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Brian Edward Millett

Where all things beautiful collide

The entry of this house and any home begins the story that the dwelling as a whole tells.  I’ve talked about the need for color schemes to be cohesive throughout the home before, but that doesn’t mean you have to have the same three or four colors in every room.  For instance, this entry consists of mostly chalky whites with a touch of ice blue and accents of dark wood, bronzed metal and taupey cement (consider all materials i.e. metals, woods, etc. as colors).  I plan on (and will talk about later) adding browns, plum, and a vibrant yellow to the mix in other rooms.  The cohesiveness can come from simply keeping the trim the same color throughout, or the fifth wall of the house, the ceiling the same color.  I imagine the lower floor being bright and airy with a warm industrial feel to contrast the Neo-Georgian facade.  Plaster-like walls and glistening concrete floors begin that story.  I love trim, but I picture less of it than I normally would, with no crown, exaggerated baseboards maybe 12-14 inches high, and simple trim around clean-lined paneled doors and openings into rooms.  This would all be painted a similar chalky white to the walls but a bit glossier, not cream, but just a notch above stark white.  Using less trim is also cutting down on the use of trees, but there are more and more options everyday using reused woods and wood substitutes if you crave crown molding.  Back to the entry specifically.  Like I said, it sets the tone for the other rooms, especially the living and dining rooms that flow off of it symmetrically on either side.

an inspiring foyer

Upholstered walls in this San Francisco foyer have been given the added touch of nailheads that emphasize the shape of the gothic arches.  The brass of those nailheads matches the brass wall lamps that line the back of a pale blue upholstered sofa with tufting and tassel trim.  All the original woodwork has been painted a fresh white that works with the white painted chairs, also upholstered in a pale blue.  The carved wood center table adds an exotic note, and the animal print carpet that also runs up the stairs adds some playfulness.

wall color

The interior side of the exterior walls will continue the smooth stucco texture of the outside, so that goes for the entry as well to maintain consistency.  I think this subtle texture will add another dimension, and will be a great contrast to the great furniture pieces I intend to layer in.  This will also be the ceiling color for the main floor.  I plan on playing more with color upstairs in the private spaces of the house.  Any paint used will be low VOC (volatile organic compound).

stairway runner

To warm up the entry and entire house for that matter, I would like to see well-chosen rugs throughout.  The dark stained wood treads of the stairs would be beautifully as is, but I think a striped runner is the bold stroke this mostly white room needs.  This neutral and blue stripe is not only in keeping with my color palette, but the stripe itself is a nod to the updated Americana feel I’m going for.

floor color

This rich Drabware-like taupe is one of three tones of this color I would use.  You will see a darker version on the sashes of every window inside, and a lighter version on the kitchen cabinets, and any wood paneled accent wall or mantle (see living and dining rooms).  Concrete floors are another great product for the energy minded home because of the low maintenance and overall better for the environment production process.

entry rug

As you walk through the front door, a large flat-woven rug will great you.  This isn’t a tiny rug by any means.  It will be roughly 8 feet in diameter.  I love the rough edges too, which again plays up the fancy farmhouse vibe.  This texture will look smashing against the high-gloss taupe floor.  Think natural like seagrass, jute, cotton, and wool when choosing carpet and rugs.

stairway

This is a similar version of the stairway I envision.  The spindles will be a simple design painted the trim color, with a dark-stained railing to match the treads.  This picture also shows the great combination a striped runner makes, and the wall color shown is an accent in my entry design.

hanging light

light fixture

I’ve always gone back to this fixture as a favorite (top), especially for entryways.  The hardware throughout will be a bronzed metal as seen here.  I actually have a custom fixture in mind that I would really like to use.  It would be a simple glass orb hung from the top by a bronze cap (bathroom above).  Inside would be an Edison bulb (which you will see repeated elsewhere).  The bottom third of the fixture would be dipped in a “mercury” finish to reflect light up, and for the sheer beauty of it.  The fixture (at top) could have the same treatment done as well.  I was inspired by the old lightbulbs that were actually dipped in mercury (below).  Since these bulbs are not the most efficient and will be used as accents, not as main sources of light, I would counter that by using energy efficient bulbs in all lamps and commonly used fixtures.

accent color

portieres

A tradition of homes great and small back in the medieval times and beyond was the portiere.  These panels of fabric hung from doorways and would be closed to protect from drafts, and to create rooms within rooms.  Today they are simply an extra layer to add to a home.  The entry of this home is fairly stark in its color scheme and architecture, so the addition of fabric is the perfect texture to add warmth.  The ceilings are tall and the openings to the living and dining rooms follow suit.  The portieres above are very similar to what I would do, introducing the ice blue I love as the main panel color, with a few inches of a warm white at the bottom hem and the top.  I would use an organic fabric like a linen using natural dyes and will do so wherever possible in the entire house.

accent fabric

furniture color

armchairs

These chairs are based on an antique, but since they are in fact new I can have more fun with them!  To add a little bit more wood to the room I would leave them as is as far as stain color.  I would then upholster the seats in a beautiful blue and white John Robshaw block print.  These chairs are also found in the adjoining dining room where they will be painted a darker, yet still vibrant, version of the portiere fabric blue.  I imagine two armchairs in the entry on either side of a console, and six painted side chairs, with the same fabric, in the dining room accompanying custom upholstered chairs.  These armchairs could easily be dragged into the dining room for extra seating.  I will be using some new pieces throughout the home, but antique and vintage pieces will have a bigger presence (another environmental practice).

starburst mirror

I always believe that art, mirrors, and anything hanging on the walls should never remain stagnant.  One of the mirrors I envision in the entry would be an overscaled sunburst mirror (always a classic) that would be part of the rotating collection.  I would want it to be around four feet total in diameter.   Every room needs a little sparkle that both the gilt finish and the mirror itself add.

John Dickinson console table

I chose this console table for a couple reasons.  First of all it is one of John Dickinson’s most beautiful designs.  That’s almost reason enough!  I also chose this table because of how the texture of the cast plaster would work against the smooth stucco walls of the same color.  I imagine it looking as if it is part of the wall and how modern that would be, yet reminiscent of the stone that would have covered the exterior of an old American farmhouse.  These tables can be found in less expensive reproductions, since original Dickinson pieces are snatched up instantly at auctions for a pretty penny.  If you can, buy the original.

console lamps

A Christopher Spitzmiller lamp is always a good choice for tabletop lighting.  These are a newer design of his that are a variation on the classic gourd shape he is so known for.  I liked these because of their bisque-like finish instead of a shiny glaze, and that they are a smaller scale.  I would use two of these on the console in front of the starburst mirror.  They are short enough that they will not block that beautiful piece, and the gilded base picks up on the mirror’s frame.  I’m playing with scale and texture a lot, and I think the results will be magical.  Christopher Spitzmiller lamps are all handmade and are created in very small batches to cut down on the global footprint and to keep them special.

tiger's eye box

my favorite anemones

The beautiful John Dickinson piece is a work of art all by itself, but the lighting I’ve selected is a necessary part of the room that will compliment it.  Not much more is needed.  I would add a simple stack of art and design books topped with a beautiful decorative box (if you buy one made of a semi-precious stone like tiger’s eye, do your research and make sure they are conscientiously made) , and one or two small containers of fresh cut flowers (organic if possible)…so important as the finishing touch!

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