Jacinthe Soloman grew up in New Jersey, but Arizona is home. And helping others create that sense of home in Arizona is more than a passion. In fact, Soloman and her business partner Sylvia Mansour developed their passion for design into a business—Brass & Ivy Interiors (BrassAndIvyInteriors.com). We recently chatted with Soloman at her own home in North Peoria to get some of her tips for making your space one you can love and call home.
About the Solomans
Soloman first discovered Arizona when she attended college at ASU. After graduating as a dietician, she returned to New York for an internship. While there, Soloman met her future husband, Dr. Nehad Soloman, who was completing his medical degree at SUNY StonyBrook. After they married and he finished his residency in New York, Soloman wanted to return to Arizona.
"I finally sat him down and told him I had to move back to Arizona," Soloman recounts. That was in 2000, and the couple never looked back. They have three children, ranging in age from 10 to 19. They lived in the same home for 15 years, but Soloman wanted to design a new home. They started looking at places to build and fell in love with a spot in West Wing. Construction began in October 2019.
Creating a space they all loved was important, especially since they were leaving the only home the kids had ever known. Soloman said all of them were apprehensive about the move. "I told them that I didn't want them to be afraid of change. Change can be very good. Since we've moved, all three of them have told me they're so glad we did."
Creating Open & Inviting Spaces
Soloman works with clients to find out how they use their homes. She asks them how they move in the spaces. She discusses their lifestyles. She also considers the outdoor space and if that should play a role in the interior design. All of that was equally important for the Soloman family.
"We wanted an open concept. We came up with this great room leading into the kitchen. I designed the breakfast nook first," Soloman explains. "We built the room around that. I wanted to bring that out and capture the views. I knew I wanted an arched window."
Creating Unique Spaces
"I love to incorporate a window seat anywhere I can," Soloman explains. "It brings the family together. It's cozy. And it also offers storage with either cabinets or drawers underneath."
Soloman loves adding pillows. She suggests choosing a variety of shapes and textures to add comfort as well as interest.
Lighting is another aspect where little touches can make all the difference. "I look at lighting as jewelry," Soloman says as she points to the crystal drop lights over her kitchen island. "In my kitchen, I wanted something elegant and fancy. You choose lights by looking at the homeowner's personality along with the size and the backdrop of the room."
Creating Custom Touches
Soloman points out some of the unique features she incorporated in her home, including the dining room ceilings.
"We were in Venice, and I looked up and saw those growing vaulted ceilings. I was taking pictures of ceilings everywhere I went. I knew we had to incorporate those in our home."
She explains that finding those little touches and adding them to a client's home is what takes a residence from house to home.
Soloman moves to her nearby laundry room that also serves as an office, craft room and a space for the pets to hang out. She created a custom split barn door to corral the dog if necessary, but not lock him away. She has little niches for the water and food that keep it accessible for the pets but out of people's way. She also added a pass-through door into the master closet so there is no need to traipse through the house with laundry.
Adding Unique Personality
Soloman says it's easy to incorporate personal touches in any home, even those that might not fit the overall design scheme. She points to a Spanish staircase tucked away off a back hallway. It is complete with decorative tiles and wrought-iron handrails.
"I wanted a Spanish staircase," she laughs, "but my husband wasn't a fan." She was able to add her own touch without it being a major part of the home design. It leads to a single upstairs game room and outdoor balcony.
Another place where it was easy to incorporate all of the home's residents was in what she calls the "teen room." Situated off the main living space, it is a more casual gathering area. "It's nice and cozy and fun," she explains. "We have a theater room off the side because and the kids end up there with their friends." Each child has a room and full bath leading off the teen room, which they decorated themselves.
When people have an idea of what they want, but can't crystallize what to do with a space, Brass & Ivy Interiors helps them refine the vision. Often the key to bringing that vision to life is incorporating elements the homeowner never even considered.
Soloman waves her arms in her completed custom home. "I love a challenge."