Friday, May 21, 2010

A Friend's Fabulous Mountain House Renovation

A dear friend just shared some of her renovation photos with us. The family purchased a wonderful shingle style, 2 story house with an unfinished attic, in the mountains. The house has a large sprawling porch running the length of the house along the right side of this photo. Casual entertaining, is the prevalent style in this household.  Normally, for lunch or dinner parties, our hostess, who is an accomplished cook, prepares wonderful meals from hot dogs with "the works" to highly elaborate fare. Since we normally eat all around the house, inside and out, the owners chose to convert the dining room into another gathering space.  

Maintaining the continuity of the sky blue flooring throughout the house was important. There is no fear of color or love of neutrals in this home! A rich red (Farrow and Ball #212 Blazer) was chosen, then washed with a thinned,  black glaze to create the illusion of age and enhance the character of the new paneling.   When combined with creams and clear blues,  this antiqued tone creates a warm cozy space during cold winter days.  The variation on the traditional red, white and blue classic summer house motif, adds panache.  Slipper chairs allow passage through the room and add extra seating. The beautiful China Sea fabric unites the color scheme within the room and matches the sofa, out of sight, behind the photographer.

Malay Stripe Watermelon 3060-02/ 55% linen / 45% cotton
54" wide / 20" repeat

A fun digression-- the term for this type of pattern uses one of my favorite arcane descriptions: In visual art, horror vacui (literally: fear of empty spaces, also known as cenophobia) means--the filling of the entire surface of an artwork with detail.  This would be a great name for a rock band!

This ancient kitchen was "designed" for the days when people had staff.  This house had the old configuration of 3 separated preparation rooms--cooking, cleaning and pantry space. Note the old fireplace behind the "modern" electric stove. The old cooking kitchen was converted to a cozy family dining space, seating 8. 

The owners were able to create a fireplace, in this intimate dining space by using the old chimney, and smartly oriented the fire towards the crowd.  Small rooms are a challenge, and this room is a study of the successful application of the counter intuitive large scale print, in a tiny area. Maintaining the same fabric on the draperies calms the excitement of the walls, while the mantle area provides architectural definition. This table is a beautiful custom creation by our friend Don Wright of Wright table company .  Don's chairs, case goods and tables are THE REAL DEAL! This is a truly bench made, custom style, quality wood selection, finish obsessed, boutique. Prices are competitive with antiques, if you can find them in your size. The windsor chairs came with the house. Who said you can't combine American Colonial with Indonesian? I love it!!

Now, we have my pet peeve.  Countless old houses have dark paneling, and are frequently situated, with bright light streaming through the windows. Men always want to keep the dark finish, on principle,  and women always want to paint.  Men defer to your wives!  Form follows biological function in this case--pupils dilate for the natural light,  and the room becomes blinding and squinty from the dark contrast.  Painting the room reflects the light and allows one to actually navigate the space. 

Don't argue with clean, fresh, and pretty! 

We are fans of all Roberta Freymann fabrics.  Our hostess has thoughtfully provided good lighting solutions for the narrow space,  inviting a little down time with our summer reading.  More photos later, I think I'm ready for a quiet nap!! 


  1. Wonderful post! Saving to show silly men who think it is a sin to paint dark wood!

    LOVE the painted floor, too!!

  2. Whoa! The dining room reminds me of a certain movie that has a thanksgiving dinner scene from the 90's in which had that same homey feel as your friend's place. On other note, I liked how the placement of those windows made the light shine in the bedroom, giving it a lively ambiance.

  3. Do you have the source for the fabulous dining room chandelier? I would love to get one for our house.
    Thank you.

  4. I love reading a post that will make people think. Also, thanks for allowing me to comment!

  5. So many times I read articles and cannot find any useful facts. Thank you for providing such useful facts. There is another place i found useful information and i think people could also get some useful information here. I can’t wait to read more. I’ll definitely be back daily to see what new info I can learn from your website.


We love your comments and hope you will join the conversation! Please do not use this forum for advertising.