“We had lived in an open floor plan before, and it wasn’t for us,” the wife continues, so Pennoyer responded with an enfilade that spans the ground floor, and a promenade that “creates this experience of walking from room to room that’s really special.” At the top of the main staircase, for instance, there’s a bridgelike hall overlooking the double-height living room. “It’s that getting from the front door to your bedroom door or your children’s where you exploit the various vantage points.”
Having the architect and designer in place from the beginning also allowed for creative cross-pollination. “We worked very closely with Miles and David [Kaihoi, his business partner] to set it up for their decoration,” says Pennoyer. Amazingly, it was also the first time he and Redd had worked together. “To me it was such a logical pairing,” says the client. “Peter’s proportions allow Miles’s decorating to shine, and Miles’s colors highlight Peter’s architecture.”
In the living room, Redd Kaihoi tempered the 20-foot coffered ceiling with glossy taxicab-yellow walls to “make the space more playful.” Mossy velvet sofas wrap the walls, and tall potted palm trees evoke what Redd calls “an Edwardian-conservatory feel—you need height.” No small task when it came to filling the wall space. “You have to hang things so it doesn’t feel empty and bare,” Redd explains, “but if you only do pictures it can get pricey. Blue-and-white jars on brackets created relief and dimension without breaking the budget.”
Having the benefit of “a very focused three years of shopping the auctions,” notes Kaihoi, served them well. “We could afford to be patient and wait for the right things to come along,” the wife adds. Among those was a series of eight-foot-tall 1920s polychrome panels that were plucked from a Dorothy Draper project in Dallas and placed in the entrance hall. “That was our hallway moment,” Kaihoi says, adding that the brilliant blue paint chosen for the chinoiserie staircase followed from there. As for the limestone-look block wall covering that wraps the space, Redd says, “We thought that real limestone would feel too embassy-esque.”
Evocative wallpapers set the scene throughout. The de Gournay Indian sequence in the formal dining room is a wink to Nancy Lancaster’s famous Tobacco Bedroom, while the red-and-white family room, with a canopied bar, echoes red-accented interiors at the Duke and Duchess of Windsor’s country house. “It was about making a fantasy room that still works with the formality of the rest of the house,” says Redd.
That kind of gallant irreverence was exactly what attracted the clients to Redd Kaihoi in the first place, says the wife. “We have a ton of antiques, but it doesn’t feel like we’re living in an old English manor. I feel like they got us. I remember saying when we first interviewed Miles that I have all these disparate visions of what I like in my head, and I need someone to get in there and make it all feel cohesive. He did that. He almost knows us better than we know ourselves in that sense.”
Of course, not everything could have been predicted. The pandemic that set in shortly after the home was completed means entertaining has been on hold, though the couple happily report that each room is used and enjoyed. “It’s a testament to how inviting the decor is,” says the wife. “Whenever I can’t find our daughter, she’s in that two-story living room curled up in the corner of a sofa reading or on her iPad. The room I thought would be the most intimidating is the one
she gravitates toward.”