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Three D-I-Y Problems Solved

Updated: Dec 18, 2020

Today’s column comes to you by way of permission from three recent clients. Clients who, before undertaking do-it-yourself projects, requested a consultation with me to point them in the right direction. They have kindly allowed me to share their goals and challenges and my suggestions.

Carole S. wanted to furnish her new and empty condo but was having difficulty defining her style. She showed me photos from magazines, Houzz and Pinterest. I could see why she was confused - some photos were traditional, others modern and some country cute. Although Carole’s mind was spinning, I saw a common thread. Each space reflected a beige, monochromatic color scheme. Her eye was attracted to color and tone more than shape. With this mystery solved, all she had to do was choose a design style to develop. Since many photos featured European furnishings, and since the small size of Carole’s condo required consideration, I suggested a clean-lined Neoclassic décor.

Neoclassicism was born during the reign of King Louis XVI in rejection to his predecessor’s (Louis XV) fussy Rococo style. My suggestion was a nice balance between tradition and classic modern. Carole now knows to layer with shades of beige to create the monochromatic palette she has since realized she favors.

Vince R. had one of those foyers where the staircase is just askew from the front door. A bit of an eyesore upon entering with no easy architectural fix. So in the spirit of making lemon aid out of lemons, my recommendation was to make the staircase even more noticeable. Vince’s impressive job in creating a cohesive first floor using a navy blue and cream color scheme was my inspiration. I suggested that he put wallpaper up the staircase wall. I knew a large, geometric, navy and cream graphic print would create a bold focal point. To underscore the drama, I suggested a solid navy runner, bordered in cream, on the stairs. The wallpaper and runner pairing would transform the staircase into sculptural interest of a sort.

Adriana A. liked the volume and airiness of her 12 foot ceilings - except in her formal dining room where she wanted a cozier ambiance. I sketched a 3-D perspective of her 14 foot wide by 16 foot long ceiling and added a false dropped ceiling. This ceiling would be smaller, about 10 feet by 12 feet, and have a simple molding around its perimeter. The idea was to paint this dropped portion a dark eggplant color. Adriana liked her glass dining table but not her metal chairs. In keeping with her modern style, I suggested she replace them with off-white leather chairs. To finish the room, I also suggested the walls be painted off-white and that she hang tall drapery panels with off-white and eggplant fabric.

The final touch would come in the form of a large, multi-color glass chandelier that, when lit, would bounce off the dark ceiling. The boldness of the ceiling and chandelier, offset by the quantity of off-white, and tied together by the draperies, would create a striking but cozy dining space.

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