Special/Signature Issues » Home Style

1 Room, 3 Ways

Designers envision a Fan District living room in distinctly different styles.


Look #1:

Myrf Bowry and Leah Dodge of Decorum Inc. are known for their love of fresh colors, eclectic furnishings and affordable accessories. They brought in lamps and a jute rug from Shades of Light, fresh English-style flowers from The Garden Lily, and a collection of pieces from their Patterson Avenue showroom.

The designers paired a Pearson chair in a bright blue floral print with wrought iron tables, colorful cachepots and paintings from Russian and North Carolina artists. They framed the windows in yellow cotton check draperies, placed a moss spiral topiary in front of the fireplace, and added a majolica plate, petit point pillow, and antique books. A pine demilune table fits neatly between the windows.

"We like a mix of old and new, and we always enjoy bringing in fresh accessories," Dodge says. For this project, they built the design around the chair and added color, texture and detail one piece at a time.

The finished look:

Casually eclectic and comfortable, with a whimsical undercurrent. Bright paintings stand out against the room's taupe walls and warm up the space.

Look #2:

Leigh Anne Muse, a designer with Robert Rentz & Associates, built upon the room's neoclassical details and gilded fireplace. She and her colleagues brought in an ornate, inlaid chest by Alfonso Marina, crafted of native woods in a Spanish Baroque design.

Next to it is a Napolean II French bergere chair covered in a Lee Jofa silk damask with a metallic thread. Its horsehair cushions and gilded frame are meticulously restored.

A large portrait painted by Richmond artist Dick Athey fills the wall with color. Antique books, a handblown glass vase and brass bouillotte lamp complete the vignette.

"We wanted to give this traditional space more life with color, and we mixed traditional fabrics and furnishings with a contemporary painting and vase," Muse says of the project. "Most of our clients have traditional furnishings and a traditional home, but like to incorporate a fresh take."

The finished look: Handsome, well-crafted pieces give the room an elegant, dramatic feel that's front-parlor fancy with heirloom quality.

Look #3:

Gregory Williams of La Difference International Home Furnishings layered contemporary pieces inside the century-old space, giving it an unexpected edge.

The striped wool rug is from the Netherlands, and a glass coffee table and columnar lamp are sculptural and functional. The Carter sofa, from a new line at the store, is covered in a taupe micro-fiber that is easy to maintain and soft to the touch. Pillows add texture with woven sisal and microsuede.

Crowdy Designs metal fireplace tools, a framed photograph by Steve Crainford, and Umbra sheer panels at the windows are finishing touches.

"Orange is one of my favorite colors to work with," Williams says, "and it balances the taupe walls. When people see older architecture in Richmond, they think traditional furnishings. But you can use style as a contrast. It is important to select things that stand alone, whether they're objects or furnishings, and that are precious to you," Williams says. "Each object has its own significance. Select items that make a statement, and you don't need as much to fill a room," he suggests.

The finished look: Sleek, tactile and colorful, this design contrasts with the room's traditional architecture. The less-is-more strategy doesn't sacrifice comfort or style.


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