vinegar reacts to the tannins in the oak and darkens the wood. Since there are varying levels of tannins in each piece of wood, no two boards are alike. The variation adds interest and creates a wood floor that’s the exact opposite of HGTV-generic.
These two don’t collect possessions for giggles. Everything they own was very carefully considered and totally comes with a story, or at least a trick or two. The wood and felt egg side table is from French designer Metylos, and the pinstack legs are removable for easy packing. They also love their Gus modern couch. Obviously, because it cradles their butts, but what Bossange really loves is that by purchasing it, they got to know the shop owner and discovered he had an art gallery next door. These two. Always keepin’ it personal.