May 30, 2024

This Remodel Takes ‘Bringing the Outdoors Inside’ to A Whole New Level

Photos Provided by Design 2 Sell

Here at HOME by Trendsetters, we have featured some of the most unique home design projects in the area, from in-home basketball courts to the fairytalelike Airbnb rental on the cover of our last issue—but you’ve never seen anything like this bedroom remodel.

When the homeowners first approached Roxanne Kirby and the Design 2 Sell team regarding their remodel vision, they wanted something that reflected their love for the outdoors and their constant wanderlust: that’s when the idea of a “rock” wall was born. Roxanne’s immediate thought was, “This is a little wild—how are we going to do this?” But she and her team were up for the challenge—and the result is stunning.

The Homeowners’ Goals for the Remodel

The homeowners wanted to create a space that felt unique to them; a sanctuary that felt like a collection of their experiences, memories, and travels. For them, the idea of having a rock wall was a main priority. “We wanted to figure out some way to integrate a space that looks like you’re living on the side of a mountain,” Roxanne said.

The second priority was replacing the honey oak trim and doors with updated, modern colors and tones. Roxanne’s solution was integrating black trim, and incorporating more neutral-colored woods. The homeowners also wanted hardwood floors to replace the carpeting to add a level of luxury to the space.

The bathroom was a big undertaking, some divided walls were removed to open the space and allow for a large shower, which was another priority for the homeowners. The goal for the rest of the bathroom was to continue the dark and moody contemporary feel of the bedroom.

The Challenge of Making An Indoor “Rock Wall”

One of the first challenges Roxanne had to navigate was the vision for a rock wall in the bedroom. A quick online search will offer plenty of results such as pre-forms and 3D panels, but all of these came in sizes far too small to cover an entire wall. So she had to seek another solution— which happened to be hiding in plain sight.

he homeowners have various wildlife taxidermy displayed in their home, with some pieces mounted on “faux rock” platforms. Roxanne researched the material, and sourced samples from a company in North Carolina. Finally, she had something she could work with to scale—a new problem arose, however. The foam panels had a repeating pattern. “I was like, ‘Okay, wow. How the heck are we gonna make this look lifelike without people being able to distinguish all the different repeats of the pattern?’ because that was a 12-foot by 10-foot panel,” Roxanne said.

The “Before” photos illustrate the dramatic transformation the space would later receive the colors were dated, and the space lacked mood and personality.

“When I got to this part in the researching and development of the design, we had everything else figured out, but this rock wall was the one hurdle for us.”

That’s when Roxanne called up an old friend and colleague, Hans Gilsdorf of Bucks Mill Brewing in Detroit Lakes. Gilsdorf proved to be the saving grace for the rock wall project. Earlier in his career, Gilsdorf worked for Blue Rhino Studios in Eagan, MN, an artistic exhibit fabricator and designer for museum exhibits, including the Smithsonian. With the connections Gilsdorf had, Roxanne was able to sample the materials Blue Rhino uses in their exhibits, which she described as a type of concrete composite board—and the material proved to be a success.

Dave Leak from Blue Rhino, the genius behind the design of the faux rock wall, chiseled and carved away with such detail that the final result looks like someone copied and pasted the side of a cliff right into a home—not just in detail, but in color and tone as well.

About Roxanne

Charleston, SC, native Roxanne Kirby joined the Design 2 Sell team in 2021 when she saw an ad in a local magazine—it was then and there she knew she wanted to work with Skye Fingalson’s talented team. With a background in art, tiling, and interior design, Roxanne knew she was in the right place. Today, she is a project coordinator and interior design consultant for Design 2 Sell. Outside the office, Roxanne loves kayaking across all the great spots the Lakes Area provides.

How the Rock Wall Became the Centerpiece for the Rest of the Design

“When you go from one section to another, it speaks to everybody differently. And that’s what I absolutely love. you notice more of the fine details the more and more time you spend within the space . And that’s what it’s all about.”

 – Roxanne Kirby

The faux rock wall acted as the centerpiece of the remodel, with everything else being designed around it in terms of mood, tones, and even lighting. Some of the inspiration for the remodel was also drawn from the homeowners’ travels to Spain.

“We wanted [the space] to be moody and we wanted it to be natural and distinctive when you looked at it,” Roxanne said. “But we also wanted the rock wall to have its own personality. The cool thing with natural rock formations is that when you look at one side versus the other side, it’s not symmetrical.

That worked in our favor—we picked several Sherwin-Williams paint colors and then played with [colors and tones] until we were happy.”

The Bathroom

Stepping into the bathroom, you can see how the rock wall influenced things like the show tiling, which shows off a variety of tones and color variations. Roxanne says the secret sauce is in layering different products with different tones to help capture the overall essence they’re trying to achieve. “It was so much fun and also eye-opening because now I’m in love with moody masculine design,” she said

As art collectors, the artwork above the bathtub was one of the many pieces the homeowners had displayed in their home, and Roxanne and her team found the perfect spot for this one, which complemented the marble wall perfectly while adding a unique element.

“It kind of plays into the sensuality of the space, complementing the dark, moody, and mysterious [elements] of the design, so I thought it was perfect,” Roxanne said.

Another focal point of the design is the uniquely shaped mirror in the bathroom. The homeowners wanted two separate vanities with two separate styles, each to have its own “moment,” as Roxanne put it. Roxanne went to work drawing up a mirror shape that would create that wow factor moment. She worked with a local glass and door contractor who cut a custom shape, giving the vanity a one-of-a-kind personality.

“One thing that I enjoyed about this project was the ability to create lots of illusions,” Roxanne said. “Sometimes a simplistic-looking design can be a lot more intense than you would imagine.” The floating vanity and shelves are good examples of this, giving a sense of space and wonderment versus a standard design that meets the floor.

How Lighting Played A Role

The bedroom had a pre-existing vaulted ceiling, which Roxanne decided to enhance with beams and lighting to help elevate the space and add character. LED strip lights were used on the beams, cleverly hidden while still offering full personalization and dimming control.

Additionally, LED strips were added along the top and sides of the bedframe to show off the dimensions of the rock wall. “We wanted to allow the rock wall to show all of the different thicknesses and texture and highlight the moodiness and shadowing with lighting,” Roxanne said.

One lighting solution that Roxanne’s team added was toe kick lighting under the floating nightstands, a trending style that adds a layer of safety when walking around at night. Toe kick lighting was also added under the vanities in the bathroom and LED strips were hidden behind the mirrors to give backlighting.

Final Thoughts

When the homeowners were able to visit the completed project for the first time and interact within their space, the reactions were nothing short of ecstatic. “The clients are absolutely in love with it; it’s better than we could have ever imagined,” Roxanne said.

“Whenever you have a vision for something meaningful to you—to be that [creative] medium for a client is so inspiring. The fact that we were able to have such a jaw-dropping before and after from concept to execution is incredible.” The out-of-the-box approach of creating a lifelike rock wall, the custom-shaped vanities, and all of the lighting solutions illuminating and giving mood to the space are what made this project truly special—and we can’t wait to see what Roxanne and the Design 2 Sell team creates next.

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