For some, luxury is defined as that which isn’t necessary, an extravagance. For me, it’s always been a necessity. I learned at a young age from my dad that indulgence in luxury is, quite simply, a must. Naturally, I was thrilled when Jennifer and Dan Pickett hired my interior design firm to work on their new home on North Broadway, charging us with the challenge of producing a stunning luxury family home. With the architectural skill applied to the original house by SD Atelier Architecture, L.L.C., and later, the Phinney Design Group’s impeccable detail and design, Bonacio Construction’s building expertise and the Picketts’ vision, I knew we would be able to create pure elegance; it was a dream team, indeed, and we were on a mission.
The first time I met Jennifer, she stepped out of her sleek, black car with the grace and style of a movie star. Simply being around her broad smile and perfectly matched Jimmy Choos and handbag made all of us feel more glamorous. It’s always a privilege to design a luxury home for a successful client, but in this case, it was about more than just that. The Picketts have shown such incredible dedication to the Saratoga Springs community throughout the years; they run the Pickett Family Foundation, a philanthropic organization that invests in causes such as education and healthcare, so it felt good giving back to them. And did I mention their kids? Yes, this family boasts a handful of gorgeous and athletic children. This was going to be fun!
So what are the ingredients that go into designing a luxury Saratoga home? For starters, the home must be in a prime location—whether it’s on Union Avenue, 5th Avenue or North Broadway, it has to have a prestigious address. Next, it has to be gated, fenced in or shaded; mature trees should be brought in to surround the home and custom window shades (blackout lined, of course) hung perfectly in the windows to provide privacy for the family within. Also, the house should be fully wired with all the latest gadgets and have all the new highest-tech touches, such as surround-sound and remote phone apps. And finally, it must be constructed with superior-quality materials and luxurious finishes and amenities, including large, decked-out laundry rooms with multiple washers, dryers and steamers. With such a high price tag, a luxury home should be an unparalleled masterpiece.
And that’s what we set out to deliver. The Picketts knew what they wanted from the get-go. Says Jennifer of her family’s vision: “We wanted a private retreat in the landscape, as an escape for our downtime, as well as a place for entertaining friends and family. We strived for an elegant outdoor space, similar to the formal gardens you might see in London. We love London and travel there often.”
So the team had its marching orders, and we were delighted to provide the most luxurious sofas, custom-upholstered beds and gilded mirrors for the family’s dream home. Nothing was too precious. From the room plans to the design and the high-end construction materials, finishes and furnishings, everything was top of the line. Rare, hand-selected marble slabs, fine hardwood floors, silk velvets and spectacular hand finishes combined to create an interior that exuded beauty and sophistication. “Having the privilege to build a luxury home in Saratoga, with all the details and high level of construction that comes along with luxury projects, provided us with the opportunity to add something impressive to an already vibrant community,” says Sonny Bonacio, President of Bonacio Construction. In a sense, it’s not just about creating the perfect luxury home, it’s also about elevating the city around it.
And the Picketts’ home is no exception to the rule. An extraordinary level of care went into every aspect of this home—and it really turned out to be a collective effort. Michael Phinney, Phinney Design Group’s Owner and Principal Architect, concurs: “The level of detail and thought that goes into our designs is the result of a team effort between the architect, interior designer, owner and builder. Because our work is very diverse across a variety of project scales, it allows us to take large commercial methodology and professionalism and merge it with a high attention to detail and responsiveness to the very intimate and personal nature of a custom home.” With an infinite number of decisions to make, we meticulously made sure that every paint color, fabric, tile and faucet was perfect, and the style flowed throughout the house.
At first glance, upon entering this graceful home, one sees the grand, handcrafted walnut staircase and a hint of the luxe living space beyond. The bright white kitchen sparkles with natural beauty and the marble counters were hand-selected for the purity of their whiteness. The walnut dining table, which we saw in the New York Design Center, was made to our exact specifications and slid perfectly into the dining area (and was then hand-finished to match the end table in the adjoining living space). In the master suite, the breathtaking closet and dressing area were created to resemble a fancy Parisian boutique. And for the kids, a fully loaded game room and spa-like backyard, complete with decked-out pool-house and lounge, meet all their needs. Talk about custom. The result is a luxury home inside and out.
So what did the Picketts think? “I love that we have a home that reflects our personal style and enriches our lives by providing all of the comfort and convenience for our unique lifestyle,” says Jennifer. Mission accomplished! I couldn’t be prouder.