Interior Design: Adam Hunter
Text: Arianne Nardo
Photography: Trevor Tondro
Being ahead of the design curve is usually a private glory, party of one. Adam Hunter was so immersed in the details of the ground-up build of his client’s Nashville estate that he wasn’t focused on conjuring a name for its style. “It truly was ‘modern barn’ before that became a term,” says Hunter. Relying on instinct versus a crystal ball, Hunter had the jump on the look by at least seven years—a lifetime before it would surge into a trend.
Given the grounds, an ambling, 350-acre idyll and the clients—a stylish Los Angeles couple—the project couldn’t be a familiar cover of country living. “Every moment of that house feels very, very bespoke,” says Hunter, who collaborated closely with architect Steve Giannetti to calibrate this new iteration. “We would sit out on the property and choose the location of the house based on where the sun would hit. We marked with stakes where the living room would be brightest. It really was a magical experience,” says Hunter, who spent years on the Broadway stage before falling into the arms of interior design.
With its voluminous living area, urbane lounge and a pool house so mesmerizing that could knock any five-star hotel off its Best Of perch, the house is an atypical blend of architectural heft and gorgeous materials. Playing with the concept of a glass house contrasted by a cottage, Hunter explored a different version of rustic, punctuated with the right industrial elements. “Having this organic and textural backdrop was just magnificent and really allowed me to create,” he says. The steel doors and gun metal hues informed the palette of the exterior, “then we juxtaposed it with this graham cracker, cottage-like stone.”
The kitchen (one of his all-time favorites) was a custom escapade with metal specialists Amuneal. Glass and metal cabinets were mounted in front of the windows, evoking the duality of display, where stemware, tabletop and scenic views enjoy equal billing. Even the root beer hue of the cabinets was rendered carefully. “I played with the sheen,” Hunter says. “When the light catches it, it just gleams.” Pendants from Holly Hunt have a hand in that effect, situated over kitchen stools dressed in a geometric Rosemary Hallgarten fabric from Thomas Lavin. The bold Calacatta Viola suited the husband, who loves color. Hunter notes that an all-marble hood was also a less common at the time. The same can be said of the cerused white oak he selected in a gray wash for the great room, which stretches through the kitchen and dining and living areas. A now ubiquitous finish, Hunter wanted it to appear contemporary and concrete-like. Undisputedly original is the custom teal lacquered dining table by Bespoke Furniture, a zingy moment of color among the bronze double fireplaces and soaring, triple-height ceilings in the living area.
Reveling in the unexpected, Hunter moved between statement and subtlety for the interiors. His chic but rebellious code was unleashed in the family room, where sublime leather walls from British purveyor Bill Amberg were trimmed with a metal grid. That color, though. “Batman blue” at the homeowner’s request, says Hunter, who is an unabashed superhero fan, declaring, “all roads lead to Wonder Woman for me.” (Even the pool house’s ceiling was inspired by the crystal elements in a pivotal scene from the original Superman.)
In the club lounge, oxblood lacquered walls vibe with patterned Pierre Frey drapery and a faceted Blackman Cruz fixture that gestures to the husband’s geode collection. In the primary bedroom, Hunter summoned a little trompe l’oeil with blossoms on the Janet Yonaty silk embroidered wallpaper transitioning onto the custom leather headboard. Rather than install visible speakers in the theater room, he had the millwork perforated for acoustics and repeated the pattern in a dotted Anthony Monaco carpet. Rugs from the Rug Company were placed throughout, including Hunter’s verifiable design hit, Smoke.
One of Hunter’s signatures in the home is his choice of lighting. “I love huge fixtures that are translucent—that’s my Wonder Woman invisible jet mode.” An elegant crystal piece from A. Rudin crowns the wife’s primary bath, a pair of Holly Hunt swing-arm sconces flank the bed in the primary bedroom, and a group of Urban Electric Beacon pendants set the tone in the entry. Hunter created a custom geometric fixture with Bespoke for the family room, inspired by French 1940s lighting.
The pool house is its own architectural marvel, with a staggering motorized glass ceiling for sleeping or swimming under the stars, the designer says. Awash in an azure, “Everything was saturated in beautiful pool glass tile,” he says of the pool and bath area. At the bottom of the pool an ombré pattern shifts from navy to light blue. A wall of tile arranged in a herringbone pattern glistens near a set of Manta Ray daybeds from Holly Hunt. “We wanted pieces to feel upholstered and not at all like pool furniture,” Hunter says. Of course, with Dedon’s Swing chairs and Hunter’s sophisticated take on the indoor/outdoor experience, the space is light years away from average. Adam Hunter, adamhunter.com