We love a good challenge, and this home in was full of them. The owner, who loves creamy colors against dark woods, felt out of place in a house where everything was dark with no distinction, from the floors and walls to the furniture and artwork.

We cleaned house—literally—repainting the walls in creams and whites, tearing out a huge dark built-in, and replacing dark kitchen cabinetry with white Shaker-style storage and a soothing gray and white backsplash.

Next, we repurposed many of the spaces. An unused living room became an office and sitting room, where the wife works and holds meetings. File cabinets and other office necessities hide behind crisp white cabinetry. The hole that was left in the family room when we tore out the old built-in became a beautiful paneled niche, brightened with sconces and recessed lighting, which elegantly places a new custom console and television at center stage.

Because our client likes neutral colors, we used texture instead to add interest in each space. The seating fabrics range from a raised-stripe wing chair to leopard-print ottomans edged with nail heads. We used lighting as sculptural elements, such as blown-glass chandeliers and sconces in the dining room and teardrop pendants over the foyer—a modern foil against the traditional molding around the large Palladian window.

Color comes through the art, which the client already owned, but gained new life when we replaced the dark frames with much lighter ones. In all, we think our client’s style icon, Barbara Barry, would be quite comfortable in this newly designed space.

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