The homeowners had turned to a designer before and not loved the results in their boxy, five-bedroom, three-and-a-half bathroom home in Washington Park. So when they came to Andrea Schumacher Interiors, the design team listened carefully.
“The house was pretty tame,” Schumacher says, “and they wanted to make it more robust and usable.”
“They’re not show-off people,” adds Troy Rivington, lead designer of the project. “They like quiet elegance.” And yet… “They like their house to be very homey, but with pops of interest, pops of color.”
So pops of interest hang from some of the white ceilings in the form of eye-catching chandeliers. Pops of color jump off some of the walls. In the dining room and what Rivington calls The Red Room, there are even double pops—lighting and wall treatments that reflect quiet elegance but crank up the volume.
Take the Tour
Let’s start in the space where the homeowners and their fourth-grade son tend to live most. They’re bookworms, so for once the design team did not have to work around a monster TV in the family room. A wood-paneled and marble-encased fireplace is the focal point of the seating, two sofas and four chairs upholstered in soft neutral shades and set atop a white area rug. One of the sofas is backless, a style known as a tête- à-tête, to open the room to the backyard view through French doors.
The space connects to the breakfast room, where the custom banquette and table nod to the husband’s love of Art Deco. Again, the room’s colors are muted, so Rivington chose a large scalloped hanging lamp and Indian batik-like wallpaper to “step it up a little bit” and connect to the kitchen.
Here we have white on white, with brown legs on the chairs and island. So Rivington added three crown jewels over the four-seat central island: Where many would hang delicate pendant lamps, he installed three scaled-up globes, each at least 16 inches in diameter.
“We wanted to capitalize where we could go a little bit bolder, and over the island was one place where we could do it,” he says. “Our philosophy with the lighting is, when in doubt, go bigger. It’s the jewelry. And in certain spaces, you really want it to be noticed.”
The neighboring powder room is sure to be noticed, with a classic Art Deco wall pattern, crystal-armed sconces, and, for the wow factor, a mirrored vanity converted from a 1920s chest of drawers. “We went Art Deco happy,” Rivington says. Adds Schumacher, “The powder room is a place where you can go a little bananas.”
Hers, and His
The formal dining room is the wife’s favorite, and its double pop makes visitors ask, “What’s that wallpaper?” (Lee Jofa’s lily-pad-and-egret-covered Nympheus) and “Where did you get that chandelier?”(Global Views’ glitzy Quatrefoil Pendant). The raspberry sherbet-upholstered chairs play off both the flowery wall covering and plaid drapes, which somehow manage to blend in softly here and in the adjacent music room.
On the way upstairs, a polished nickel two-tier chandelier glams up a staircase that, Schumacher said, “was really kind of blah.”
And now we reach The Red Room, the book-loving husband’s favorite. “He really wanted an area that was his,” Rivington says, “so we started with the book wallpaper, and had custom built-ins for book space around the windows. He loved the red. It’s a deep garnet that has strength and boldness to it, but it’s not glaring.” The niche, with reading sconces, holds a sofa that can open up to accommodate extra guests.
On the ceiling (pop!) is another Global Views fixture with Art Deco notes.
The homeowners were now happy—so happy, in fact, they’re moving to another house in the neighborhood and have already enlisted the Schumacher team to give them new quiet elegance—with pop, of course.