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Decorate me beautiful
Designers take on challenge to create unique space in grand room

By JANET RAASCH

 

The rug is from Kashou Carpets. The china in the dining room is from George Watts & Son.


Peabodyís Interiors, Brown Deer
Designers Emily Winters and Rachel Rivera

As an interior designer Emily Winters is adept at melding her clientsí tastes with her design know-how. But when she walked into this house, she felt as if it were calling out to her personally. "As a designer itís really rare that you come across a house that could be you," she says. "It is a great chance to create a beautiful reflection of my own style."

She describes her style as classic ó almost traditional ó and eclectic. She chose a soft color palette accented with pops of color. Her first selections were the sofa and the chair by Lillian August. Next, the rug, which complements the furniture and adds interest. Punches of color in the rug, pillows and other accents pull the design together without overpowering the soothing and neutral aesthetic.

"I envision this to be a wonderful fireside room," Winters says. "Cozy library meets hearth room."

She chose a tea table and Regency chairs instead of a second arm chair to round out the roomís design. The silver urn adds a bit of glam and the purple sticks bring additional color and texture to the space.

Winters uses books as a design element in the built-ins to unify the space and adds family photos and collectibles as accents.

"The best room is created by lots of pieces from lots of different places to give it an eclectic sort of feel," Winters says.

Designer Kelly Neumann connects the study to the dining room through the use of repeating color and textures. "Every room should have some connection with the other," she says.


Vyolette Interior Design Consulting and Preen Transcending Design, Milwaukee
Designer Kelly Neumann

Kelly Neumannís inspiration for her Moroccan-themed design is the scrolling arch of the fireplace mantel. "Even though the rest of the house is French country, I felt that it could be a different look," she says of the room. "You can take cues from the permanent things in the house and play off of them."

The design, she says, is still in keeping with the natural style of the house. But she uses surprises in finishes and textures and a reverse design psychology to create a sophisticated look. "A lot of people think they have to get solid furniture and then do accents of patterns. I did it the other way around ó the solid rug and the patterned furniture pieces."

Neumann chose a 9-foot long sofa and coordinating accent chairs from a new line of furniture she is creating with business partner Kim Pollard, in which they take vintage furniture and rework it with design-forward, ethnic and vintage fabrics. The pieces she uses in the room are covered with a custom-made Indian silk. "The style of the chair allowed us to use three different fabrics. The seat cushions are reversible and the chairs have finials on top. Thatís true vintage furniture," Neumann says. The chairs are backed with brown patent leather, which, Neumann says, adds that element of surprise. A tea-height coffee table is another resale shop find. "A solid wood table wouldnít work, but because itís glass óeven though itís a huge table for the space ó it doesnít seem as bulky."

An earth-toned color palette allows the shiny golds, brass and porcelain finishes to tie all the browns in the room together. "Instead of using colors, I used textures and finishes as accents," Neumann says. "The bling gave it the accent." Each accessory gives the homeowner a story to tell, from the deer antlers to the Chinese calligraphy brushes to the bell collection. "You can please any couple with mixing different things, from feminine things to masculine things," she says. "That worked within this design."

Mary Lewandowski sets the stage for the roomís design with a hand-knotted, one-of-a-kind rug made in an Afghan refugee village. Through a program called One Rug at a Time, a portion of the sale goes to support the villageís women and children.


Thomasville Home Furnishings, Brookfield
Designer Mary Lewandowski

When Mary Lewandowski thought about the design of the room, she considered the type of person who would buy this house. "This client would be a well-traveled person who would have collected great artifacts from around the world," Lewandowski says.

She chose comfortable, relaxed and unique pieces to tell the story and complement the natural elements of the house. "I see this room more as a den or a retreat," Lewandowski says. "Itís a room in which to read a book, light a fire or have a couple of friends over."

She positioned the Hadley sofa facing the foyer to draw guests into the room. A leather chair embossed with alligator and cushioned in leather is a comfy conversation piece. But the roomís main talking points are its accent pieces, starting with the one-of-a-kind solid wood table from Nagaland, India, that was used to grind seeds. The stools near the fireplace are from Portugal and the floor pillows are covered with saddle blankets from Afghanistan. "Iím all about mixing it up and adding special pieces that are unique," Lewandowski says. Accessories from around the world highlight the built-ins. "I think bookshelves always have a lot of personal keepsakes in them and should reflect the clientís life," she says.

Lewandowski carries the theme into the dining room with a framed Kuba cloth along the back wall. Kuba cloth is from the Congo and is woven from the leaves of the rafia tree. Each patch is symbolic and uniquely arranged to tell a story. A dark wood dining table contrasts the hand-scraped wood floors and the white, painted built-ins. "I wanted the table to make a little more of a statement. Itís a little hint of elegance," she says.

The overall space reflects Lewandowskiís philosophy she has cultivated in her 35-plus years as an interior designer. "I donít like things to match. Itís about making pieces being special. Everything ends up going together," she says. "It creates this whole picture in your mind. Every room is an inspiration."