For today’s Beyond the Build, we spoke with Raena Strohmaier, Owner and President of Strohmaier Construction about the building process behind her personal home, referred to as the Rolling Stone project.

From an exterior filled with juxtaposing elements, to an interior with color and unique design elements around every corner, Rolling Stone gives new meaning to a bold build.

Let’s take a look at what went into this design.

Walk us through your process – what is the first step to building a home for a customer?

It really depends on the client specifically, but the first call or meeting is generally our team educating the client on the process of building in general. For most people it’s the first time going through it, and they tend to be overwhelmed. We get it!

Sitting down and walking through the process start to finish helps ease these concerns, and our team often goes through the entire pre-construction and pre-build processes with clients, from getting land, to permitting, to selecting an architect, to getting a construction loan, and finally, diving into products. Next, we go through interior design with our in-house design team.

We like to give as much information as possible to ensure our clients are happy.

How would you describe the work that Strohmaier produces? Do you have a certain style you abide by, or is each project unique?

We strive to provide intentional design and builds. Each project is unique and specific to the client, and is fully custom. We are always sure to utilize their own style, preferences and consider how they function in their home to drive the design. I would say we don’t have a specific build or design style, but we are always very hands on, patient and provide our clients with a voice of reason.

How do you help a client identify their style when building and designing their home?

This can be a challenge! People use different terms interchangeably with different meanings, making it hard to identify someone’s preferences simply based on a design term. Each person has a different idea of what Modern, Farmhouse and Rustic mean, and may interpret the design elements differently. It’s less about the label and more about the individual pieces or elements a person loves.

To get a true idea of what they like, we ask our clients to share images they are drawn to or completely love. From there, we work to pull out the trends we’re seeing to create a new concept board and revisit with them to then pull out the trends they are leaning toward. Constant communication and active involvement are key.

What was the inspiration behind the Rolling Stone project?

This is my own home, so I used it as an opportunity to mix all the things my husband and I love and mix the things we love about different styles. My husband tends to prefer a Modern look, while I’m more Classic – I love Tudor homes! Rolling Stone is representative of the elements that spoke to both of us all tied into a cohesive design.

Rolling Stone is full of bold design elements – what is your strategy for building a home that is bold, yet balanced?

Everyone has the goal to create a timeless look, but adding in bold pieces makes it feel exciting, relevant and current. For our home, we talked to our design team about this, and it’s something we apply to all projects.

As far as strategy, we like to pick things that are easy to fix as styles change over time. Lighting, for example, is a really fun place to be bold and extravagant, and is something that can be easily swapped out as styles and preferences change. A bold, fun wallpaper can really change the entire look of a room.

Why did you choose to feature Thermador in the kitchen?

Thermador has a great reputation and is a brand we have selected in numerous other projects. We love the brand both for the design and function – everything works so well and has a variety of special features, yet the design looks beautiful in any space.

We specifically selected the Panel Ready Refrigeration so it can blend into the kitchen design, and we loved the bold look of the Range. It works well with the overall design, yet it can really be the star of the show on its own.

What is your favorite feature of the Rolling Stone project?

The kitchen for sure – I think it is everybody’s favorite room! I love a stunning kitchen. In this house, it’s in the middle of the great room, so it’s really the focal point of the entire house.

My favorite feature in the kitchen is the use of the Macchia Vecchia porcelain. It looks like real marble without the drawbacks. It’s stunning, bold and dramatic and pulls the entire house together. All the hard surfaces, finishes and décor go back to that focal point.

If you are looking to make a space with impact, which items do you go bold on and where do you stay more minimal/classic?

This is very specific to each person and each space. The goal here is balance – all great design is about balance.

One way to make a bold impact is to pull in specific elements to create drama, intrigue and interest, while keeping at least an equal amount of design elements more subtle. If a client is apprehensive to go bold, we choose things that are easier to change later.

At the end of the day, I always say just go for it! Usually, these risks become the favorite parts of a build or design. In design, there’s no such thing as totally safe or timeless – there will always be trends, and even elements that come back in style usually do so in a new, refreshed way. Pink bathrooms trended in the 1950s, for example, but the pink tile in our bathroom is definitely an updated reflection of that trend.

What building and design trends are you loving right now, and what do you forecast for the upcoming year?

We are really loving natural stone, and porcelain that looks like natural stone – big, bold pieces of natural stone with extravagant patterns. We’re seeing it used in more dramatic ways, and in larger places and spaces.

This is a trend in kitchens – I have seen a lot more backsplashes with marble or porcelain. We are also seeing vanities made of porcelain or stone in bathrooms, and we are even seeing it in fireplaces!

I think we’ll continue to see it and incorporate it in upcoming projects for sure. Lots of fun!

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