A Bold & Bright RedoSep 29, 2022 04:09PM ● By Chris Christen
Photo by Bill Sitzmann
Chris Stout-Hazard loves debunking the myth.
“There’s a misconception in decorating—and it’s widespread—that people like neutrals. No one’s favorite color is beige.”
The design specialist and co-founder of Roger + Chris explains:
“Most of the time, when people talk about design, they’re repeating things that they’ve read or heard. ‘Calming. Bright. Clean. Works with everything.’ Those are buzzwords typically associated with beige.”
But giving the color wheel a spin reveals a multitude of harmonious possibilities for a home, its personality, and the lifestyle it suits.
“Our goal isn’t to bring our look or style to a project,” Chris said of the work that he and co-founder and husband Roger Hazard do as Roger + Chris. “Our goal is to draw out our clients’ style.”
And inevitably, help them build on it. After all, Roger + Chris is a design and furniture brand noted for bold and adventurous style. But Chris is quick to qualify that “we aren’t interior designers. We’re furniture manufacturers with a flair for design.”
Earlier this year, Chris and Roger helped friends make a handful of decisions and transition with confidence from a classic black-and-white interior to a lively remix of navy, ruby red, and mallard green. The impetus: the couple’s purchase of a 33-year-old West Omaha house with good bones and solid decorating potential.
“It was clear from their past décor that they liked contrast,” Chris said. “It was a matter of carrying that contrast into their current home.” The result—achieved largely by the wife’s eye for design—is a family-centric abode that’s harmonious, and welcoming. And, of course, full of color.
“These folks have tons of personal style and very sophisticated tastes,” Chris said. “Their home reflects that now.”
Here’s a little about the homeowners, who asked to be anonymous.
He’s in his early 40s; she’s in her early 30s. They’re both self-employed professionals and have an active household with two children, ages 8 months and 7 years, and a small dog.
The couple loves entertaining, especially during the holidays.
Last summer, with a second child on the way, they decided it was time for more living space. Their previous home near 114th and Pacific streets sold within two hours of being listed.
“We were not looking for a traditional-style house,” she said of house-hunting in Pacific Springs near 168th and Pacific streets.
“But the original owner of this house was an architect.” That piqued their curiosity.
The first delightful surprise: an artful chandelier in the two-story entryway—in the shape of an inverted artichoke.
The artichoke is significant in the husband’s family heritage. “It’s the cornerstone of the Feast of the Seven Fishes, which my family has celebrated on Christmas Eve for the past 106 years.”
The couple also loved the curved staircase overlooking the foyer and the white ceramic floor tile that flows from the entryway into the adjoining dining room. Specialty ceiling treatments, rift-cut white oak cabinetry, and a spacious kitchen also made their eyes light up. The most remarkable feature, however, was the primary bath and adjoining closet.
“When I walked in, I started crying,” she recalled. Her immediate thought: “It’s so spacious, I could have a dinner party up here.”
The couple could tell the house had massive potential.
“All homes can feel dated,” Chris assured them. “This one will be easy to make more current.”
The wife had an overall vision for the redo but tapped Chris in particular for creative inspiration and guidance.
While the homeowners’ tastes and needs drove design discussions and decisions, upholstered pieces from Roger + Chris were key to the overall aesthetic they sought.
Chris’ advice: A house should be adaptable to any given moment, like your personal wardrobe.
“Everything goes together without being matchy-matchy. I also love how I can move pieces from room to room to change up the look,” she said.
“Chris and Roger definitely influenced our use of color.”
Their previous house had black accent walls with pops of color largely in artwork. This house would take hues a lot further.
“I got scared a couple of times,” she said, laughing at the memory of considering navy blue paint for the fireplace wall and oak-trimmed coffered ceiling in the living room, and mallard-green paint for the built-in bookcase, walls, and trim in the library.
Selecting the perfect black wall paint for the piano room and entryway presented a challenge she didn’t expect.
“Not all black paints are equal,” she said. “I wasted so many paint samples, a Sherwin-Williams color specialist came to the house to help finalize the choice.
Trust in their decorator friends’ affirmations paid off.
“This house is my style with more direction,” she said.
Here’s an armchair tour.
The two-story vestibule has lots of natural light, thanks to a tall, arched window for architectural appeal. White, rectangular floor tiles and white paint on walls and trim add to the airiness. There’s stark drama, too, in a striking black staircase. And, of course, there’s that sculpted copper chandelier.
On the right, one's eyes are drawn to the music room’s accent wallpaper—Van Gogh-inspired peonies on a dark green background—and walls as black as iron ore. A black baby-grand piano and a cognac leather sofa by Roger + Chris also have starring roles here. While she was set on the black walls, her husband admits to initially being “iffy” about the choice. Today, he appreciates the harmony in the tableau.
The piano room wallpaper is repeated in the dining room, to mirrored effect. “I love symmetry,” the homeowner said. The space pops with coral-pink walls and ceiling, a pair of abstract still-life art prints, and an ornate antique gilded mirror.
The suggestion of a deep navy paint drew adamant objection from the male spousal unit of the household. “Now it’s one of my favorite features of the house,” he admitted.
Accent pillows in a navy-and-cream abstract print soften the punch of four conversation-sparking ruby-red chairs from Roger + Chris, arranged symmetrically in the middle of the space and balanced by a custom, black metal coffee table from their previous decor. A medium-blue block-cushion couch by Roger + Chris is go-to seating for TV viewing. Underfoot, a cowhide area rug adds texture and visual interest to the room. Directly across from the couch, a built-in credenza conceals or reveals the TV with the press of a button.
A tufted Higgins Chesterfield sofa by Roger + Chris in ruby-red commands a small space originally finished with honey oak paneling and cabinetry. Mallard-green unites the walls and bookcase. A bench upholstered in black angus cowhide doubles as coffee table and laptop computer desk for working from home. The sofa placement leaves just enough space for accessing the bookcase’s lower doors.
Cooking is a dream with professional-grade appliances and ample surfaces for meal prep and everyday dining. The immediate updates were a reimagined island and new countertops and backsplash.
The island, 10-feet by 4-feet, is twice the size of the original and topped with plain white quartz.
For the backsplash, the homeowners chose white handmade tile from Morocco. Installation, she said, was tedious because of the irregularity of the tiles. “It was a process.”
Rift-cut white oak cabinetry contributes to the kitchen’s light and airy feel. The only color—by design—comes through the windows and changes with the season.
“It’s a good reprieve from the rest of the house,” she said.
A section of original granite countertop from the kitchen was repurposed for the vanity. Wallpaper in a Van Gogh-inspired white blossom print keeps the space light and neutral.
PRIMARY BATH + CLOSET
“My husband is high energy, but I need a couple of relaxing spaces,” she said. The kitchen is one; the primary bath is the other.
Spa music plays in the background as she leads her visitor past a glorious soaking tub and into a walk-in closet with dreamy built-ins for clothing and accessories.
He’s sure their home, built in 1989, is never going to be “done.”
She’s starting to think about the lower level, now that they’ve been in the house a year and have some ideas on how the space might be used.
The week of this interview, the homeowners and pals Chris and Roger were talking through possibilities for the exterior. New shingles and paint were givens, but specifics would have to wait. Workers, however, were busy painting the wooden deck off the kitchen in a creamy white as an extension of the interior space.
Roger, as a favor, is consulting on a landscape design that’s likely to be implemented this fall.
The homeowners can’t wait for the exterior to meet up with the interior.
“We get a lot of satisfaction from the house,” the husband said. “I think it was meant to be ours.”
This article originally appeared in the October 2022 issue of Omaha Home magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.