Mountain Living Magazine: Linger By the River

March/April 2024 | Mountain Living Magazine

Photos by David Papazian

A homeowner put her family top-of-mind when she purchased a home overlooking the river fed by Lake Coeur d’Alene in northern Idaho. Like many parents of an older teen, the homeowner found herself looking for a way to connect with her 18-year-old daughter. The home, intended as a vacation retreat, would be a draw for her daughter and friends to take a timeout from their daily lives. “I wanted this to be a house my daughter wanted to come back to,” she says. “I envisioned the teens gathering in the living room and outside in the backyard enjoying river views. I just love Idaho’s scenery, and the neighbors are incredible. I can pop over and go for a walk with them or enjoy a glass of wine; there is true connection here.”

At first glance, she thought the home only needed redecorating. She called her longtime interior design firm, Maison, Inc. to take a look. Principal designer Joelle Nesen had already renovated two previous homes and one in the process in different cities for her, so there was a high level of trust in the relationship they had built over the years. “The house was beautiful, but brighter and lighter than what I wanted,” the homeowner says. “I was looking for warm, cozy and inviting—a place to hang out, settle in and linger. As Maison brought the options to me, I began to see it as a disjointed home that needed a total renovation.”

“We aimed for casual elegance, with snuggly textures that are warm and comforting,” says Nesen. “We needed to unify the materials and colors to calm the existing spaces.”

Working with Morgan Thomas, senior designer, Nesen gave key areas such as the kitchen, primary suite, guest bathrooms and laundry a total renovation. “The former kitchen looked a little preppy and trendy,” Nesen says. She added drama by including black elements, a color that became the home’s motif. It introduced elegance in the main rooms and, along with wood tones and a camel color, makes the rooms feel like a haven while keeping the sex appeal high. An ebony-stained rift oak island topped with a black leathered-granite countertop and a custom steel vent hood are in keeping with the theme. Along with the dramatic black fireplace nearby in the living room, it is, in the words of the homeowner, “a huge, glorious room that is cozy despite high ceilings.” She adds, “The couch’s mohair fabric and leather chairs lend texture and depth. You just want to settle in and put your feet up on the coffee table.”

The upstairs media room is where her daughter and friends choose to snuggle in and hang out on a large U-shaped sectional, where they talk and watch movies on a screen that drops down from the ceiling. A built-in bar and lounging area are steps away to complete the in-house entertainment options.

Recreational space continues outside in a multi-level backyard reimagined by Alderwood Landscaping. A covered patio with a remodeled outdoor kitchen and a bar is just outside the main living room. A set of steps leads to a seating area with a fire feature on an open patio. From there, another set of hewn boulder-steps beckon to loungers and a fire pit overlooking the river.

“The homeowner made conscious choices, so the home ended up beautifully timeless,” says Nesen. But after the renovation, the homeowner changed her mind. “This is more than a vacation home,” she says. “Maison nailed it. They know who I am and what I want. When people come here, they settle in and linger. I now split my time equally between this home and my place in Arizona. Everything has exceeded my expectations.”

Interior Design | Maison Inc.

Builder: Edwards Smith Construction |

PDF version of article with pictures here

Video and more pictures here

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