It was love at first sight for Dr. Dominick Storto whose home is drenched in natural light and fine European-style furnishings. Situated in the charming Haymount area, the traditional home, built in 1930, is surrounded by an elegant backdrop of mature trees and a winding brick wall. It wasn’t always as you see it today.
Several currently untouched rooms demonstrate just how far the home has come since he purchased it, only several years ago.
“I just saw a home that someone else had built and designed and tried to make the interior match what I found most appealing about the exterior,” Dr. Storto said humbly.
As you walk through the interior, halls of archways lead you from one refined room to the next. The colors in each room vary slightly, adding differentiation that still lends to an overall cohesive look. Replicas of European paintings hang on the walls, featuring dark, moody palettes with pops of vibrant red and blue. A combination of antique finds and brand new, skillfully crafted furniture are around every corner. Delicate décor has been carefully selected and placed; though each piece looks irreplaceable, he insists that the house is to be lived in.
“I love to entertain. I am trying to strike a balance between elegance, comfort, warmth and good taste to create an atmosphere that people want to be in, to be with one another—that is what life is all about.” Based on a traditional layout, there are multiple conversational areas for people to gather in each room. The size and proportion of furniture are fundamental to defining a seamless space, where people can move around.
“I want it to feel like home, for me and for everybody.” The kitchen was the project with the highest priority, since it tends to be the place where people gather to sit and chat or grab a bite to eat. Everything in the kitchen has changed, except the cabinets and even those received lighting and new hardware.
The home environment really beckons people to come, feel comfortable, eat well and leave satisfied. If the traditional design and furniture weren’t enough to whisk you away to your favorite European country, then the top items on the menu could certainly do the job.
“A typical dinner is either a center-cut white, pork roast with green-bean amandine, mashed potatoes and sauerkraut—a very German dish, my Italian grandmother’s traditional pasta with gravy and meatballs, or the traditional English roast beef dinner with potatoes and vegetables. I love it all, I am an aspiring cook; I have gotten a lot better.”
The house changes with the seasons through candle scents, décor and seasonal recipes.
“I love all the seasons.” Storto continued, “When everything is colorful and decorated, people come together…For Thanksgiving, I like to do all the traditional stuff… traditional.” He laughed, “You know, the turkey with all the trimmings.”
His traditional style has developed over decades of reading and travel. Many of his interior décor ideas have come from Europe, or older hotels, universities and private residences he has visited in America—the Bellevue Hotel in Philadelphia being a favorite.
“My faith is certainly a strong influence [as well]. I do feel blessed and see a lot of beauty in this house, though I try not to let temporal things define me. If you can come closer to God with the things of the world, then great, if you can’t then they are a waste of time.”
Next project: The dining room. “My goal is to have my family and all my friends, people dear to me, at the table for Christmas, Easter or another special occasion.”
The project results won’t be instantaneous, but just as the logistics take time to come together, good style and design take time to ripen to their truest potential.
“You have to make enough money for what you need, then charity and then what is left over you can use on yourself. So it all has priority and it all takes time,” he says as he walks around the room pointing out what he plans to change…a new paint job…a crystal chandelier. “You will need to come back and see it as it evolves,” he added with a smile. CV