“I know this house is Victorian, but how would you describe your décor?” a recent acquaintance asked me on her first visit to my house. I could tell she was very surprised by the interior of my home. The eclectic mix of modern upholstery pieces, antique casegoods, traditional rugs, contemporary art and vintage prints housed inside a framework of Victorian moldings, ceiling medallions and fireplace surrounds was not at all what she expected to find inside. “It is beautiful, but in a totally unexpected way.”
“Well, it is eclectic, for sure,” I said, “a mix of things, some old, some new, with lots of treasures collected over the years.” I admit it, I am fond of myriad design cues and periods and my personal tastes border on a Bohemian mix of styles. And I love to collect and display art.
I find many of my clients are sometimes intimidated by trying to select a direction for their homes, feeling like they have to limit themselves to a particular style. Part of my job as a designer is to make them comfortable with mixing design cues and elements that they like and want to use in their home.
Take into consideration the greatroom of this Hampton Lake Coach Home in the accompanying photo. For this project, a mix of different furniture styles is unified by similar textures and color. Modern twists on traditional pieces keep them fresh and interesting.
The sofa was an existing piece of furniture belonging to the client. Traditional in its dimensions and tailoring, it was simply recovered with a plush, fawn-colored, ultra-suede fabric to replace the formerly dated, late-80’s-era teal and mauve contemporary patterned upholstery. This allows this large piece to quietly take a back seat to the more unique furnishings in its new surroundings.
A duo of modern wing-back chairs are upholstered with a combination leopard weave upholstery on the inside, while the backs covered with a synthetic raffia weave. A double row of antique brass nail-head trim for adds drama and detail.
A chunky, Asian-inspired, chow-foot coffee table is finished in a warm toffee-hued stain. The glass top keeps the rather sizable table from becoming too visually heavy and allows a glimpse of the muted Oriental rug below. The rug’s pattern is traditional though the coloration is anything but; taupe, driftwood, ivory, moss, and mocha yarns provide an unexpectedly subtle appearance.
Bronze metal legged nesting tables with inlayed capiz-shell tops compliment the mosaic-horn pattern round side table with a polished chrome base on the other side of the room.
A pair of petrified-wood, sphere-shaped floor lamps are simply graphic in profile from a distance and alluringly surface detailed up close, the wood balls resembling small orbs of onyx. Their fawn colored silk shades echo the faceted silk shade on the Chinese-style pendant light in the breakfast nook.
In lieu of a traditional breakfast room table and chairs the client decided on a slick, low-slung, banquet, upholstered in a rich, mink-colored velvet. A glamorous, octagonal reverse-painted glass top “tea table” with an ornate iron base makes an ideal spot for morning coffee or evening cocktails.
Bold mocha and tan striped silk draperies on 3” diameter traditional, reeded, black walnut-stained hardware frame the large glass doors to the lanai. These somewhat formal window dressings add unexpected elegance to this casual space while completely blending with the color scheme.
Earth colored woven grasscloth wallcovering inside the traditional style coffered ceiling detail provides texture and interest to an area usually neglected by so many homeowners. The three-dimensionality of this material cannot be duplicated by paint.
Within the envelope of this traditionally designed space, a unique and eclectic décor was created. The result is an interior full of subtle nuance and elegance, with hints of the Orient, Safari, and Modernism, yet no clichéd “style” overwhelms the occupants. An unexpected and elegant mix.