Family-Friendly Design Meets Modern Style in this Malvern Home

With help from Ardmore-based Viola Interior Design, this local couple was able to get the best of both worlds in their custom-built home.


Malvern Pennsylvania formal living room modern design

Photographs by Tom Crane.

When Jack and Randi Kazanjian tied the knot, they began envisioning the children they’d have and wanted to transform their Malvern home to meet their changing needs. A stylish modern woman, Randi wanted to give their home—which was traditional, with a dash of Tuscan style—a sophisticated, updated look.

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An orthopedic surgeon, Jack built the large custom home on a private wooded lot before they wed, infusing it with his own aesthetic. Together, they re-envisioned the house with a comfortable, contemporary family area. The formal rooms could wait.

“We prioritized our wish list based on our young and growing family’s needs,” says Randi. “We wanted a formal living room and dining room, so those areas were the last phase of our project to be designed.”

They had to decide which high-quality, almost-new elements to retain and which to replace. To come up with a plan, they turned to Maria Viola-Kuttruff of Viola Interior Design in Ardmore.

“Often, designers go into a home where a style is already established,” says Viola-Kuttruff. “You have to artfully maneuver around those things to get where the owner wants to be.”

Fittingly, Randi served as the inspiration. “She’s very hip and stylish and has an adventurous spirit,” Viola-Kuttruff says. “When I meet with homeowners, I look at what they’re wearing. I talk with them about their style, what they’re drawn to.”

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Luxe Living

Rather than tear out the crown molding and raised-panel fireplace mantel in the formal living room, the couple opted to keep them. The ceiling—embellished with moldings and painted in two complementary shades of beige—also stayed.

To create a luxe living room, Viola-Kuttruff balanced the existing strong angles with new curves. Two silver velvet sofas with gracefully arched fronts and backs now flank the fireplace, and a pair of circular metal tables with mirrored tops are reminiscent of cuff bracelets the owner might wear. Round acrylic end tables on pedestals add more curves and sparkle. A small frame chair is softened with a lamb’s fleece cushion that “looks like something you might wrap around your neck in the winter,” says Viola-Kuttruff.

Malvern Pennsylvania formal living room modern design Malvern Pennsylvania formal living room modern design

Silk pillows in yellow gold on the sofas and a small bench in front of the fireplace add glamorous pops of color. Organic prints in sepia tones are grouped on the wall behind the sofa, mirroring the art above the mantel.

With floor-to-ceiling divided-light windows, it’s a grand space. Viola-Kuttruff dressed the windows in simple floor-to-ceiling panels of grey silk, trimmed with a bold band in black and silver. “They needed some oomph, and the band is distinctive,” she says.

Grounding the space is a one-of-a-kind rug with wide, figured stripes of silver and blue, designed by Parisa Abdollahi of Philadelphia. “It has traditional roots and classic influences, yet is totally today,” says Viola-Kuttruff.

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Overhead, a lighting fixture is flush mounted so it doesn’t compete with the art or a large chandelier in the adjoining foyer. The designer discovered the piece at a trade show. Its metal rays emanate from a glowing glass dome. “[It was] one of those moments when you see something and say, ‘That’s it.’”

Sparkle and Shine

The original foyer chandelier was Tuscan style, forged from wrought iron like the turned spindles on the staircase. And while the new design retained the staircase, the old lighting fixture was swapped for a dramatic contemporary swirl of shimmering silver.

Malvern Pennsylvania foyer modern design Malvern Pennsylvania metallic branch motif modern design

Elsewhere, two shelves with a metallic branch motif display white ginger jars. Just below, ceramic pears are arranged on a wooden platter atop a silver-leafed chest, “the little touches that give a room life.”

In the formal dining room, Viola-Kuttruff revved up the existing wainscoting and grasscloth wall coverings with a pair of pendant-style chandeliers studded with crystals. For a little extra shine, she added a glass-and-chrome console table.

Malvern Pennsylvania formal dining room modern design

The upholstered dining chairs needed only a treatment to resist stains. The table, however, got a makeover. Viola-Kuttruff worked with the manufacturer to apply a metallic silver finish over the legs and inset wood detailing, staining the rest of the wood in deep, rich ebony. “I loved the detailing, but you couldn’t really see it in a table where the whole thing is stained the same color,” she says. “So we showed it off—and now no one else has that table.”

Malvern Pennsylvania formal dining room modern design

Room With a View

The home already had a large powder room with a separate water closet. Randi didn’t like the idea of a traditional vanity, so Viola-Kuttruff opted for a sleek countertop with open shelving, bringing in a woodworker to craft it on-site. “In a powder room, you don’t have to store bath towels and shampoos,” she says. “You don’t have to worry about hiding things away.”

A leather box holds spare hand towels and toilet paper and an aqua art ceramic vase is displayed on the countertop beside a glass vessel sink. A silver tray reflects the sheen of the faucets.

Malvern Pennsylvania powder room modern design

Because the house is on a private, wooded lot, Viola-Kuttruff designed a window treatment that doesn’t obstruct the view. Its cascade of shear fabric is secured with leather-studded straps.

The updated spaces mean the Kanzanjians can host their expansive family and friends in a welcoming—and fashionable—setting.

“Maria was great at being able to incorporate our taste while providing suggestions and guidance that elevated the success of our project,” Randi says. “We love the modern space she has created for us in our home.”

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