Welcome to the first installation of a new FP Journal series called #MakeoverMonday where I will walk you through the renovation of our new house. Many of you followed along with my IG stories last summer and fall and provided much needed emotional support and humor as we flew through a gut renovation at warp speed. It was not easy, but considering we came out of the other side still friendly with our contractor, my marriage still in tact, and a house that our family and friends can enjoy—well, I consider it a win.
This is how it will work: Each week we reveal a different room and walk through various stages of the process. As you all know by now, I am an open book. Anything you want to know, sources, paint colors, artist names, subcontractor recommendations, I will tell all. Just ask….because to do a full blown house renovation always takes a village, and I am eternally grateful to mine.
First up: THE LIBRARY
Keep in mind, this house was built by a young bachelor back in the early 90s. Most guys I know love some wood, and this fellow was no exception. He had the ubiquitous dark paneled study with an imposing fireplace, dark stained wood walls and a deeply coffered ceiling all with a healthy coat of shellack.
Matt (my better half) is taking in the prospect of losing the woodsy glory of this room. Even “the carpet and the drapes don’t match” analogy applies to the wall and floor stain colors. We had some work to do….
In my mind there was absolutely no question that we would be painting that room….it took a little convincing (“Are you absolutely sure you want to paint all the pretty wood? What if you change your mind, because you ladies sure do like to do that! And you might lose all that patina! ) Despite all the subs’ efforts to persuade me to keep the room as it was, my very brave painter with several high volume paint sprayers, stepped up and came to the rescue. There was no going back….
Just getting it primed was an amazing change, but choosing the color was not as easy as you might think. I didn’t want to go dark again (as we had done in our previous house) but I wanted to warm the room up. I also did not want to use a strong saturated color because the rest of the house is white and without a door to close off the room, it would have been very jarring.
After many sample pots came home and were rejected, we finally settled on Farrow and Ball “Old White” and it looked fantastic. My only regret is that I was so turned off by the room’s former shiny-ness, that I went with Estate Emulsion which is a very flat finish. While it looks amazing on the walls, every little fingerprint shows, and with 4 boys in the house, there are lots of fingerprints…But we will live with it for now and know to compromise with Modern Emulsion or Eggshell next time I go to paint woodwork…
I was pretty sure what furniture I was going to use- most of which came from our old house. But much of it needed to be refreshed with new fabric. This was my starting scheme-though I ended up only using the rug from this scheme, it was a good jumping off point!
One of my favorite tricks with coffered ceilings is to use wallpaper in the coves. I happened to have some of this grasscloth left over from the walls in Matt’s office and it worked perfectly with the paint color!
After many months, and yes, changing my mind a few more times than I like to admit, we were done. Below are the photos of the finished product.
So here it is—Ta Da!! I was very happy with how it all came together. We recovered the midcentury club chairs from our former Family Room in Brook Perdigon’s Seto Tonal linen in Abyss. The jute rug is from our FP Bellechasse collection, and the sofa pillows include new velvets from Imogen Heath. The sofa is from our previous house and the fabric was in surprisingly good condition so we left it alone. The midcentury table also came from the library in our old house, as did the Christopher Spitzmiller lamps. The painting is by a dear friend and very talented artist from Sag Harbor, Darius Yektai. We changed the fireplace from wood burning to gas and added my favorite cannonballs. The chic picture lights over the bookshelves are a new design called the Erddig Wall Light from Urban Electric Co.
This shows one of my favorite upgrades—inset custom sized wallpaper from Maison Levy into the existing panels. It creates the effect of looking out of a large window at the palm trees. It is surprisingly easy and affordable to do-and they can make almost any size work. While they are based in Paris, Fritz Porter is one of the few showrooms in the US lucky enough to carry this amazing line so come in or call to see the other incredible patterns. I promise it will make a room!
So that is all for now…Check back for another new room in next week’s Monday Makeover where we will venture into the Master Bedroom. Stay tuned!