Radical Redesign

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Living Room: The home of Toni Freeman on the west side of Oak Tree in Edmond
Great Room and Loft / Library: The home of Toni Freeman at the west side of Oak Tree in Edmond
Master Bedroom: The home of Toni Freeman at the west side of Oak Tree in Edmond
Guest House/Cabanna Kitchen: The home of Toni Freeman at the west side of Oak Tree in Edmond
Guest House/Cabanna Dining Room: The home of Toni Freeman at the west side of Oak Tree in Edmond
Guest House/Cabanna Great Room

A TALE OF TWO … HOUSES …

By Sandra Stanley

From the street, one can see a quaint French cottage at the bottom of the drive.  Not at all the house that once was seen from the same view.  Owner Toni Freeman explained an amazing transformation from a “nice” 2200-2500 square foot house, with an ordinary floor plan and exterior, to the home we now see, which is approximately 5,000 square feet.  When she and her husband Mike got tired of golf balls from the Men’s Course at Oak Tree breaking their windows, and strangers standing right in their backyard, they began a search for a new home on the west side of Oak Tree.  The endeavor brought them to the house that Toni has now completely changed.

The lot is full of trees and the house had possibilities for someone with an eye for design and artistic features.  What started out as a one story house, became a two story house in the year of remodeling. Beginning with the space at hand, the floor of the sunken living room was stripped of carpet, raised and finished with “antiqued” wooden flooring.  Walls were given a heavily plastered ochre finish, typical of French and Italian Renaissance dwellings.  Flagstone, left in place in the entry, dining and hallway, fit right into the new décor.  Ceilings, raised in the living room and dining room, all open to the entry.  The fireplace reconstruction included heavy plaster, a rough hewn mantel and curved opening.  The kitchen cabinets were replaced with custom finished furniture cabinets.  An arched opening for the new great room is supported by substantial columns, all finished in plaster.

An existing bedroom became the new breakfast room with an arched opening formed to the adjoining kitchen.  New cabinets and design in the kitchen utilizes the former breakfast room as a small sitting area.  The bar was relocated from the living room entry to a quiet corner in a new great room and tucked under the loft/library created above.

Toni, the former owner of Toni’s Treehouse in Weatherford, and her husband lived in a villa in the Highlands at Oak Tree, and then on the West Course before starting this project.  Her talent is widely recognized.  Her background came from the retail clothing design and business.  She also makes jewelry and scarves.  She loves to remodel houses, a career that blossomed through her many creative ideas.  The first thing she does when taking on a new project is to look for antique architectural features, such as doors, corbels, railings, beams, etc. to incorporate into the home.  Major doorways and cabinet fronts are not matched, but individual in their design.  Openings are customized for the newly “found” door measurements.

Romantic furnishings dressed in elegantly textured and patterned covers, soften the architectural features.  A mixture of richly colored ochre, wine and green fabric combinations suggests the “collected” appearance of “Old World” interiors.  Wrought iron, fanciful accessories and lamps, candlesticks, wall sconces and a collection of antique wooden tables and chests mingle with interesting pillows, screens and an occasional ottoman in an exotic animal print.   Two pairs of antique corbels embellish the great room ceiling beams.

While colors in the main living spaces are built on ochre-colored plaster, wood and flagstone finishes, one approaches the completely renovated master suite on acid-stained concrete flooring with tobacco-stained plaster walls.  A mixture of white, antique white and natural wood finishes provide interest to the environment.

What was once a simple master bedroom, has now become a spacious suite with bedroom, exercise and sitting areas.  Toni frequents estate sales for treasures and was fortunate to buy a chaise lounge from the Fred Jones Estate, which she has now recovered to compliment her bedroom.  Antique doors welcome us to the master bath and closets.  In addition, a guest bedroom was added off the main bedroom hall with its own bath, while the other bedroom downstairs is at the back of the breakfast room hall.  A fourth bedroom on the master bedroom hall has been converted to additional master closet space.  Upstairs with the loft a small suite of rooms provides play space and a room for visiting grandchildren, Toni’s office and storage.

In 2004-2005, the next Freeman project began with the building of a Guest House/Cabana on the other side of the curvilinear pool.  The exterior plaster echoes the now completed main house finishes.  It serves as an open-air living room, and the enclosed guest facility is complete with pool table, seating area and kitchen.  A winter greenhouse holds the pool plants.

The kitchen has some very innovative ideas: a red- and white-checked hood over the cooking area, a wine-crushing vat for a sink and granite surfaces doubling as informal eating space.  The upstairs bath boasts a metal standing urn for a sink, and a cleverly plumbed tub and shower. A big surprise awaits at the bottom of the stairs into the basement of the guesthouse, which houses a wonderful wine cellar, a cozy dining area, a bedroom and TV sitting area.

A once very ordinary house and floor plan belies the current home that Toni Freeman has created.  The visit delighted my eyes and beckoned me for a return visit. The comfortable “Old World” environment, full of art and object d’art never leaves one without inspiration.  The differences between “Country French” and truly “Romantic French” design are skillfully and painstakingly represented in this beautiful home.

Architectural design historian and interior designer Sandra Stanley, MA, has been practicing her craft since 1971.  She is currently a humanities lecturer at the University of Central Oklahoma.

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