I feel like we live in our weekend retreat,” says Matt Voelkel about his home on the outskirts of Covington, near St. Joseph Abbey.
The entrance to the Voelkel home is accented with a taupe awning on iron spears, a weathered bench, an olive jar and gas lanterns.
Matt, principal designer at studioMVdesigns, his wife Mimi and their three children, Carolyn, Charlotte and Christian, have resided in their home for more than nine years, having lived in Covington for nearly 15 years. “Matt designed this house for the setting,” says Mimi Voelkel. “We bought this property over 12 years ago dreaming of what we would build on it. We just love this part of Covington and the easy family living of the Northshore.”
The exterior of the house has cedar board and batten siding (also known as barn siding) that was stained grey, while adding to the farmhouse feel is the garage with sliding barn doors.
The home has a very functional, uncomplicated floor plan and the décor is stylish and family-friendly—and tested. There are scored concrete floors throughout, with a few rooms that have sisal or graphic wool rugs. “This is truly a family home. Our son Christian has been known to rollerblade all over the house, so why fuss when you can’t ruin concrete,” says Mimi.
The foyer entrance has a staircase with Shaker-style pine posts leading to the children’s bedrooms.
The house is defined by its openness to the outdoors and its clean lines. The décor in neutral tones is highlighted by select pieces in bright colors. Large windows and French doors ensure almost every room has a view of the woods. The space that best embodies this is the sunroom with its large windows that act as walls on two sides.
The master bedroom suite’s paneled, grey-green ultrasuede headboardis flanked by gold-and-grey striped curtain treatments that hide themaster bath and dressing closets. A British West Indies-style caned andebony-stained chair and ottoman face an antique English secretary.
An chandelier hangs above the dining table designed by Matt Voelkel. The linen-covered Parsons chairs are high skirted for a formal effect. A painting by Jane Maloney hangs above a family heirloom, a mahogany buffet, circa 1832, from Glasgow, Scotland.
“There is no drapery in the public areas of the house, as we have the privacy of living in the woods,” says Matt.
A Bernard Mattox sculpture—a gift from Mimi Voelkel to Matt Voelkel—stands by a door to the pool area, which is connected to the house by an arbor.
Matt’s talent is ever present, as he was the designer for the house (he has a degree in architecture), as well as the decorator. Throughout are Matt’s furniture designs, such as the dining room table consisting of two plain white pedestals topped with Carrera marble. It provides a canvas on which any combination of china, flatware and other decorative elements can dress up. The coffee table in the living room is another design. Matt and the members of his firm can design furniture and customize it to fit certain spaces.
The family room gets a lot of natural light from a “wall” of windows.
A pair of Four Seasons couches is covered in Belgian linen.
“I wanted a contemporary farmhouse in its natural wooded surroundings, just simple and clean,” says Matt.
And he accomplished just that, by melding the beauty of the natural world with that of the modern.
In the center of the family room’s bookcase is a portrait of motherand child by Matt Voelkel, and was a gift to Mimi after the birth oftheir first child. The passageway to the dining room is on the left,the kitchen on the right.
The kitchen’s white concrete Portland cement countertops complement the WoodMode “Brookhaven” cabinets with an eggshell finish from Cabinets by Design. The stainless-steel refrigerator is SubZero and the cooktop is Dacor.
The iron and glass top coffee table created by Matt Voelkel is placed on top of a sisal rug in the family room.