The Porter family’s Oakdale home is a symphonious sanctuary.
When Cara Porter plays classical melodies on her Kawai piano, it feels like home. True, the piano was a special gift from her husband, but the instrument strikes another familiar chord.
“I had wanted a Kawai because that’s the first piano my dad bought when my parents got married in 1980,” Porter said. “It’s the same make and model of the piano I grew up playing in my childhood home.”
Cara and Beau Porter’s Oakdale home reflects their appreciation of music and design. In addition to the piano, their music room showcases stringed instruments poised for Beau Porter to pick and play. Deep blue walls, contrasted by an iconic Eames lounge chair and ottoman in white leather, set the stage — and music abounds.
“Every single night one of us is in there, either my husband playing guitar, or I’ll play the piano, and then the kids will dance around us, being crazy, whenever we’re doing that,” she said with a laugh. “We are not amazing (musicians) by any means, but we do enjoy it.”
The Porters purchased the home as the footings were going in, so they had the opportunity to customize plans and finishes. With so many decisions to make, they asked Molly Cooke with Molly Cooke Interiors to guide them.
“Molly really helped buffer against decision fatigue and also lowered the stress level of everything dramatically, because I knew at the end of the process, it was all going to look good together,” Porter said.
One design goal was to create a retreat for the couple to relax after a busy work day. (Beau Porter is a dentist; Cara Porter is an anesthesiologist.) Cooke applied soothing neutrals throughout the home while layering in various textures, colors and patterns.
“I have a very moody and kind of masculine style,” Porter said. “I don’t like a lot of femininity, but I do like a little bit — and I feel like Molly captured that very well.” She noted the bedroom as a prime example. “It’s got vaulted ceilings and there’s no one above us, so it’s nice and quiet. When the kids are down for naps on the weekends, it’s where I go to hide out and recharge for a couple hours.”
Porter also appreciates the home’s light fixtures. Each one perfectly complements each room, she said. Cooke agrees that just the right selection can elevate a design, and she found pieces to highlight the cathedral ceilings in the primary bedroom and living room.
The formal dining room and music room, situated just off the entry, present bolder designs. The dining room features an extra-heavy grass-cloth wallcovering by Mark Alexander, juxtaposed with a whimsical Moooi chandelier that seems to flutter midair.
For the music room, Beau Porter went back and forth with Cooke on which Kawai to purchase. They both knew picking the right piano was key.
“The one that they went with was very modern-looking — very current and classic at the same time. I just absolutely loved it,” Cooke said. “When they ordered that [piano], I could automatically see the Eames chair with it.”
Today, you may find Beau Porter sitting on that chair, guitar in his lap, or Cara Porter may be playing. Or perhaps it’s 4-year-old Hugh perched at the piano, pounding through a lesson. It’s his turn to learn, and undoubtedly his little sister will be next. In this home, that’s music to the ears.