Text: SHANI SILVER | Photos: Grey Crawford | August, 2015
In searching for a family home to make the commute to her show Melissa & Joey more convenient, Melissa Joan Hart sought the help of interior designer (and friend!) Lonni Paul. The results gave Melissa & family exactly the home they were hoping for! Take the tour and read more from Melissa below!
1. This space is beautiful, we love the color palette you chose. What inspired this redesign?
Mark and I love a project. Mark used to work in construction and knows his way around a power tool. In our 12 years of marriage we have owned 8 homes and Mark and I, with some help from contractors and friends, have done a lot of work on those homes. With my show Melissa & Joey constantly bringing me back to LA we decided to find a great space for our family, but we wanted to make it our own with a redesign. Our good friend Lonni Paul, who happens to be an awesome interior designer, stepped in to help us.
2. What component of this project are you most proud of?
This is our first time giving a home a more modern/ transitional feel. We have always owned Mediterranean or Hacienda style homes with heavy, dark furniture and dark floors and walls with big iron light fixtures. When we moved to Connecticut in 2009, we decided to go with a more traditional style of design and keep the walls white with wainscoting, etc. This new LA home was the perfect place to try out our recent attraction to modern accents with the light fixtures, flooring, and bathrooms. One of my favorite features is the kids bathroom with the awesome colorful Silestone shower and countertop that Lonni custom designed. I also love the faucets and the hands-free toilet, all from Kohler.
3. Any favorite moments or anecdotes from this project that you’d like to share?
We got very excited when we decided to get rid of the bathtub in the master and add a huge shower with multiple shower heads including a rain shower. With the Kohler remote control, we can set our temperature (I like very hot showers and Mark prefers more lukewarm) and gorgeous Ann Sacks tile. Now we don’t have to wait for the other one to take a shower if we are rushing out to work or heading out on date night. The tile on the fireplace in the master was a big win too. It’s from Ann Sacks and it looks like quartz crystal which really became the centerpiece of the room. It was the starting point for the rest of the room’s design.
4. Can you describe your design aesthetic in three words?
Bright, clean, casual. With 3 boys that leave a tornado in their path and the very limited closet space in the house, it was important to me to have it feel open and clean. The white marble style Silestone counters in the kitchen and big triple bi-fold doors that open to the front yard help the house feel larger than it is by bringing in lots of light making it bright and happy.
5. What does your family enjoy most about this space?
The kitchen is always where we spend most of our time together, whether it’s meals or doing homework or art projects. We love the white chairs and table from All Modern and the touch-less kitchen faucet from Kohler saves us time in our busy lives.
6. What’s one design element you love that everyone else hates?
We love the new closet entrance off our master bathroom but we regret not putting a pocket door in it since I’m not the best at folding, or keeping my things tidy in my closet.
7. What was the toughest part of this project?
Since we were living on the east coast and commuting for the show in LA, we were anxious to get moved in. Finally when we did move in we still had contractors practically living with us as we tried to complete this project. I was shooting Melissa & Joey on weekdays and the Walmart commercials on weekends, plus Mark and I started a new company of boys clothes called King of Harts which has kept us extremely busy. Between all that work, the kids being in school and having tons of homework, a 2 year old and a house under construction, it was a bit of a challenge to keep our cool.
8. I’m sure our readers will be inspired by these images. What is one component of this redesign that they can (and should!) incorporate into their own homes?
Having the laundry room on the upstairs level is big help for busy families. We moved the laundry from the garage into some extra closet space that we reworked a bit in the redesign.
9. Who in your life has the best sense of interior design?
Mark and I have our biggest fights ever over decor. But when we finally find something we agree on, we love it! He likes very masculine styles like big leather chairs and dark woods and I look more for comfort. If a chair or sofa isn’t comfortable, it doesn’t feel like home, it feels like an office. And if I have to snuggle on a leather sofa, I always feel like I get stuck to it. Lonni is a great mediator!
10. What’s the best piece of design advice you’ve ever been given?
Lonni has taught me a lot over the many years we’ve been friends. We started working together when I asked her to design my ice cream shop SweetHarts and she’s been great at guiding us through decisions about everything from our son’s nursery to our kitchen to bathroom tile.