First rule of interior design: Things change.
In fact, everything changed after interior designer Mel Bean accepted this project in midtown’s Bren Rose neighborhood. Architectural plans had been completed. Design concepts, too. Then a house a few doors down became available, and her clients simply couldn’t resist. In a 180-degree turnaround, the decision was made to tear down that existing house — clearing the way for this four-bedroom, 6,000-square-foot dream dwelling.
For Bean, that about-face meant turning her ideas for a total remodel into a collective vision for a new build to house a family of four.
“There were opportunities with the new lot that had been limitations with the current one,” explains Bean, who worked with Silo Design Build on this project. “And they got to keep their wonderful neighbors and location.”
The theme is one of luxury with comfort. Bean explains her process: “We listen to the clients, then push boundaries. Once the clients see the proposal, that’s the time to get on board or give good feedback.”
For this particular project, “We got on the same page for the vision early on, which makes the project more fluid and efficient,” she adds.
“She was one of the most organized clients I’ve ever had,” Bean says. The owner wanted a home with classic forms and the influence of Scandinavian simplicity and coziness. Her goal was good flow and functional; an approachable and livable design; and elements of Danish Hygge concepts, with the softness of muted colors and the serenity of natural materials.
Bean describes blue as “the main, but not dominant, color, with soothing shades of blue and gray.” She also included “Oklahoma-appropriate touches that are authentic to this style of house.”
“This gave us a dreamy launch pad for our design vision,” Bean says, noting creamy neutral textiles punctuated with blue-gray tones, cognac leathers, various warm but pale wood tones, glazed ceramics, black metals and some traditional touches.
The home features a number of “green” elements, too, including a rainwater collection system and geothermal energy. Also, instead of framing with wood, the architects chose pre-engineered Structured Insulated Panels (SIP). Tile and countertop slab choices purposefully included manmade stones rather than marble.
Although Bean stops short of likening the home to a resort, she concedes it has many of the amenities and certainly the relaxation factor of a multiple-
star retreat. Collapsible patio doors make it easy to open indoors living spaces to the outdoors, and to close again to avoid local mosquitoes and other flying or crawling pests. Quite the gateway to the pool and spacious backyard.
The designer’s favorite piece of furniture is the custom dining table. “It was sized perfectly for the space, and the circular base and feet details are perfection,” Bean says.
The client’s choice is the pair of chaise lounges in the primary bedroom. “When Mel brought up the idea of two chaise, I didn’t realize how often I’d snuggle up in one with my laptop or a book,” she says.
One of the most innovative features of the home is the motorized doggie door. The sensor that opens and closes it is on the dog’s collar, so when the dog gets near — either on the inside or outside — the door dutifully opens.
Another (surprising) change was a global pandemic. The family moved into the home at the beginning of COVID-19. “It’s an incredible place to be during lockdown,” Bean says. Plenty of room to live inside. Plenty of room to romp outside.
Bean’s first change: She didn’t start out in interior design. Bean gave up her psychology/pre-med major when her classes weren’t bringing her any joy.
“I was the teenager who was grounded for rearranging the furniture when my parents weren’t home,” Bean says. When she switched to interior design, she knew she had found her happy place.
When she called every design firm in the phone book to beg for an internship, Cisar-Holt gave her that opportunity. Bean watered plants, cleaned up the showroom and learned volumes about interior design. She received her degree in interior design in 2004, opened a design studio with a partner in 2011, then went solo in 2018 with Mel Bean Interiors.
One thing that never changes is her signature style: Mixing livable luxury with functional beauty, according to her company website. Her work has been featured in such national publications as House Beautiful, Elle Decor, Martha Stewart Living, and Better Homes and Gardens, as well as HGTV.