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Karasawa then created a concept that specified the scope of the project, including the color scheme, flooring, new fireplace surface, lighting and furnishings. “The original goal for the color scheme,” says Karasawa, “was to frame the city view in the living room with a really dark, dramatic color.” They chose Sherwin Williams Black Magic for the walls, ceiling, molding, baseboard and new fireplace shelving. Rather than tear out the original beige marble fireplace, Karasawa recommended building a plywood frame around it to create a more modern rectangular form.

This Japanese technique of charring wood requires the paneling to be burned with a torch for 7-minutes to create a protective charcoal layer that resists decay and fire, thus producing a very green, more maintenance-free material that can last up to 80 years.

“You often see it in Japan as exterior siding done in this technique and it’s gorgeous,” says Karasawa, who was born in Tokyo and at 18 studied at the University of Portland. “Midori did such a great job,” says Molly, “of not only creating something we love, but going above and beyond with things like the Shou-Sugi-Ban that we never would have thought of ourselves for the fireplace.”

“She told us we’d never regret putting in higher end materials like the Shou-Sugi-Ban fireplace and engineered flooring and she was totally correct.” She also sourced the glitzy Agnes chandelier and sconces by Claire Boutelle from the Lindsey Adelman Studio – where there was nothing but 6" ceiling cans originally. DSHOP Modern Home Décor, located in Baltimore, Maryland, was featuring a marble top table that day, with elegantly designed brass legs, which shipped directly from Spain.

The Case of Bass boom box in the girls’ reading area adds a touch of Mid Century Modern to the space.

Brothers Ezra and Alex Cimino-Hurt delight in recycling other people’s castoffs as showcases for their rebuilt electronics. Peter Gronquist, a local painter with clients in London, New York and Los Angeles, who also sculpts, works with a fabricator to create his popular infinity mirrors.

Sculptor Eric Boyer fashions his art from wire mesh, using a steel ball, a process he likens to finger painting. “You have some paint, and your fingers and you smear it around, and it just happens.” Boyce’s human bodies sculptures accentuate the hallway, while a very voluptuous red mesh flower highlights the entrance to the master bedroom.

The original powder room had a tiny pedestal sink situated in the center of a floor-to-ceiling mirror, surrounded by gold wallpaper and a black ceiling. To stay away from gold, she used the pièce de résistance - a bright red sleek VOLA faucet, created by Danish architect Arne Jacobsen in the 1960s.

Tom Dixon pendant lights flank the back-lit mirror backed by black matte ceramic penny rounds from Ann Sacks Tile. The sensually curved bay window in the former formal dining room also needed a drapery update.

Its creamy drapery with sheers were replaced with a Pindler velvet fabric with metallic foil print. The draperies, fashioned by Tatyana Putra of Comfortlines, tie well to the artwork discovered during a shopping trip to Grand Marketplace with Molly. “The pieces are made of plexiglass, and have a Mid-Century Modern feel, especially after we had them painted matte black,” says Karasawa.

Although I pursued a business career post-college, I worked closely with creative teams to bring a compelling product to market. Hospitality industry: Hotel and restaurant designs evolve around all five senses and creating experiences, I’d like to do the same for residences. The hotel would offer world-class Japanese cuisines, spa, garden, along with an art museum, where curated artists from Japan could display their work.

I think we creatives need to ask ourselves how we can solve those problems from a design perspective that creates a city that’s safe for everyone. Having traveled the world extensively in my 20s and 30s on business, I’d like to explore the Scandinavian countries to study their progressive ways with health care, education and keeping people well and happy.

Midori Kawasawa
Midori Kawasawa

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