The young couple who hired Emery & Associates in 2009 to do the main floor of their 1903 foursquare home in Ladd’s Addition called me back this year to do their master bedroom. “It’s really dark. What can you do to help us?” I gave them the obvious answer: add lighting! They really didn’t want to do that, since the house is listed on the Historic Register, and they thought it might compromise the architecture of the house. My next brainstorm was received with even less enthusiasm: “Paint all the dark wood trim a light color!” Here is what the room looked like BEFORE:
So I did a colored sketch of my vision of what the room could look like, which included a beautiful, light-colored historic wallpaper and reflective surfaces everywhere–walls, furniture, window coverings, and bedding. The wife loved it, but neither of them wanted the four-poster iron bed I had drawn into the sketch, and the husband hated the idea of wallpaper. SO, back to square one: add lighting.
I brought in Ken DeKorte, of DeKorte Electric, whom I had met through my membership in the Architectural Heritage Center, to meet with the clients. Because of his expertise in working with older homes, he was able to reassure the home owners that we could add recessed lighting into the space using low-voltage fixtures, and still maintain the vintage original fixtures that were originally gas lamps, now electrified. Both Ken and I agreed that this historic space would be enhanced by added lighting. You can see the dramatic results below:
While adamant about not changing the dark millwork, the clients were willing to go along with my ideas about changing out the window coverings to ivory tones. I also recommended positioning the drapery above the picture railing, close to the ceiling, to emphasize the high ceilings in this space. The antique dresser with mirror, which was a cherished family piece belonging to the wife, was painted and glazed by a family friend, so now you can see all the wonderful details on it, especially since the recessed lighting in that quadrant of the room adds illumination. I also recommended moving the small area rug to another room, and bringing in a room-sized rug in pale tones to ground the space, which they found at NW Rugs. We also changed the wall color from green to a pale, spa blue.
Last evening my window coverings installer, Ken Chupp, finished the installation, while the homeowners were still at work. I received a text from the husband later in the evening: “Looks great, Kathia! The color and scale of the drapes pulls things together. We now have a ‘grown up’ room.”
I’m so happy that they are happy, and I couldn’t do these magical transformations without the help of expert artisans like my sewer, Tracy Quoidbach, my installer, Ken Chupp, my electrician, and all of my trade-only resources. If you need your spaces transformed, give Emery & Associates a call, and we will bring our team to the rescue.