A designer and builder who has been perfecting houses since he started his own business as an OSU student, Jim Deen has seen all the bells and whistles on the market, and the vast spectrum of personal tastes that clients exhibit within the walls of their homes. We asked Deen to walk us through the design of his Powell residence and (arguably) the most important room inside it. This is what happens when a builder who has seen the best of the best gets to turn the drawing table on his own home and hearth.
Professional to personal:
It’s always harder when you’re doing it for yourself. You want to make sure everything is perfect because not only are you doing it for yourself, it’s kind of an extension of the showroom, it’s an extension of your portfolio, it’s something you want to be proud of. You want to make sure it’s perfect because it’s a showcase basically. We have taken clients over to the house and used it as a showroom. Since we did the entire house, there is a lot to show.
[The] color pallet was taken throughout the entire house. Gray and white, cool colors, cool tone. That’s the new trend. Everybody wants it. Gray is now considered the new natural. You can actually mix grays with tans, you can mix grays with blues, greens. It goes with everything. I mean just a few short years ago, even six years ago, nobody thought gray was neutral. They just thought it was gray and black or gray and white. But you can put it with anything.
One thing in the kitchen that is unusual, if you look at the island countertop, that’s doubled up. There are two layers. So instead of an inch and a half counter, we put two layers in there, so it’s a three-inch thick counter. And they both have a different edge on them, so it kind of looks like a waterfall. So [it’s] three inches thick, which is not normal. That island is about 1500 pounds. I knew I was going to do a big island, so when I was doing the structural part of the house, I actually tripled the floor joints under the kitchen, knowing I was going to put that much weight in there. I was thinking ahead of time. So the fridge and freezer, those are 300-400 pounds each, the island with the cabinets is probably 2000 pounds, so I mean, there are thousands and thousands of pounds in that kitchen. I didn’t double; I tripled all the floor joints. That way there wouldn’t be any bounce or sag in the floor over time, it would be structurally sound.
High-Tech and Hidden:
Under counter beverage drawers. There are two of them. Of course you can control the temperature to whatever you want—depending on if you are putting in alcohol, bottled water or pop cans. That whole cabinet was custom designed by me to fit the two appliances in there. One of the appliances actually sits on the floor, and the other one is built into the cabinet, yet the cabinet sits on the floor. That cabinet is nothing you’d see in a book or catalog—I created to make it one piece and then by paneling the beverage drawers you kind of make it disappear so you think it’s an ordinary cabinet not an appliance. When you’re trying to do a high-end project you’re always trying to make the appliances disappear. Because you don’t want the kitchen cabinets to look like cabinets, you want the kitchen cabinets to look like furniture. So the less metal you see, the more furniture you get, so it looks higher-end.
On an island in the sun:
That’s something that’s fairly new in the market. It’s only been around a year. That’s a flush, installed, microwave drawer. You just tap the button and it comes out by itself. And then you grab whatever is in there and you literally just hit it with your hip and it will automatically close by itself and you can walk away.
There are a ton of accessories. [Much more than] you can see from the photos. [A built-in, dedicated coffee and tea station.] The television above the double ovens, it’s fully integrated so you only see the screen, not the frame. So, it’s a built-in TV. The farm sink is pretty unique, in the fact that it’s a 40-inch wide farm sink, which is unheard of. It’s like almost 300 pounds. That was all made by hand out of fire clay. And that came from Italy.