Hope you’re ready for some eye candy today! I’m so excited to share a new project that I worked on for most of the spring and wrapped up in early summer. This family of five has lived in the home for a few years but as is often the case with busy, young families, they hadn’t quite gotten around to making it their own. They were living with lots of the former homeowner’s choices – overly decorative swagg-y window treatments, dark earth tone paint colors and rugs, etc. Some spaces like the master bedroom and dining room we totally overhauled. Others like the formal living room and office just got reinvigorated with paint, wallpaper and accessories. All of them turned out so dramatically different from where we started you won’t believe some of the side by side comparisons. Let’s get into it!
*all before pics by me. pretty after pics by Jessica Delaney Photography*
The master bedroom was formerly a really dark space. It doesn’t get a lot of natural light to begin with but the dark wood furniture set, sage green walls, beige rug and cranberry accents were not helping matters at all. And woah, hello Pottery Barn circa 2000 right? We all LOVED this look 15 years ago but now it looks so heavy and tired. Time for a refresh! My first order of business was getting rid of that rug. It had definitely seen better days and its size and solid all-over color made it read more like wall to wall carpet then an area rug. They have beautiful hardwood floors throughout the house and you could barely even see them in this room. From there I focused on giving them a much brighter overall look. Lighter walls, lighter furniture and yes…I even added a light. There was no ceiling light other than recessed cans prior to this project! The other big change I made was with the seating. They previously had 2 chairs on the wall where they now have a dresser. The room is plenty big and moving the seating to the end of the bed (and directly across from the door to the room) made for a much nicer, more gracious entrance. You see this view from down the hall and it’s like a great big exhale as you approach the room.
How is this the same room right?
Before we head downstairs, let’s look at this landing they have on the second floor. Again, it was dark and there was this brown, swirly patterned runner that ran the entire length of the stairs and all over the upstairs hall. The window treatment and bench seat were holdovers from the former owners who left it behind. That was all an easy enough change but what really bugged me about this space was the lighting. Even though the two story foyer is large, the light was not but the railing on the right made it so I couldn’t go huge on a light in this position. Even though it WAS centered over the front door, when you were actually standing downstairs at the door, it didn’t feel centered because that whole space over the stairs was empty. And when you were standing on the second floor looking toward the front of the house (as I am in the before photo below) it all felt “off”. Having just one fixture was never going to fix my issue so instead I decided to hang a grouping of lights and varying heights to hold the whole space better. I really give my clients a lot of credit…I proposed the idea and without so much as a sketch, they went for it. It really took this whole space to another level.
I gasped out loud when I walked in there for the first time and saw them up! The entire foyer got a fresh coat of paint, as did the built-ins. New window treatment, bench seat and sconces and it looks just as good from the second floor as it does from the foyer.
Also, goodbye old runner!
Moving downstairs! Right off their kitchen they have this awesome home office. It’s a nice, large room but its location right off the kitchen (with a door you can close!) had over time made this room just a dumping ground for things to be “dealt with later”. They were ready to reclaim this room as more than just storage and were game for really taking some risks and making it different. After a little digging, I discovered they didn’t even really use the room as an office and were happy to turn it into space both the husband and wife could enjoy. I dubbed the room the “glam cave” because while it still has many of his favorite pieces of golf memorabilia, a comfy leather chair, humidors, etc it definitely got a WOW makeover. He was very clear that he didn’t want your traditional plaids and tweeds and taxidermy, etc…all those stereotypical things you think of when you think of a masculine office I guess you could say. He wanted something different and unexpected. Say no more, sir! We picked a high energy, anything but boring wallpaper and then painted all the built-ins (bye cherry!) a color to coordinate. Ditching the big wood desk let me make the floor plan all about lounging. Plus there’s already a small desk spot integrated into the built-ins so it can technically still function as a work space if they need it to but that’s not the focus. With the addition of some crown molding, a great statement ceiling light, a chair for her and a whole lot of accessories and this room is barely recognizable. It’s so bold and unique, I LOVE IT. And I surprised even myself by leaving the window bare. Y’all know I love window treatments but the impact of the paper and the newly painted built-in was so strong, it really didn’t need anything more.
Gah!!! I love these side by side before & afters!
Off the foyer there are formal rooms to your left and right. To the right is the dining room and completely inexplicably I don’t have any before shots of the whole room. Ugh, I’m so mad when this happens. I think originally were were just talking about replacing the sideboard but you know how that domino effect goes…you finish one room and then the one next to it just looks sad and forgotten.
They moved into this home with these furniture pieces and just recreated the paint scheme they had in the old dining room. Raise your hand if you’re guilty of this? The old “I just can’t deal right now and it worked before so let’s just do it again” method! They have really beautiful millwork in this room but it wasn’t looking as special as I knew it could. The chandelier is vintage and they’ve had it for many years so it was a non-negotiable – it had to stay and I let it set the tone for a formal, traditional New England dining space BUT with a strong dose of color and fun. This isn’t some stodgy dining room and I love that right at the front door you get a taste of this family’s personality. After auditioning quite a few wallpaper contenders, we settled on this incredible floral. It has so many colors to work with which was key because you can see the foyer and the living room across the hall from this room (more on that in a minute). I decided to pick up on the dusty, federal blue color in the paper for the millwork. I love that it coordinates but tones down the playfulness of the paper. We reused their existing host chairs and the chandelier (with different shades) but everything around them is new – the table, side chairs, sideboard, mirror and HELLO! look at those lamps. They’re perfect and vintage and lucite and yes, those are their original magenta silk dupioni shades that, by the grace of the decorating gods, match perfectly with the deep pink in the wallpaper. They seriously might be the best vintage find I’ve ever had. They are competing hard for my favorite element in the room but the drapes with those multi-blue pompoms is giving them a run for their money.
On the other side of the foyer is the formal living room. Once the dining room was done it became blatantly obvious that we HAD to address this room. The green velvet couches were already there and I decided I could totally make them work (and relate them to the paper across the foyer in the dining room) by adding in a few other elements. As you can see in the before photo below, it was formerly very earth toned in there. I painted the mantle and all the trim and went really pale on the walls. The result was so striking – the trim stands out more and so do the couches! I flanked the fireplace walls with 2 console pieces and added these dramatic Palladian mirrors to bring more height to the room. They bounce so much light around, it was almost like we added windows in there. Super dramatic. A new rug and some accessories and this room (which honestly was a bit of an afterthought) has so much personality now and flows perfectly with the rest of the house.
Phew! That was quite a post. What do you think? Do you have a favorite? I thought it was the master bedroom but the dining room is pretty special too…but then the landing with those stars…I don’t think I can pick just one! This was a SUPER fun project for me to work on. I got to stretch myself a bit thanks to clients who were not only trusting but willing to push the envelope (and me!) on what it means to really personalize your home. It’s bold, it’s fresh, it’s fun and it’s uniquely them which I think is the best result you can ask for in a home.
*Out of respect for my client’s, I will not be sharing the sources used on this project.*