The Garden District team recently sat down with Maika Winter, the designer behind our chic and sophisticated Parkview Residences, to learn about her inspiration for these luxury condos.
Tell us about your background in design.
I loved to draw when I was growing up, and I loved buildings. So I chose to study Architecture and Design, because it combined those things – along with psychology, which I also enjoy. I completed my BS in Design with a Minor in Architecture at the University of Cincinnati, interning with some hospitality design firms as well as for an architect in Taos, New Mexico where I had an amazing hands-on experience building eco-friendly solar powered homes. After several trips abroad and working in New Mexico, I became aware of how drastically different design and architecture were outside the Midwest, and moved to California, where I designed custom homes on the Central Coast. I later relocated to Arizona, and have worked in the luxury design market in some capacity ever since, doing hotels, restaurants, golf clubs, custom homes, and condominiums for several design and architecture firms, before going out on my own with Wintercreative.
How would you describe your own style?
In short – eclectic, clean, soft, contemporary. I gravitate toward a “casual western-contemporary” aesthetic (my made-up name for it). I love how the western regions combine the textures, materials and character of their natural environment with the clean lines of contemporary design and architecture. I appreciate a space that tells a story in a distinctive, uncluttered way, especially if it incorporates ethnic, aged, or collected objects within it. Contemporary design really comes to life when it’s softened with a beautiful hand-knotted vintage rug, an old carved wood door, or a collection of baskets.
When designing a new project, what is the most important factor for you?
That we give it a personality and a soul, something that speaks to its users.
What was the most exciting part of being involved in the design and planning of the Parkview Residences?
What I think interests me the most about Parkview is the larger master plan that it’s a part of. You move through the community and you see different “pockets” that evoke a sense of history and a specific period of time, just as you would in a city like New York or Boston. This is challenging when you’re doing it in a suburban context that doesn’t have that “visual history” already built in. It is done in a way that is subtle and natural, and has an established identity that is much richer than many suburban communities you see. It’s exciting to be a part of that, and contribute to it.
What are some of the design features that owners can look forward to while living at The Parkview Residences?
Parkview has a multitude of amenities and design features which really set it apart. Residential amenities include a rooftop pool, gourmet chef’s kitchen and private dining room for entertaining larger groups of guests, yoga studio and private fitness area, plus a variety of lounge areas that really expand the boundaries of each residence for those that live there. The goal is to create a sense of “home” as soon as residents walk through the main door. There will be varied ambiances so that whatever mood you’re in, there is a place to relax, socialize, read, etc.
Private residences feature some great on-trend design elements, combined with classic detailing. Our kitchens have some wonderful options, including “waterfall” slab kitchen counters, Sub Zero & Wolf appliances, built-in cabinetry options for pantry storage or wet bar, integrated plug-in stations for mobile devices, and farmhouse kitchen sinks.
In baths, residents will enjoy walk-in showers with wall and rain showerheads, wall-mounted faucets, radiant floor heating, and fog-resistant LED mirrors.
We really see these as custom homes, so we tried to think of everything a homeowner might want – extra tall baseboards, light sensors in closets and pantries, spice drawers, dual dishwashers, and built-in coffeemakers. Some special features I like are the “feature” kitchen islands, which use an alternate cabinet color and slab to make it more like a statement piece of furniture, large walk-in closets that are beautifully appointed, cove-lit raised ceilings, and gorgeous custom metal vent hoods in the kitchens.
The Parkview Residences offer 3 color palettes for owners to choose from. Can you describe your inspiration behind the 3 versions?
We wanted something classic and neutral that appeals to all tastes, whether Modern, Transitional, or Traditional. These palettes are meant to be versatile, regardless of your style. Each one is focused around a beautiful natural stone – The French Grey palette centers on a warm, taupe colored vein-cut travertine. Calacatta is our white marble palette, which is pretty trendy right now yet also very timeless. And the Ocean Blue palette was built around a stone with large veining and movement, and a hint of grey-blue.
Which one is your favorite palette?
If I had to choose, I would probably say the Ocean Blue. I’m a little obsessed with the kitchen slab, and the washed grey oak floors are warm and beautiful.
What are some of the things that influence you, aside from interior design and space planning?
It probably sounds strange, but I am influenced the most by people – how our social habits and responses to stimuli change as the world around us changes. Designers have a responsibility to create spaces that make their users feel good, and the ability to do this is impacted by how people respond to each other and what’s around them. It’s always changing.
I am also influenced by anything unique I can find about a project that might tell a good story to the user—even subconsciously. The layers of dirt in the Grand Canyon, a design in the sand created by a snake moving through it, the bark patterns of a tree growing on a particular property. Tiny things people wouldn’t normally think about can often result in great design. People can sense when design has depth to it – even if they don’t make that conscious connection.
Has your style evolved over time?
My style has always been pretty contemporary, but it’s become more well-rounded and casual as I’ve lived in different places (maybe age affects this too). Each place I’ve been has left an impression and added to what was there before. My mother was an antique dealer, so I’ve always had an appreciation for “old stuff.” I’m just drawn to it, it feels good to me. I try to incorporate hand-crafted and older materials into projects whenever possible.
Which designers, architects or interior designers do you admire, and why?
Arizona architect Rick Joy and his “desert modern” rammed earth houses – he’s created a style all his own, minimal and natural. SoCal architect John Lautner – his buildings literally defy gravity. They’re like crazy works of art, even more so when you’re standing inside. And E. Fay Jones – his glass chapels are like buildings made of Pick-Up-Sticks, delicate and awe-inspiring.
To learn more about Maika Winter, visit her website at Wintercreative.net.