When the owners of a very traditionally designed 2006 Forest Heights home called upon Shannon Ponciano of Ponciano Design in 2018, to update their home in time for the Tour of Remodeled Homes, they were already familiar with her flair for the dramatic.

Ponciano loves designing homes for friends whose personalities she knows and enjoys. “It was fun and easy to work with this couple,” says Ponciano. “They had a strong style direction and knew what they liked. It made for a fun process of choosing a classic, polished look with lots of contrast to reflect the new modern glam design aesthetic.”

The original home featured traditional cherry wood cabinetry, built-ins, and a kitchen without much natural light. “The minute I walked into the living area,” says Ponciano, “I envisioned changing out the small fireplace for one that would play off the tall bank of windows flanked by larger, black built-ins with brass inlay.”

Ponciano recommended two contractors to work hand-in-glove with her and her team. The couple chose Todd Hertner of Rebuild LLC.

Hertner’s assessment of the original home design was in total alignment with Ponciano’s. “The whole house was cherry,” recalls Hertner. “Cherry floors, cabinets, built-ins, even the stair treads, and railings. Roman columns with a kind of Miami Greek look marred the entrance to the dining room and the passageway from the living area to the nook. We removed it all, except the stair treads and railings, which we painted satin black.”

Transforming the fireplace was crucial to completing the new look.

“I wanted to take better advantage of the living space by making the fireplace a focal point, so I suggested bringing its chimney all the way up the wall,” says Ponciano.

It was Hertner’s job to vent the fireplace without forfeiting the drama of Ponciano’s design. “The wall was so vanilla,” says Hertner, “that we came up with the idea to fur it out with 2x6s and framed it all the way up, leaving the top open. That way, there was no need for a grate for venting, placed in the face somewhere that everyone would have to look at or try to hide it some way. Even my fireplace rep said it was a great idea.”

After all the cherry wood features found in the original design were gutted, the former cherry flooring was replaced with Abode Flooring Brushed Hickory “Rain Barrel” an engineered flooring by Kentwood that was laid south to north rather than east to west, thus drawing the eye toward the dramatic transformation of the new living area.

“We also opened up a wall between the living room, kitchen and nook,” says Ponciano. “An existing island that jutted into that opening was removed and replaced by a custom-built island by Hayes Cabinets that reiterates the design of the modern built-ins on the fireplace wall.”

A trio of Arteriors pendants echo the island’s brass inlay, while the formerly dark kitchen is flooded by the newly installed 7.5' picture window that replaced a tiny two-footer. Ann Sacks Benton Mosaic tile backsplash brightens the window wall while a pair of Tiffany Navy blue TOV barstools add visual pop.

“We had to dismantle the whole kitchen,” recalls Hertner. “We started by figuring out where the quadruple crown molding stopped and started, then brought down the framing a couple of inches. We lined up the triple Sub-Zero with existing wall and trim openings by taking out the 6'8" laundry door and replacing it with a taller door that matched.”

One of the most glamorous rooms in the house is the master bedroom, which is enveloped in rich, dark wallpaper, lit by a Kelly Wearstler cubist chandelier and a custom upholstered master bed by Bernhardt Interiors that feels as if it belongs on the set of a very lush Hollywood film.

“I love that they let us use black textured wallpaper with beautiful patterns,” says Ponciano of the MDC Wallcoverings Truffle Carbon wallpaper. “It is so luxurious and adds such drama.”

The decision to paint the ceiling black as well came after the team decided that leaving it white wasn’t an optimum choice.

“The ceiling has a dropped soffit look to it,” says Hertner. “When the ceiling and crown molding were both white, it didn’t quite look right.”

By leaving the molding white and painting the ceiling black, the team brought the whole room together, making it more intimate and tying it better to the textured wallpaper.

Hertner considered tearing out the soffit but decided against it. “It was a judgment call…,” he says. “Gotta stop somewhere!”

“Since the bed wall wasn’t very big,” adds Ponciano, “we debated about making the bathroom entrance smaller, but realized it wasn’t practical since the oft-used exterior French doors opened inward.”

Choosing to let the light in through the glass doors helped illuminate the very dramatic dark choices juxtaposed by brilliant white furnishings such as the World’s Away nightstands crowned with Arteriors lamps. The cowhide Loloi rug mixes the black and white elements that are echoed in the pattern of the Stacy Garcia custom draperies. Classic Home bedding gets the lush treatment with velvet black and white throw pillows and a faux fur that begs one to bury their toes into its soft surroundings.

A black Bernhardt console keeps items handy, without having to venture into the very elegant California closet tucked into the master bath.

Just a few steps away is the husband’s office, where drama continues to rule.

“The homeowner wanted something very masculine and powerful,” says Ponciano, who adds that knowing her friend helped create a room that he loves to spend time in.

A chance encounter with the work of Bravura Finishes of Lake Oswego in a downtown Portland hotel prompted Ponciano to have his team do some sample boards for the office walls, which became a central inspiration piece for the room, the bullish painting and grand double-sided desk by Noir.

Hertner marveled at the steps necessary to create the custom finish. “First, he primed it all black, rubbed glue over that, then followed with gold leafing and plaster, which left a rough, irregular finish with little peaks of gold coming through. Super unique!”

The once very classic dining room, which is found on the immediate right from the entrance, now shimmers with elegance. “We wanted to give the formal dining room its own personality,” says Ponciano. “The patterned wallpaper accentuates that feeling as does the elongated oval chandelier and the brass base of the Bernhardt Interiors dining table, which creates a kind of traditional meets glam experience.”

Bernhardt Interiors chairs with custom upholstery and a touch of brass found in the hardware adornment echo the Jaipur rug.

The goal for each room, adds Ponciano, was to pull together a trio of high contrast elements with something transitional, modern and glamorous featured in each.

Here, the floor-to-ceiling draperies done in a rich, dark fabric frame the original bay windows in a way that brings wallpaper, chandelier, rug and furnishings into a complete blending of those elemental goals.

The central staircase, which bifurcates the dining room from the living area takes one up to the second floor, where the “Boss Lady’s” office is located. The room literally sparkles from floor to ceiling, where a faux Jaipur cowhide rug with metallic embellishments that grounds and anchors the room catches the glow from the flush mount Arteriors antique brass ceiling light. Mongolian white fur chair and stools add a touch of soft luxe to the glass furnishings that include a desk by TOV. An eye-catching emerald green desk chair by TOV demands center stage.

Although Ponciano Design and Rebuild LLC had never collaborated before this Tour of Remodeled Homes, the results, which were praised highly by many who attended the tour, has led them to work together on many subsequent whole house remodels, including one current job that grew out of the homeowners having visited this home during the 2018 tour.

Obviously, the collaboration worked!



Ponciano Design

Hayes Cabinets Inc


Z Collection

Parr Design Center

Appliances: Ferguson: Sub-Zero, Wolf; Plumbing Fixtures: Ferguson: Delta, Newport Brass