East By Westin
Contemporary condo in Virginia Beach blends style and stunning views.
From Claus Ihlemann and Robert Roman’s 35th-floor balcony at The Residences at The Westin in Virginia Beach’s Town Center, both the Norfolk skyline and the Virginia Beach Oceanfront are clearly in view. But, as stunning as this panoramic 180-degree sweep is, Mother Nature has some stiff competition from what lies just inside.
Owners of Decorum furniture stores in Norfolk and Virginia Beach, Ihlemann and Roman know contemporary furniture. But if you imagine their new home to read like a furniture store showroom, you would be mistaken. Yes, Decorum resources are largely responsible for the furnishings in this 2,700-square-foot condominium, but it looks and feels like an inviting, comein- and-take-your-shoes-off home, albeit a stylish one at an exclusive address.
Only with one’s shoes off can the “modern day shag rug” that anchors the main living space be fully appreciated. But if you lounge on the floor, you’ll miss the embrace of a long, lean, L-shaped Natuzzi Italia cream-colored leather sofa with an articulating back. It is perfectly situated to allow homeowners and guests alike to drink in the west- and southern-facing views which, at night, according to Roman, “make you feel like you’re in a major metropolitan area.” A sleek fireplace and an Oggetti side chair, whose laminated layers of light and dark-toned rattan form an eye-popping spiral design softened by the organic nature of the materials, contributes to that urban-urbane factor.
When Ihlemann and Roman decided to leave their suburban home on the Norfolk waterfront for something a little more cosmopolitan— originally thinking they would move to downtown Norfolk or Ghent— deal-breakers included a lack of natural gas-powered kitchen appliances, a lack of secure parking, and a lack of convenient parking for guests. At the Westin, they got all of that and more, yet the true selling points differed for each homeowner. For Roman it was the laundry room which is, admittedly, pretty spiffy. For Ihlemann, the particular unit and its amenities, the 9-foot ceilings and the 8-foot doors did the trick.
But there is much to covet. The home’s warm, masculine color palette is a yummy blend of vanilla, caramel, amber and coffee tones. Off-white walls, wide plank mahogany floors in the living spaces, neutral tile and stone in the bathrooms, and light neutral Berber carpet in the bedrooms create cohesion with just enough clean contrast throughout. “I love everything about carpet in a bedroom,” notes Ihlemann, citing a “cocooning” effect.