Tricks for Transformation

A busy professional couple had been living in their 1920s Colonial home for 15 years. They were ready for a change, their children were now old enough (teenagers), and they didn’t know where to begin, so they called Emery & Associates.  Their beautiful windows were hidden by Roman shades; their furniture was good quality, but the upholstery was tired looking; and the room in general lacked cohesion. They asked me to give their living room a more sophisticated and polished look, while maintaining the traditional feel of this architect-designed home.

BEFORE: View of living room from entry. Click to enlarge

START WITH COLOR: We began with a cotton/linen printed fabric from Brunschwig & Fils that the clients fell in love with, and provided the palette for the room. Their collection of Asian accessories and art made this Chinoiserie-style print an appropriate jumping off place for the other furnishings:  tiger’s eye chenille to re-upholster the sofa, coral red for pillows, copper silk for the drapery, and a striped fabric in sage/rust/gold to reupholster a pair of club chairs.  We painted the walls the soft neutral background color of the linen print.

Color Palette

PLAY UP YOUR WINDOWS:  My sketch of the focal wall viewed from the entry showed the clients how dramatic and beautiful a floor to ceiling drapery treatment would look. The silk drapery panels from Filling Spaces were so sumptuous they took my breath away—iridescent copper silk, lined and interlined, banded with an appliquéd design stitched with metallic embroidery—richness beyond belief.  The textured, light-filtering woven grass shades are from Hartmann & Forbes.

Kathia's Sketch

The beautiful windows in this home extend all the way to the ceiling, which made hanging the draperies quite an engineering problem since the drapery rods had to be mounted literally ON the crown moldings.  The photo of my expert installer, Ken Chupp, turning my idea into reality, shows how heavily I depend on my skilled associates.

Ken installing drapery

AFTER: View of living room from entry

AFTER: View of chair reupholstered in Chinoiserie printed fabric

PAY ATTENTION TO DETAILS:  This close-up shows how attention to details makes a room come alive.  We hung the drapery from rods attached to the crown moldings and turned the mirror from horizontal to vertical to emphasize the room’s high ceilings. We re-arranged the furniture to create cozy conversation areas that invite family and guests to come in and linger, and to give focus to the room. We added new sconces above the built-in bookshelves, a pair of celadon lamps, and  recessed lighting in the ceiling, all on dimmers, to make the room warm and inviting by day and evening. Woven grass shades filter sunlight, and add texture to the room.  A new room-sized Oriental rug from Kravet grounds the conversation area and makes the room feel less choppy.  Everything in this room now says “come on in and stay a while!”


“Kathia observed how we live and listened carefully to our preferences and hopes for our living room. She developed a plan that included furnishings, window coverings and lighting, and used many of the items we already owned.  The result is a beautifully integrated look.  The rooms are elegant and sophisticated, exceeding our expectations.”

Lori & Todd Bauman, Eastmoreland

There are 12 Comments to "Tricks for Transformation"

  • I love your blog!! so professional,and i am a big fan of your work you know!
    once you have this set up i will link your blog on my blog too.

    • Kathia Emery says:

      Thank you, Deepali. It’s a mutual admiration society. The sumptuous silk drapery from your company is unique and splendiferous! There are no really good close up photographs of the drapery detail in this blog, but one of these days I’ll put some into this blog.

  • Jeanne Adams says:

    Great Job! Especially love the richness, elegance and drama that the drapery treatment provides.

  • Rosalind says:

    Beautiful, of course, and interesting to read and see results. When my ship comes in, we are going to spiff things up.

  • amy says:

    wonderful space, you did a terrific job

  • Marsha says:

    What a lively, livable space you created. I’m sure the home owners feel like they have a brand new house. Really like the wing back chair fabric.

  • BARB BALDWIN says:

    Wow Kathia !! Fabulous transformation, I’m sure your clients are loving their new room!! Thanks for sending the invite to view your new blog…..Barb

  • Wendy Cogan says:

    The blog is well done. Your redesign of your clients’ living room was fabulous and I love how you walked us through the process. The photos are great. I love the photos of the project, as well as the ones in the slide show at the top of your blog. I look forward to more posts. Good luck, Wendy

  • Carol says:

    Loved the layout and look of your blog. Especially liked seeing my mosaic medallion and hall in the slide show at the top. Everything looks so classic and yummy.

  • Donna Pizzi says:

    Kathia, What a joy it is to work with you on creating both your website and this exciting new blog, which so perfectly reflects the classiness of your design work. We look forward to following your posts here! Congratulations on such beautiful work.

  • Ken Chupp says:

    Amazing sophisticated web site. Your work really shines with experienced professionalism. I am so impressed! Nice to see myself in your transformation photos. You really are talented. Looking forward to working with you on more jobs.

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