3 Key Techniques to Create an Inviting Atmosphere

Designer Kim Streeter demonstrates how to “soften” a sleek space.

Written by:Diane Conrad
Photographed by:Shari Fleming

Cambria design shown: Ironsbridge™

Charles R. Stinson Architecture + Design is, as lead designer Kim Streeter puts it, “a small but mighty” firm based in Minnetonka, Minnesota. Focused on custom residential architecture and design, Stinson works across the country—and the world. “Charles’ work is really special in that he knows how to site a building to capture optimal views in all directions. He creates homes that are almost living sculptures—and yet they’re graceful, with a very human scale,” says Streeter.

That careful balance shines through in the Lake Minnetonka home pictured in the 26th issue of Cambria Style, where Streeter’s design sensibility is also on display. For this family house, Streeter took special care to counter the sleek, contemporary architecture with a sense of warmth and livability—to create rooms that don’t look intimidating but welcoming and inviting. A few key techniques Streeter relied on to create that inviting atmosphere:

Don’t ignore the outdoors. This house has beautiful lake views, so Streeter kept the design on the inside subtle. She says, “The exterior is an artwork in itself—so allowing those views in provides plenty of life and interest. You don’t need to add much.” She also takes care not to obstruct the views. “I often don’t use pendant light fixtures over the kitchen island—or any light fixture that gets too low—because it obstructs the view.”

Use layers to add interest. You don’t need bright colors and bold patterns to add visual interest to a space. “Variety—a mix of matte and polished finishes, soft and woven textures, for example—can create a very curated kind of feel,” says Streeter.

Create connections. “Try to find something—a color, a material—that you can repeat in large and small ways throughout the different spaces in the home to create a cohesive, connected feel.” A few examples from this home are spotlighted in a recent trend report: the blue and brown color palette; Italian plaster wall texture; and Cambria Ironsbridge quartz surfaces not only in the kitchen but on all the countertops throughout the house.

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