Barrie Spang Barrie Spang
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The plan was simple: update the master bath. However, plans tend to expand. Exponentially. But honestly, parts of this Rocky River home just didn’t make any sense. The path from garage to house was awkward. The office and dining room needed to mesh. After those projects, the owners opted for a few more months of creative chaos, electing to redo the kitchen and great room as well.

“The clients just wanted the house to reflect the way they wanted to live in it,” says Barrie Spang, the owner and lead designer of Sapphire Pear, a full-service interior design studio and store in Rocky River.

Spang wanted to give the clients the contemporary environment they desired. She also wanted to respect the vintage nature of the house, a 1940s colonial. They took inspiration from the house itself and its unusually large private yard.

“The master bath had a huge sunken tub with jets, a small shower, small closet and built-in vanity,” she says. “But these features weren’t important to my clients.”

Spang quickly put a design together and worked with contractor Oster Services, based in Lakewood, who was able to stay on when the plans grew.

Spang revamped the bath to the owners’ tastes with a larger built-in shower, his-and-hers closets, plus a smaller footprint for the tub and vanity. The result is an eclectic mix — an old-fashioned clawfoot tub artfully placed on top striking modern tile. Plumbing features were found at Ferguson, the eye-popping tile from Ann Sacks and the wallpaper from West Coast designer Kelly Wearstler. Spang incorporated cutting-edge products like the round LED-lit mirrors she discovered while attending the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show in Orlando.

Next she tackled a cramped, short hall that connected the garage to the house with three doors that opened into each other. By knocking down walls, Spang designed a more traditional mudroom, added a walk-in pantry, and introduced a brilliant design element — a stunning wood slab door that doesn’t swing, but instead slides flat to close.

The reconfigured mudroom allowed for a unique space under a staircase — a kind of tall, narrow dog room, where the owners’ pooch loves to lounge. This area opens to the refurbished office and the dining room beyond. Here, the owners’ table was perfect, but the chairs were not. The office needed updated furnishings too. “I love to work with people’s existing things — they’re more interesting and more collected,” Spang says. “Most of my projects are a mix of old and new. It’s rare to use just one or the other.”

In the kitchen, a huge triangular island was exchanged for a right-sized rectangle. The owners fell in love with a rich, creamy marble for the island, discovered at Design Surfaces in Westlake. To bring in layers and texture, Spang paired it with a wood and stone counter and soft oyster hued cabinets. The kitchen opens to the great room, and here, a hyper-traditional fieldstone fireplace was updated with beautiful matte gray tile, punctuated with glossy black trim that frames the fire.

Spang’s clients gravitated to coastal blues and greens plus neutrals, peppered with complementary colors — smoky gray dining room walls, a black and white bath, and splashes of dark red in the office. “I love how these colors go from space to space,” Spang says, “and how they move throughout the house.”

Meet The Designer: Growing up on the West Side, Barrie Spang jokes that her parents were flipping houses before it was cool, which led to her career in interior design. She is inspired by color (pear green is one of her faves) and thinks Miles Redd is godlike in the design world.
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