High WaterMark

       It’s Chic. It’s Sprightly, and it’s the kind of ultra-sophisticated design that makes model-home visitors stop in their tracks. But while the feet may stop at the entrance to this marble-floored downtown wonder. The eye continues to travel into a space so open, so cleverly proportioned; youíd never know it was one of the smallest of the 96 units at the elegant WaterMark condominiums on G Street.
       The high ceilings help. So do the clean, architectural lines of the furnishings and the use of the slick materials like marble, glass and chrome. Interior designer Lisa Slayman started with the unit when it was just a schematic drawing. She sat down with developer Ted Odmark and architect David Lorimer to consider who the buyer would most probably be.
       “It would be an urban buyer, well-educated, well-traveled, with an interest in art and theater, we decided. Possibly a male. I love it and could happily live in it, but it might be a little severe for a lot of woman. So I designed with a man in mind,” Slayman says.
       She used every trick in the book to open up the space: light wall colors, hard surfaced materials like lacquer and marble, a pass-through counter area from living room to kitchen. The marble flooring extends throughout the living room, hall, kitchen and dining area without interruption — no cutoffs to define the areas for their separate functions. The marble squares were installed at a 45-degree angle — another designer’s trick to add to the illusion of space.
       The furnishings, though large, are clean and linear. “No heavy rolled arms on the sofa,” Slayman explains. “No fat, thick upholstery doesn’t go clear to the floor. The sofa sits on small chrome legs to give it a floating effect. The same with the bed, which seems to float because itís on a recessed platform.”
       Slayman chose a small pattern in an unusual geometric design for the sofa, but used no other patterns in the room. “If I’d used overscale furniture, busy floral patterns and dark colors, the space would have looked like a hole,” she says.
       Yet a great deal goes on in this room. Full-length windows with vertical blinds look out on a pleasant courtyard. A comfortable — and ample — seating arrangement faces a wall of built-ins accommodating a television and plenty of storage. An eating area features a chrome-and-glass dining set and strong, abstract art. Three cheerful barstools are pulled up to a hospitable kitchen counter. “Ted stressed that the person who lives in this unit should be able to work in the kitchen and chat with friends at the counter, and that the whole living space should be a part of the activity.”
       To warm the room — and to balance the use of so many hard-surfaced materials — she brought hot pink, turquoise and purple into the accessories. “I even got a little extra warmth by using fabric on the vertical blinds instead of vinyl,” she says. “Ted gave me a good art budget, for which I’m really grateful.” She chose strong, colorful art that “pops out from the neutral walls.” The accessories are handpicked from all over Southern California.