Jodi and Greg Pinn had already moved on from the first designer who had suggested the interior of their newly-built French Chateau be adorned with plaid curtains and big red roosters.
But how could they articulate their vision to the next one? If a picture paints a thousand words, Greg Pinn had just the one. But it wasn’t a picture of a living room from Architectural Digest or a kitchen from Veranda.
It was a simple, sleek photograph from a men’s fashion magazine: three elegant men in layered winter clothing. A crisp white shirt with a tan wool scarf. A gray suede jacket. Charcoal cords. Tan and gray herringbone.
“I want my house to look like this,” he told Marni Leis of Mill Valley, a decorator best known for her hotel and spa interiors.
“I totally got it,” Leis said. “It personified the look — unpretentious but cool.”
So in she came with clean whites and gray pearls and neutrals that “seemed to make the whole place come alive and fit the fact that this was a young couple living in the 21st century with three kids,” she said. “We didn’t want it to pretend to be a chateau on the interior. It’s a real home firmly placed in the present time.”
Greg Pinn is a vice president of Pinn Brothers Fine Homes in Saratoga, founded by his father and uncle. At age 38, he is in charge of land development. Just before the housing crisis hit, the Pinns finished the home in Saratoga they call “Trois Fleurs” — three flowers — after the couple’s three young daughters.
Trois Fleurs was one of three homes on the Summit League Home for the Holidays home tour Dec. 4-5, where a dozen decorators brought in Christmas. From white feathers in the dining room to crystal in the craft room, the house was transformed from a neutral modern color scheme to a festive holiday display.
With Pinn in the construction industry, Leis knew the house would be both a reflection of the company’s crafstmanship as well as the family’s style.
So Leis went about “keeping it simple, keeping it useful, but taking it somewhere over the top.”
The surprises begin in the entryhall, where the black-and-white marble tiles are set at an unusual angle. Instead of straight on, or a 45-degree diamond pattern, Leis skewed it to a 65 degree angle. The kitchen counters and backsplash are gray-streaked calcutta marble, anchored by a custom La Cornue range. The dining room walls are gray with a silvery oval table, and alternating square – and round-back chairs.
“I think the whole house is special,” she said. “They carried the story throughout – spare but rich, old and new, shiny and matted.”
Graceful Murano glass chandeliers in languid pinks, blues, grays and pearls adorn the dining room and the girls’ rooms, setting an elegant tone.
But neutrals with no splash of color can be like “an art gallery with no art,” Pinn said. They were thrilled to find persimmon-colored chairs at Williams Sonoma Home in Palo Alto for the family room, which is the main room just off the entryhall.
It’s his favorite room, where the family spends most of its time.
“You can be in that one area and see five great features,” he said, from the grand staircase, to the limestone fireplace and bar, the breakfast nook and the kitchen, and the loggia, with a view through to the pool, waterfall and firepit.
“They’re all centered on the great room window,” he said.
Pinn considers the house a great collaboration. “We all had the same vision,” he said. “A little more contemporary, Hollywood glamorous, but still with some traditional feel.”
In the end, he couldn’t be happier with the results and his partnership with Leis.
“She thinks outside of the box,” he said, “and so do I.”
(Take a peek at another Summit League tour home — a Craftsman decked out for the holidays.)
Holiday Designers for the Pinn Home on the Summit League House Tour
Front Porch, Entry Hall, Lanai, Powder Room — Bloomsters, San Jose
Dining Room — Libby Brost Design & Lifestyle, Los Gatos
Downstairs Hallway — David Wales, Alabasta, Los Altos
Guest Room Entry and Public Bath — Susan Ishkanian, Capuchine, San Leandro
Guest Room — Carol Parker and Cheryle Colman
Theater & theater bar — Pamela Murphy, Michelle Eaton, elle d’lin Design, Los Gatos
Craft Room — Julie Rinehart, Flowers and Decorative Furnishings, Saratoga
Playroom — Christine Desrosier, Saint Remy Design Studio, Los Gatos
Girls Entry and Three Bedrooms– Naomi Branagan, Sydney Mackey, Warmth Company Home Furnishings and Design, Aptos Village
Update: We’re happy to be participating in the Hooked on Holiday House Tours. Check out more great houses here.
Here’s the complete slideshow: