By Lisa Shrewsberry
How has your stashing away of decades-old clothes on the off-chance they come back in style worked out? The same applies in interior design.
Consider the Big Bang theory. Not the evolutionist perspective (although the same gravitational pull applies) but big ‘80s bangs. They’ve yet to return in all their original glory, but a more modern version has emerged, most recently across the forehead of FLOTUS herself. She’s proof that while concepts from past decades make cameo appearances inside today’s trends, style is constantly evolving. Homes are no exception.
In keeping with the times, interior designer David Trump has over the past three years helped one of his clients to update her 1950’s, formerly carpeted and dark-paneled, 2,000 square-foot home, bringing the neat-yet-nondescript exterior brick ranch out of the hits of the ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s and dancing to today’s tune.
While she chooses to remain anonymous, the client is thrilled what she began on her own in a quiet Beckley neighborhood and in the home her late husband and soul mate built many years ago, is now nearly complete and pleasantly contemporary.
The results of her self-paced collaboration with a designer are a livable, functional showplace standing as a tribute to a lifetime she shared with her husband. Yet it is also as an inviting gathering place for family and new friends, and as a well-deserved personal sanctuary.
Cave No More
Once a garage, then an add-on den area enveloped in the dark-shaded paneling of the ‘70s, the client’s favorite room is now an uplifting family gathering place and a spot for spending quiet mornings.
“The first thing we did was paint,” explains Trump, who convinced the homeowner to whitewash her dated paneling and the brick hearth of an existing fireplace. Adding to the buoyancy of the paint were custom window treatments in springy white-and-yellow stripes over Roman shades, allowing plenty of natural light and privacy.
“I used to be addicted to heavy window treatments,” she admits.
The homeowner added her own touches of class first by visiting a gallery at one of her favorite vacation spots — the Outer Banks of North Carolina. After matting and framing her purchased images from a photographer there, Trump helped her adopt the beach motif and adapt it into a subtle Nantucket-style in opposition to the kitschy beach-themed rooms of old. She also decided to place upholstered cushions atop the hearth extensions, reflective of the spring-inspired window treatments, to make it functional for seating.
“There are punches of red throughout the house,” Trump foreshadows, pointing out the subtle color theme carried by rugs and accessories.
With the only rule for herself being “nothing fussy,” the owner extended the overhaul she began herself with a totally remodeled kitchen into her dining area by choosing a colorful table, custom chairs and a custom rug to complement the home’s original wood floors.
Formal living rooms have a history for being the biggest wastes of space in older homes, due in part to the strict formality of settings — sofas and chairs never meant to be sat on, and divisive tables with books not meant for browsing. The room now features custom chairs and sofa arranged for conversation, with eye-catching accents, like a “noveau vintage” oversized side table and playful sunburst-patterned overhead lighting.
“I saw (the light fixture) and it had a mid-century vibe to it, which is what I wanted for the room. It’s very ‘60s Park Avenue,” explains Trump, who also found a metal mirror reflective of the style of the lighting. A mirrored cabinet serves as a bar area for entertainment and turns an under-used front entryway into a functional space.
The client’s personal office boasts more stunning lighting selections that make traditional fluorescent overheads lackluster by comparison.
“It gives a lot of light and plays well with the circles in the upholstery we chose for the chairs,” explains Trump.
Black and White and Coral All Over
“I would always focus on getting the guest rooms in my house ready,” explains the client, who admitted it was high time to highlight her own oasis in the master bedroom and bath. Her splurge item was the elegant bling chandelier over her bed. The only pending addition to complete the room will be a coral accent wall reflective of the color in the lamps, where Trump will hang a large decorative mirror.
“I’m not big on accent walls,” admits Trump, “but it worked for this room.”
To paint the entire space in a single color would have made it appear smaller, Trump explains.
Hers is a philosophy to be envied by homeowners of any age: when fearlessly revamping the place where you’ve made memories. Make it relevant for the next few decades, for creating new ones.
“Don’t be afraid to try something different,” the client adds, pleased with the value she has brought to her home and her life through updating.
Designer tips for updating your home:
When in doubt (or debt), paint: “Paint is one of the most inexpensive ways to transform a room,” Trump states.
Be bold: It seems a reverse sort of logic, but try bold fabrics to make a room look bigger. Confident patterns in upholstery and bedding can transform the look of smaller areas.
Hard times? Hardware! “We didn’t change an interior door within the house,” says Trump, who points to his client’s savvy at selecting new hardware only to make her interior doors look like new.
Budget bigger for new lighting. Among the most sweeping changes to the client’s home were the overhead lighting choices. Choose styles that optimize light but that are also reflective of another design element or theme within the room.
Take it easy. “Try transforming one room. Clients get overwhelmed thinking about redoing a whole house. This home is beautiful but it was a progression.”
“Pace yourself,” adds the client. “Once I got into this, I didn’t want to stop!” But she’s glad she did. Taking the time to work in stages led the two to new discoveries and design ideas they may have otherwise been too rushed to consider.
If you don’t want your home to look like a box, think outside the box. Don’t be afraid to try new things, especially with an interior designer to offer an experienced opinion.
— For more design tips or updating advice, call David Trump Designs at 304-573-9269.