Main Line Photo Mom for taking my picture!
This week’s guest designer is Amy Forshew from Pemberley Style. Amy blogs out of Pennsylvania, where she lives with her two adorable kids and a British husband. She owns a beautiful classic traditional home accessories online store, Pemberley Collections. I love Amy’s sense of humor and penchant for all things English. Please, help me welcome Amy Forshew to The Shiny Pebble Designer Challenge:
“I graduated from Marymount University in Arlington, VA with an undergraduate degree in Interior Design and a minor in Art History. While I was a student I worked for interior designer Camille Saum. At that time in my life I really clicked with politics and decided to make a career change. I worked for Congresswoman Sue Kelly of New York, specializing in healthcare law and legislation. I also worked as a lobbyist for R. Duffy Wall & Associates and then in the firm of Preston Gates Ellis Rouvels & Meads in their lobbying practice.
I retired from the fast paced life of Washington, DC after I had my first child. I started doing interior design for friends. Now that we have moved for the VERY LAST TIME (halfway across the US and back inside of 14 months, once with a toddler and 8 months pregnant, and then with a one year old and a toddler, but who remembers all that stuff anyway) I have my own retail business, Pemberley Collections and work with a few interior design clients.
I would have to say my specialty is window treatments and upholstery. There are a lot of wealthy folks around where I live, but I have to say that everyone loves a bargain and getting a fair deal. I know where the bargains are and who has the best prices on fabric.”
Here are Amy’s answers to a few of my questions:
The Shiny Pebble: How do you define your style?
Amy Forshew: My style is definitely traditional. I tend to go with very strong color choices at the moment. With that said some of the most beautiful rooms tend to be understated and monochromatic.
TSP: What inspires you?
AF: Design magazines, fabrics (I can spend hours in a fabric showroom), stately homes and style icons like Jackie Kennedy Onassis.
TSP: What designer or life experience has influenced your design aesthetics?
AF: I think growing up in a place steeped in Revolutionary War history has had an influence. I’m from New Jersey (and I’ve heard all the jokes). Just down the road from the house I grew up in is a place called Knight’s Farm. Part of the original house dates back to 1675. The man who owned it in the 1770’s rented George Washington the boats which he used to cross the Delaware Christmas Eve. I think that’s really neat. My husband is British so we spend a lot of time in UK, which must have an influence on me.
TSP: Where is your go to source?
AF: My go to source for fabric is Pindler & Pindler and Duralee, great quality and price points. For lighting I love Shades of Light. For furniture I always find something at Baker.
TSP: What were your thoughts for my room?
AF: I approached Catherine’s dining room the way I approach any client – I listened to what she was saying and I looked at the rest of her house. Catherine wants to make her dining room more ‘hip,’ which I can do. The trick is creating a space that relates to the rest of the house which is more traditional. I think this is always a good practice, especially for Catherine’s home since the floor plan is more open and flowing.
Let’s start with the back wall, the one with the china cabinet.
The first thing I noticed are the bump-outs on either side. Bearing in mind that I have never set foot in her house, I’m betting that the builder did that to conceal the HVAC ducts. It gives you more square footage yes, but it can be awkward. I propose getting a guy in there to trim them out and make them look like square column or pillars. It might be tricky with the top of that door trim, but a good trim guy can do anything.
Then I would cover that back wall with grass cloth wall paper in a neutral color. I think the grass cloth is both hip and classic at the same time like Tom Ford.
I’m going to paint the whole room Farrow and Ball Cat’s Paw (240) which will make all that trim pop. There is so much light in that room that it can take a lot more color.
I would edit those accessories on the top of the hutch. We need to fill the space on either side with a bit more art work. Keep the landscape theme, stick with a classic frame very similar, but not too matchy.
Around to the right is the buffet. Keep that and the mirror. Don’t get rid of all your furniture unless it was something your husband bought before you were married and he picked it out with an old girlfriend. Catherine needs new lamps, specifically buffet lamps which are tall and thin to shed light on the food and don’t take up much room.
Now I’m going to steal a trick from Barry Dixon and accessorize with apothecary jars filled with colored water. Change the water with the season or fill with shells, small ornaments or sea glass.
Next I’m going to pop out of the dining room and into the foyer.
We can reupholster that bench with about a yard and a half of fabric so let’s keep it. I propose covering it in this:
Across from the buffet are two fabulous French doors. Now I think I can get a skinny rod over those doors, but again I have to be there with a step ladder and my measuring tape. I would take a solid silk fabric and make some drapery panels with a pinch pleat top. I’m going to match the fabric to the walls so it adds texture, dimension, and softness without being too distracting. It will also balance the room out with the buffet being directly across.
Now let’s move over to the center of the room. Going up I would coffer that ceiling.
If Catherine said no then I would at least paint the inset white, the same as the crown molding. It should be part of the ceiling and not a piece of the wall. I would beef up that crown molding as well.
Then I would install this chandelier:
I would keep the table and the arm chairs and put those side chairs on Craigslist. I’m not really in love with the arm chairs, but she can easily switch them out down the road when her husband is out of town and not checking the AMEX bill for awhile.
For side chairs I’m partial to Parsons Chairs. They are a classic look that can lean contemporary or traditional, best of all they can be slip covered. In three years when you have a thing for stripes you can have new ones made.
I would go with these from Ballard Designs. They have the straight back with no roll. You can’t slip cover the ones with the roll. Ballard has a good price point and they are well made.
And trim out the skirt with this:
I think those arm chairs need a nice solid comfy chenille so I’m going to cover them in this:
I love this rug from Restoration Hardware and it won’t fight with the grass cloth wallpaper.
Now Catherine mentioned that she likes that big chair in the corner. We can leave that but it’s going to need a big hit of fabric against the draperies and walls otherwise it might disappear.
The table can go in another room. The rectangle doesn’t work in that corner. I think a little Chinese garden stool would work well and the motif repeats that circle shape again.
I hope you enjoyed the trip around the room and the explanation behind my choices. I think it’s important to listen to your client and to have a reason behind every choice, even if it’s ‘because I love it’.
I absolutely love coffered ceilings!!! And how did she know about my current fixation on grass cloth for the walls?… Or about my unhealthy passion for glass and Barry Dixon? Great job! After reading this post I stopped by her online store and found a couple of pretty things that I would get for this room. Check out the topiaries (her logo is a topiary) and gorgeous tole planter. And of course my favorite, the most awesome seashell box that I totally must have!
Don't forget to stop by Splenderosa to see the outfit she has put together for this challengeIf you all enjoyed this makeover as much as I did and would love to see more entries and related posts, please check out the links below:
Amanda Burdge's Creating a Hip Space from a Traditional Place
Mark your calendars for next Wednesday, when Charlotta Ward from Space for Inspiration will be doing her own version of this room. I am thinking natural textiles and lots of fabulousness.
Once again, thank you The Daily Basics for helping us spread the word of the challenge.
Hugs and Kisses!
Linking to: YooHoo Wednesday, Make it Yours Day, Whatever Goes Wednesday, Creative Share,Tablescape Thursday, Remodelaholic, Fabulous Nest Friday, Metamorphosis Monday