MacKenzie envisioned an open expanse of space in the house’s great room. For her, environments shape human relationships—and small, dark rooms don’t encourage the group activities that form the heart of family life. So she and Hill tore down the walls dividing the living, dining, and cooking areas and moved the entryway to the north side of the house. They then designed discrete and flexible spaces within the larger room, strategically arranging couches, pouring a luxuriously large concrete island in the kitchen, and creating a dining area with a large table.
’It’s our million-dollar view. They only make so much ocean. And there it is!’ —Pamela Hill
“We wanted it to be open and inviting,” MacKenzie explains. “What do we do all day? We cook, we eat, the kids play, we relax. Here, we can do all that together.”
If MacKenzie’s domain is the larger puzzle pieces of the design, Hill’s focus is on the details—like lighting, one of the make-or-break issues in this remodel. The pitched roof that lends the great room its majestic scope was constructed with rigid insulation, which meant that recessed lighting and hidden wires couldn’t be used. But Scandinavian modernism doesn’t mix well with snaking conduit. “I spent hours trying to figure out a way around it,” Hill says.
Their search for the right fixtures lasted for months, until Hill stumbled on two bronze chandeliers at the ReBuilding Center that had been salvaged from the old Benson Hotel. She paid $200 for both and crossed her fingers that they would fit in MacKenzie’s truck. (They did.) After sanding the rust off the bronze, she spent two days on a ladder wielding cans of white spray paint. The result: conversation-piece lighting, with traditionally elegant curves that offset the sharper lines of the pitched ceiling, and that, happily enough, resonate with the sweep of the spiral staircase that leads to the attic nook.
The original plan was to sell the house to finance their next project, but they’ve since reconsidered, instead co-owning the house and renting it when they aren’t using it. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime house,” says Hill. “It made us grow up as designers, businesswomen, and investors. It’s a project we fell in love with.”