Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My Client, Sal

Picture a 30-something, real estate investing art collector with simple, chic, modern design tastes. Got it? Think Italian, with dark hair - a tinge of gray, bright smile and charismatic energy. Now think of the same modern art loving 30-something, in an 1890, 7600 square foot Victorian mansion, filled to the brim with chotchka and, of course, art. That juxtapose, is my new client, and friend - Sal.

Looking through the grand column opening of the main parlor into the second sitting area with fireplace. Take note of the generous carved detail of the columns, the crown molding, and more than generous variety of furnishings he'd like to re-purpose, edited of course.

Sound familiar? Many of you followed the journey at Karen's house. That was not a design endeavor, though that be the initial intent. Karen's house was a catastrophic mess, and the task of designing was overrun by the immediate need for cleaning. It left me with little time, and even smaller budget to do any design work at all. And although I was proud of the bedrooms chocolate brown ceiling and celery walls, (a grand departure from the white on white) her belongings were not in the house - and her style was yet to be seen. Since Karen has moved into the area, she's spent most of her available design budget on other necessary evils, and I haven't been able to work on pulling well thought out plans, in shell phase, to beautiful finished spaces.

Looking into the main parlor, from the informal sitting room pictured above. Take note of the very ornate window molding and detail. The furniture here ranges from French Country to Eastlake Victorian, and anything - and everything - in between. Convincing this self-confessed minimalist shouldn't be a problem (in theory), but it's never easy to tell someone that "it" has to go.

For Sal however, I have a great space, filled with delicious art and antique furniture. He has specific design tastes and, although they are a departure from my own, our values are very much the same. He's looking for useful, well composed space. He loves natural textures and hues, and his home has wonderful bones, and fantastic energy. His budget isn't large, but luckily we'll be able to do a great many things with the budget he's proposed.

The most exciting (for me) of the two rooms, the sitting room, taken from the dining room doorway. Notice the beautiful tile around the circa 1890 fireplace mantle, and the over sized rusted iron chandelier. There are two matching sconces that I'll be working with - but I've decided the amber glass shades will go, to be replaced by silk chandelier shades.

I hope you'll follow along as Sal's house is transformed - starting with the double parlor off the main entry of his gorgeous home. I'll catalog my findings here, with hopes of course that you all may benefit from and comment on the details and "tricks" we use to make these very formal spaces, more friendly - masculine, and useful. Though tonight was the first night I spent any great deal of time in the rooms, they have already started to speak to me. The colors, like those in the wood, and fireplace trim are shouting loudly - "Love me!, Enhance me!"

The beautiful tiles of the fireplace, their glossy emerald green voice crying out!

Saturday, I will be presenting the design board to Sal, and shopping with him at a few select showrooms and fabric shops. As always, I'll keep you all informed every step of the way! Also, don't forget to enter the shelter magazine give-a-way here.


  1. Artie I love this place as is and can hardley wait to see what you'll be doing with it... Don't you think a close up of Sal would have been nice... LOL... LOVED the columns and fireplace... Your going to have a great time redecorting this beautiful home...


  2. I am so excited to see another new artie project ! Please take me along for the ride. vicky

  3. There is so much potential for this living area. I can't wait to see how you transform it.

  4. I can't wait to see the transformation. He certainly picked the right person to help him.!!!!! It's going to be wonderful!

  5. Isn't it wonderful to have access to amazing spaces like this. And then to be able to leave your footprint as well! I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with these rooms. The diameter of those columns are awe-inspiring.
    Lisa & Alfie
    P.S. Regarding all the bric a brac. Did he collect it personally or inherit?

  6. I'll be watching the transformation, Artie. It will be fabulous!

  7. OooooOoooo Artie - Your friend sounds so interesting, and what a fantastic space he has - with so much potential to be show stopping!! It's absolutely begging for your touch to make that happen, and happen it shall! You are, afterall, the Room Whisperer. I can't wait to see what you do with it!

  8. Wowser Artie!! What a great house to play with!! I can't wait to see you work your magic on it! And antique freak that I am your friend Sal is my kinda guy *winks* Vanna

  9. Oh how exciting!! Thanks for bringing us along for this fun project!
    Have a great day,
    Karen in Texas

  10. Ooh, another exciting project for you!!!!!!!!!!!!! Are you planning on maybe doing this for a living some time in the future? This house looks amazing to me, and it's going to be so much fun to see you transform it to match his tastes. Look at that beautiful wood! Oh my.......

    Justine :o )

  11. What a beautiful home Sal has. Now don't go painting the f/place surround or you might have to answer to me. (Remember I live only a few hours from the Border...smiles.) It is gorgeous!

    I'm sure the transformation will be amazing. Enjoy the process.
    -RMS mrsben-

  12. I'm so looking forward to seeing what you have up your sleeve!
    How are things going at karen's house. Is she settled in? Has pea soup boy trashed everything again?

  13. That is so disappointing! Live and learn!!!
    Obviously, that will not be the case here.
    Hugs, B.

  14. Artie,

    I just came from Isa's..... I read what you did..... That was so thoughtful of you..... Your a great kid ;)

    As I wrote to her.... We hear of so many unplesant things going on in the world these days, that it is so heart-warming when we hear of the nice things that people do. You not only gave her a gift, but made me feel good for 'feeling' the warmth of your generosity.

    THANK YOU for being one of those nice people.

    (((((((((( BIG HUGS )))))))))


  15. What incredible bones this room has..The fireplace is out of this world "gorgeous".. I'll look forward to seeing the transformation..hugs ~lynne~

  16. It's Saturday! I can't wait to hear how the presentation went and see your board!

    I'm thinking of you! Knock 'em dead.

  17. Oh man, I can't stand the clutter. The mismatched mats! That place needs serious direction. I'm sure he has a lot of nice stuff but it's all lost in the... clutter. Yikes. Too bad he wouldn't let you just give it a whirl and see what you could do. That space has so much potential!
    Will try to write you more over nap time, dear- Stacy

  18. This is going to be a fabulous project. My mind is just spinning with possibilities.
    I can't wait to see how you will transform this space.