all in the details

The owners of this classic six share a love of books, modern furniture, antique rugs, and the color red, so there was plenty to work with on this project. Despite the solid ingredients, the space had never really come together. A previous renovation that joined the living and dining rooms had revealed awkward architectural nuances and confusing sight lines. The beige paint arm wrestled with the northern exposure; once-hip light fixtures now felt dated; the bookshelves were overflowing and a beloved rug wearing thin.

Also see the before and after video. 


Above, before and during the renovation. Below, the final results:

LIVING ROOM: A simple facelift with open shelving solved the storage issue and frames the view between rooms. The whole treatment is unified by raising the crown of the bookcases to the height of the picture molding, and painting everything the same silvery grey. We reused all the existing furniture, some of the old bookcases, and recycled the worn rug into throw pillows. Painting the backs of the shelves red adds depth, and mirrors the red dining room.


Above, before and during the renovation. Below, twin open shelves frame the joined rooms.



ENTRY: The family was lacking not only bookshelves but storage for coats and party supplies. The solution was to close off redundant doorways and fill the voids with two closets and a bookcase. In the entry, a third existing closet was enlarged, and the arch into the living room squared off.


Above, the view of the living room from the entry before, during, and after the renovation.


Above, the kitchen door is closed off  to become a closet. Below, the view into the living room is now properly framed.


TRAFFIC PATTERNS: Before, when guests entered the home, they encountered three doorways and a blunt column. Closing off the redundant doorways not only created better traffic patterns and disguised the column, it allowed us to add two closets and a wall of bookshelves.


Above, before and during the renovation. Below, afterwards, a defined traffic pattern and three times the storage.



DINING ROOM: Only a simple update to the paint and light fixture was needed, and an unnecessary swinging door removed. The silver walls play so much better in the northern exposure than the old beige. New up-down pleated shades are translucent, providing privacy without blocking natural light.


Above, before and during the renovation. Below, the final results:

Below, the plan added 2 closets and multiple bookcases, while framing the views properly: