KEITH'S LIVING AND DINING ROOMS
In 2020, our firm's Creative Director, Keith Fortner, sold a larger new-construction home with a pool and right-sized to a condo conveniently-located in the middle of Palm Springs. Having spent 15 years in New York City performing, I guess Midtown is just his jam.
Undergoing a major renovation during the worst months of the pandemic was not without its challenges, but needless to say, I was blown away by the results! I sat down with Keith at his chic new home to discuss all the details.
I mean, hello gorgeous! Read on as I ask Keith to spill all the tea...
CK: You come from theatre, so set the stage. Tell me about your decision to downsize.
KF: After living in Palm Springs for 9 years, I decided that I didn't really need (or even want) the 3 bedroom / 3 bath home that Todd and I purchased new in 2011. Living on opposite sides of the country, our initial plan was for him to move here in short order. Fast forward nine years and we were still living apart. I didn't use or need this much space and we rarely entertained so the maintenance of pool, spa, and landscaping were just expenses that seemed unnecessary, so downsizing was in order.
CK: So, describe your new space...
KF: It is a 2Br/2 Bath, 2nd Floor condo designed by Hugh M. Kaptur and built in 1989 just down the street from my former home, which I loved.
"What captivated me immediately was that 1980's vaulted ceiling! Even though the main room wasn't overly spacious, the volume made it seem large and open. Even more appealing was the fact that the unit was built over an Electrical Room on the first floor which allowed for a larger Primary bedroom and walk-in closets in both bedrooms that the other units didn't have."
CK: One does want their closet space...
KF: Exactly! I can live with a smaller footprint, used wisely. I believe in dedicating space to rooms you actually use. My closet makes me very happy, but we will get to that later.
Living Room: Before + After
CK: These before photos! I think I am beginning to understand why you didn't show me the home until after you closed escrow.
KF: I know how you can be sometimes.
CK: Can we talk about the Marimekko lamp in the corner? I mean, "one does want a hint of color..."
KF: You know that you quoting "The Birdcage" never gets old for me. (Cue signature Keith eye roll)
CK: This Living and Dining Room is quite a transformation from the "Before". Tell me what you did.
KF: I started by stripping it all away, and painting it bright white ( Dunn Edwards 'DROPLETS'). I added an inexpensive laminate flooring with a cork underlayment for sound and foot comfort.
"Though some consider feature walls passé, I wanted to up the comfort level and knew this Phillip Jeffries grasscloth would provide the wow factor. I love it!
The furnishings are all new as I sold most of my furniture with my house. I have always loved neutrals as you well know and tease me about all the time, but I find them so comforting and calming after a full day of being inundated by color in our many design projects. It was all about textures for me: The grasscloth, the rug, the mix of metal and wood, etc."
CK: Thank you for calling me out on that. You know that I love to call you "beige and boring" when I am in a foul temper. You have proved here that beige is anything but boring!
KF: Well, I am so glad I won you over. (Eye roll)
Dining Room: Before + After
CK: Tell me about this dining room!
KF: The same.. it is really all about textures. I mixed the white concrete table from CB2 with metal chairs from our friends at Arteriors recovered in a tobacco vinyl. The stunning black light fixture from Visual Comfort is definitely the star of the room with the wood circle mirror, also from Arteriors, being a strong supporting player.
Tricks of the Trade
CK: I mean, just, wow. I love this space and I love being here. Maybe it's your tasty charcuterie board, the Broadway music in the background, or the perfectly-mixed vodka soda. But you have really outdone yourself.
Tell me about some of the designer tricks in these spaces.
KF: Definitely! First of all, the use of black...... it will always ground a room while upping the chic factor.
Secondly, the use of the laminate flooring allowed me to stretch my budget on other things (kitchen, bathrooms.)
Finally, that piece of art over the sofa? It is a closet door purchased at Lowes that I covered in a Kelly Wearstler wallpaper remnant that we had leftover from a recent project. It makes quite the statement for $60."
CK: (sotto voce) I never would have thought to do that. (sips vodka soda)
All About the Details
CK: Well, my friend, it's gorgeous. As I knew it would be. Will you have me back next week to talk about the kitchen? KF: Like I don't see you enough at work?
Design: Keith Fortner
Photography: Public 311 Design