conley6.gif (2529 bytes)


Sunny 365
Light colors and natural elements brighten this River Hills Colonial

Photos by Doug Edmunds

June 2015

The curve of the spectacular staircase sets the tone for rounded shapes in the foyer. Tucked into the nook is a curvy cane-backed chair discovered at Legacies and reupholstered in a striking blue ikat fabric. A cigar table displays bud vases filled with turkey feathers from the property. Circular patterns show up on the skirted console table and modern lamp. Subtle grey and taupe horizontal painted stripes add contemporary flair and play foil to an arrangement of vintage plates, Rococo mirror, petite Wedgwood vases and Chinoiserie chairs.

When seeing this 1952 River Hills Colonial for the first time, designer Anne Wangman knew it was special. "The moldings, doors and trim were intact, so it was important that the design of the interiors complement the millwork, not compete with it."

Wangman, owner of Forbes Design, a residential decorating firm, also wanted to retain the natural light. "We have such long, dark winters in Wisconsin. I felt the rooms should look like every day is a sunny day even with 6 feet of snow outside," she says.

Traditional homes seemingly call for traditional furnishings. However, Wangman didnít want the interiors to be predictable, dated or too serious. Instead she chose transitional styling, a combination of traditional and modern elements, mixed in Chinoiserie, Chinese-influenced Georgian furniture and accessories, and added touches of nature. Tapping resources from Palm Beach and Chicago, as well as local shops, Wangman created an interior that respects the homeís traditional roots but isnít heavy or somber. By combining vintage pieces and antiques with new and reproduction furniture and accessories and incorporating a classic blue and white color scheme with contemporary neutrals of grey and taupe, the result is a fresh, cohesive look for this lovely country home.

Matching grey velvet sofas with silver nailheads flank the fireplace. Dana Gibson pillows playfully interpret the blue and white ginger jar collection throughout the house. Browns of a turkey feather display on the coffee table are picked up in earthy blue and brown John Robshaw pillows. A pair of 100-year-old heirloom chairs is revitalized with geometric upholstery, their sloping lines coordinating with the sloping arms of the new sofas. Completing the seating area is a slipcovered bamboo-legged bench. A sassy blue and gold cabinet sits beneath a vertical arrangement of artwork and sunburst mirror, creating a second focal point in the room.

To avoid overwhelming the room with pattern and draw the eye up to the crown and dentil moldings, Wangman used wallpaper above the chair rail, leaving the lower part of the wall painted. Its trellis-inspired design is mimicked on the backs of the vintage Palm Beach arm chairs. Cane-backed side chairs allow light to show through. A pretty silver painted console adds shimmer while cobalt cordials, snagged at Walterís Loft, pick up the intense color of the blue and white ginger jar collection. Chunky sea grass rugs create texture and contrast to the formal crystal chandelier. Williams-Sonoma leaf plates and fuzzy moss balls on oversized candle sticks add natural elements to the tablescape.



This story ran in the June 2015 issue of: