slmag.net - David A. Millett Inc.

slmag.net - David A. Millett Inc.
{Cincinnati’s Finest}
slmag.net
Sep/Oct 2010
five dollars
Just in inside the front door is a unique display of hundreds
of pieces of cut glass in various sizes and shapes.
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A Glass Act
Interior Designer David Millett draws his interior inspiration
for an Indian Hill home from a world-class collection of cut glass
Written by Bridget Williams
Photography by Eric Williams
Mary Kubicki found inspiration for the wide floating cast stone staircase that gently
winds to the lower level in a magazine. The petal-like balustrades were custom
crafted by Chicago artisans.
Admittedly private but far from shrinking violets, Chuck and
Mary Kubicki’s 22,000-square-foot estate in Indian Hill is a
reflection of their joie de vivre.
Chuck founded Cincinnati United Contractors, one of
the region’s premiere design/build commercial contractors,
in 1978, and the company served as the project’s general
contractor. As can be expected with a unique project of this
scale, several unexpected setbacks prompted a reworking of
the plan, during which time the Kubicki’s called in long-time
friend and interior designer David A. Millett to reconfigure
aspects of the exterior and interior.
A fringe benefit of their 30+ year friendship was that
Millett already had an intimate knowledge of the homeowner’s
tastes and knew that the best place to look for inspiration
was one of the homeowners’ passions: collecting cut glass. A
collector himself, Millett commissioned BeauVerre ~ Riordan
Stained Glass Studio to create the triple faceted glass entry
door. The pattern in the circular window above the door was
designed to mimic the bottom of a cut glass bowl.
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Inside, at Mary’s behest, the color palette is subdued and
neutral, relying on changes in pattern and texture to provide
depth and interest. The public rooms on the main level
(dining, living, kitchen and conversation areas) are open to
one another, which provided a distinct challenge for creating a
cohesive design that also incorporated the homeowner’s varied
collection of statuary, art and antiques. “This project was fun
because of the scale,” said Millett.
To keep beige from becoming boring, Millett focused on
the details, choosing touches of color and shine in unexpected
places, such as silver leaf wallpaper in a circular ceiling alcove
above the center hall table. Pleated wallpaper from Romo
adds textural interest.
Given prime placement just inside the front door is a wall
of thick clear crystal glass shelving - constructed with vertical
supports that are also made of glass - that is used to display
hundreds of pieces of cut glass in various sizes and shapes. A
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sitting area in front of the display allows one to stop and admire
the delicate forms.
T h e d i n i n g r o o m i s s e t o f f f r o m t h e re s t o f t h e
rooms via cast-stone columns. The Italian-made dining
table with gilded accents accommodates 12 without the
need for a center support. A subdued floral in silk from
Schumacher was used for the dining chairs. The shape of
an oval rug underfoot mirrors the ceiling alcove, which
has been adorned with crystallized damask wallpaper that
looks particularly lovely when subtly illuminated at night.
Such paper treatments are a signature design element used
throughout the home. “They don’t distract from the rest
of the room. But the eye will travel there anyway, and it
becomes an unexpected treat,” said Millett.
Moving further into the heart of the home, one passes
by a life-sized wax figure of a concert pianist that appears to
be tickling the ivories of an ivory Steinway concert grand
The Italian-made dining table with gilded accents accommodates 12 without
the need for a center support. Schumacher silk fabric is found on the chairs.
The shape of an oval rug underfoot mirrors the ceiling alcove, which has been
adorned with crystallized damask wallpaper.
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Millett designed the kitchen to mimic the feel of the adjacent living areas by hiding nearly all of the top-shelf appliances behind
Pennsylvania flat-cut cherry cabinetry that was crafted by Fabe Custom Wood Products. The13-foot range hood was faux painted by Rock
Headley to mimic cast stone. The countertops and backsplash are Gold Antique granite from Mees Distributors.
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The custom sofa in the living room is 20-feet long. On the console is
a Tiffany clock and candelabra. Hanging above is an oil painting that
dates to the 1890s.
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A wall of zebra wood custom cabinetry dominates the home office.
piano that Millett found in Sarasota and had refinished from
traditional ebony to match the décor.
In front of a two-sided cast stone fireplace that divides
the living room from the kitchen is a larger than life
representation of Apollo and Daphne in bronze.
Sure to make any home gourmand salivate, Millett
designed the kitchen to mimic the feel of the adjacent living
areas by hiding nearly all of the top-shelf appliances behind
Pennsylvania flat-cut cherry cabinetry that was crafted by Fabe
Custom Wood Products. Upper cabinets are adorned with the
same crisscross design found in the decorative Marvin windows
that span the rear of the home. Oil paintings in various sizes on
the walls elevate the room’s utilitarian function.
A reproduction bronze of a peasant girl with geese rests
on a raised pedestal in the midst of a nearly 14-foot center
island with stool seating for seven. A pendant fixture of split
white agate veneer hangs from a ceiling soffit designed to
replicate the pedestal. A seating island separates the kitchen
from the breakfast nook. The table and chairs in the latter
are one of the few pieces that came from the homeowners’
previous residence.
Above the 48-inch Wolf dual fuel range (the only
visible appliance in the kitchen) is a 13-foot range hood
faux painted by Rock Headley to mimic the cast stone. The
countertops and backsplash are Gold Antique granite from
Mees Distributors.
Jeff Fabe also constructed the cabinetry in the living
room. At the push of a button, a large flat panel television
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rises for viewing. To illustrate the scale of the project, Millett
points out that the sofa in the room is 20-feet long.
Rounding out the main level is a spacious master suite
with his and her bathrooms; a guest suite with a commanding
bed in the lit à la polonaise style and an ensuite bathroom
with silver leaf lizard-print wallpaper; a home office with
custom zebra wood cabinetry; and two jewel box-like powder
rooms, one of which features a domed ceiling, metallic
wallpaper and exquisite Grand Canyon onyx floors and sink.
Both the breakfast room and master suite open to a covered
terrace with retractable screens.
While there are no shortages of “wow factors,” arguably
the pièce de résistance is a wide floating cast stone staircase
that gently winds to the lower level. Mary was inspired by
a similar staircase spied in a magazine and worked with
Millett to add their personal spin, namely in the form of
individual petal-like balustrades in glass, crafted by artisans
from Chicago, who were also responsible for the plate glass
balustrades supported by stainless steel poles on the terrace.
The floor plan of the lower level mirrors the upstairs,
with another double-sided cast stone fireplace separating the
bar from several seating areas. Three guest suites with kingsized beds and furniture-style vanities, a game room with
quilted velvet walls and a tin ceiling, and a gym rivaling a
boutique health club are accessed from the central gathering
spaces. Opposite the staircase and accessed via a set of heavy
frameless glass doors with forged handles is a wine cellar with
a 1,100-bottle capacity. Centered on a raised mosaic tile
Circular motifs abound in the lower level, including
the ceiling detail, cast stone columns on the fireplace
and on the sheer drapery.
Blue mica chips embedded in the black granite
countertop on the bar call to mind the shimmer of
fish scales. The bar’s cast stone base mimics similar
architectural detail found elsewhere in the room.
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A bacchanalian statue set within a mosaictiled alcove is flanked by tall sheets of polished
geodes set in resin and illuminated from
behind in the 1,100-bottle wine cellar.
Quilted velvet walls and a tin ceiling are found
in the clubby game room.
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Purportedly the largest example in a private residence in Ohio, the waterfall was built as an alternative to a utilitarian retaining wall.
alcove is a bacchanalian statue. She is flanked on either side by
tall sheets of polished geodes set in resin and illuminated from
behind to highlight their iridescence.
Bl u e m i c a c h i p s e m b e d d e d i n t h e b l a c k g r a n i t e
countertop at the bar call to mind the shimmer of fish scales.
Half-round cast stone columns lining the front of the bar, an
oversized half-circle sofa in front of the fireplace and sheer
drapery with a circle motif were selected to highlight the
repetitive use of circular elements throughout the home.
While the term “park-like backyard” is notoriously
overused in real estate sales, this is one instance where the
moniker is appropriately applied. The deeply sloping lot was
tamed with a mindboggling amount of fill (one needs to only
peer down at the vast retaining wall to the left of the home
for an idea of the project’s scope). Rather than use a similarly
utilitarian wall to hold back the hillside on the opposite
side, Millett recommended the construction of a multi-tiered
waterfall (purportedly the largest found at a private residence in
Ohio). According to the homeowners, watching the dry stack
installation of the boulders used in its construction was a nail
biting experience. Centered in the lawn is a lighted putting
green and sand bunker installed by Buckeye Putting Greens.
A stone walkway winds around the green and up the
hill to a wooded area where commercial-grade park benches
provide shady repose and an ideal venue for appreciating the
extraordinary estate. Even though they do not find themselves
in this spot often, even the homeowners have to admit that it
is quite a sight to behold. sl
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