THE WATT RESIDENCE

Mara initially called me to advise her if she should / could get a sectional sofa in her family room.  On our initial call, she said, "I don't want to make a $5,000 mistake."  From the moment I walked in the house, I knew we were going to have fun.  Wearing these high-top shiny silver sneakers, she said her style was “funky.”  Was I excited!!  As I’ve come to know her and her husband, Brian, I’d say their style is funky, yes.  But nothing way out there.  They have this super cool, colorful, happening, urban vibe with a deep appreciation for history and antiques.

The answer to the sectional was no.  But as I was giving Mara feedback on the house, she began to engage me more and more.  “Well let me take you into the office,” she said.  On the way, we passed what she called the “Kids Lounge.”  As we walked through the room to get to the office, I leaned to my right, and asked “what’s happening in here?”  The furniture was placed as though on one side of the room.  I wish I had taken a before picture, but I immediately told her ways to improve the room, and before I knew it, we were moving the sofa.  Then she brought up from the basement this fabulous rug that she loved but just didn’t know where to put.  In 1 hour, her room looked like this. She had great pieces but they weren’t in the right places throughout the house.  We didn’t buy a thing in this first shot, just composed the furniture and cleaned up the bookcases. 

I was so touched when she said to me, “I’ve had other designers in here but no one did what you just did in an hour.”

Mara decided to use the gray rug in the office, and found a similar shag rug with the right dimensions to use in this room, instead of the smaller one.  We added the fun zig-zag table, and a throw on the other side for balance... and warmth!

Mara decided to use the gray rug in the office, and found a similar shag rug with the right dimensions to use in this room, instead of the smaller one.  We added the fun zig-zag table, and a throw on the other side for balance... and warmth!

Since then, we’ve been working on updating her entire first floor.  Mara and Brian have old family antiques, and are endearingly sentimental.  A space should incorporate personal objects, be it family heirlooms, found objects, or anything that brings along fond memories.  They both had wonderful things packed away in the basement.  By adding just a few pieces, we were able to create rooms that reflected their family, with room to grow. 

After the Kids Lounge, we moved to the Family Room. 

BEFORE

 The first question was the sectional, the second was weather to paint the brick fireplace white.  I suggested she first change the paint color on the walls, then we'd reevaluate.  A Family Room should be more casual, comfortable, relaxing, and the original white wasn’t doing much for the ambiance.  I suggested she bring in the gray from the kitchen to soften it a little, and would also bring the rooms together.  We painted the sideboard in the kitchen an ivory to match the kitchen cabinetry to add a little dimension.

 Mara had just bought “Lady Horse” which made for an incredible piece for over the mantle.   We added a few little pieces, lighting, an étagère, and coffee table.  Much of it came up from storage, or from around the house. Mara and Brian were thrilled to incorporate their old treasures into the space again!

BEFORE

AFTER

Initially, I was brought in to help Mara pick out updated furniture for her family room.  But as we progressed and other rooms came into play, Mara and Brian elected to get the entire first floor to a "good place", rather than just concentrate their resources into completing one room at a time.

 

 Here is Brian's Great Grandfather's chair balanced with a new light and accent table.  One of the reasons I liked working with them so much is that they were open to my ideas of incorporating this notion of old and new. We shared the importance of using what they had, and creating these lovely compositions throughout.

Mara and Brian wanted to update their kitchen, even though, they had just done so not too long ago.  From minute one, I envisioned a herringbone tile for the back splash.  They updated the tile, and changed the knobs on the cabinets.  At one point, we were looking to replace the granite on the center island. I suggested to paint the base cabinetry ivory to "calm it down" which made a nice difference.  After the gray herringbone tile, and the fresh paint, the granite looked just fine.  We added a few accessories, and voila!  This kitchen feels much more like them.  And both rooms flow nicely into the other.

KITCHEN BEFORE

...  AND AFTER

During this time, Mara and I worked on hers and Brian’s office.  This was a blank room when she initially showed it to me.  They had picked out some things, but needed help placing the furniture they had.  She also asked me to help her select lighting, and bring everything together.  Since they both primarily work from home, they had reservations about sharing a space.  This room turned out to be such a great space that gives a relaxed yet productive feeling.

Since they both primarily work from home, they had reservations about sharing a space.  This room turned out to be such a great space that gives a relaxed yet productive feeling.  Where they can enjoy their time together, and just hang out.

Throughout our time together, I would add a little Elan here and there.  I arranged the objects on the entryway console and picked out new lighting.

We updated her powder room by changing the color on the trim (used to be all white), rehanging the little cow, changing the towel hook and trash bin.  We added a little tissue holder and greenery to keep it homey.

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