Have you visited the Shelter for Help in Emergency (SHE) Design House 2016 in Keswick Estates yet? The Shelter is our area’s most important resource for providing services to women and children who are victims of domestic violence, most importantly operating a temporary emergency residential facility. Two tickets to visit the Design House provide a night’s shelter for someone in our community. Not only will you be supporting a fantastic cause but you will also see how a group of talented local designers transformed an empty house into a stunning home. Hopefully, you’ll be able to use these ideas in your own home.

The best way to understand the transformation is to look at before and after photos. My partner at Folly, Beth Ann Kallen, and I are the designers of the breakfast room. The Shelter also asked us to help stage the kitchen. Below are the before photos.The space had nice bones, beautiful hardwood floors, and high end appliances, but looked dated and lacked character.

Our first step was to paint – you can’t underestimate the power of paint. We selected a soft white for all of the trim and Sherwin Williams Snowy Owl for the walls. Luckily, the homeowners agreed to paint the cabinets as well, which made a huge and immediate impact on the space. We also removed the ornate carved details above the range and on the front of the island. Suddenly, it was fresh and light.


The next step was to change out the builder grade light fixtures. Over the kitchen island we hung black drum shade pendants to coordinate with the existing countertops. In the breakfast room, we initially selected an open iron and brass fixture. However, after discovering the ceiling would need reinforcement to hang the fixture, we changed tactics and specified a large custom made drum pendant in the green and white leopard linen that matched the cushion cover fabric we used on the kitchen stools. Green was our accent color, and helped to make the breakfast room feel open and connected to the outdoor patio designed by the Market at Grelen.


Next came the fun part– setting the table with an eclectic mix of placemats, china, linens and accessories, and hanging works of art. Our favorite piece is a map of London, framed in 18 sections, that measures about 10 ft. wide and 7 ft. high. I found the map in a shop in London– a city that both Beth Ann and I love. Beth Ann lived in London for a few years and I traveled there often when I worked for Christie’s auction house in NYC.


Gather your friends, have lunch at nearby Keswick Hall and definitely visit Design House 2016. Tours run daily May 7–22, 2016 from 10am–4pm with extended hours on Wednesdays and Thursdays to 7pm. During your visit, look for the before photos displayed in each room– you will be amazed and inspired! ~



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