Steven Gambrel shows us that we don't have to stick to the muddy browns to get primitive colonial decorating to look great. Gambrel is certainly not afraid of color and neither should we. Here you see a room that is anchored on solid wood distressed flooring. Great flooring allows you to reach into the deeper color tones such as the raspberry tones above. Cadmium red drapes give this room an extra punch of color with the black accents. A wood poster bed is a needed neutral in this room. Antiques again are well chosen for this home.
Getting The LOOK- Great Antiques
If you study Gambrel's photos, he always uses esquisiste period antiques in his homes to tell a story. Perhaps in some schemes, the story to be told is luxury, while others it is a sence of country and comfort.
-Consider editing your home. Having one great piece of furniture per room is enough to make an impact. Start with one great piece of furniture and base your room around it over time.
- Almost every designer talks about layering. Start with the floors, then decide on the furniture. From there, consider your fabrics, and then base your wall colors off of the fabrics and the furniture. Any chair can be customized. Figuring out your fabrics first can allow you to customize your chair paint color, wall colors, and any additional accessories from that point.
-One really easy way to get the colonial appearance is to take historical pieces of art and have them color photocopied. Tranfer these images into period looking frames with the intended style you are going after. If it is more primitive in nature, consider something streamlined. Regency and Federal interiors feature a number of rounded gilt wood frames. This is one of the easiest ways of adding a high end look without the cost of expensive oil paintings.
-Don't be afraid of working with saturated colors for the walls. Just look at the impact many of the color choices had on Gambrels interior. Consider matching up the color of the wall to the matting in your picture frames. Working with the same hues can go a long way of bringing together a look. If the color is too overwheming, don't add white, add wood. Distressed wood furniture, wood chairs ect.... White can be a bit too modern, while gray, even a light gray can work wonders of reigning in an overpowered room.
-Edit out the modern furniture. Trust me, if you truly are a lover of period style, getting rid of some of those modern pieces will automatically allow you to take control of the room and turn it around to more of a historical appearance. Antiques automatically make your home look as though it is worth more! Start collecting great pieces that you adore! Sometimes LESS IS MORE! De-clutter your room, so that guests can zoom in on the most important pieces of your home than be lost in knick nacks. If you have a lot of items, such as a dozen of sconces for the wall, consider pairing them in symetrical patterns. The look won't be as busy.
-Have fun with what you have. If you have some old plates that you love, display them on the wall than keeping them in the cabinet. If you have some old wood chairs that you think will work in your scheme, paint them! If you look on my pinterest account, I have collected historical paint colors. Decide what would work, and try to have the color matched. Distress your furniture like a crazy woman! You can always re-paint the areas that you don't think work. Brown glaze is your best friend. A light layer of painted brown glaze has been my secret for making my modern reproductions looking like period antiques. The best thing, is all my painted pieces ARE my favorite colors. '
-Don't be afraid of trying something. If you mess up on upholstering, or a paint finish, don't fret about it. I have learned somethings along the way by doing it myself, and some things haven't worked out, but my skill levels have increased over the years with practice. Chances are you are going to tweek your room in the years to come. The whole process is supposed to be fun. Make it your own. Make it YOU!
-Look for deals! Your local thrift shops are great places to shop. Don't forget craigslist and amazon. In this post I list dozens of spray paint that you can buy off of amazon for as little as 5 dollars for 6 cans. Search out craigslist, and keep a good eye on ebay. Sellers know shippers which can load the furntiure and ship it across the country. Don't be afraid of shopping online. Better deals are online, and the best thing about online shopping is you are supporting small businesses. Women and men that go hunting in the antique stores every day, and have a business reselling those items online. There are beyond fantastic deals on oil paintings and small accessories on ebay because they are easy to ship. You can afford to be picky! Des
Getting The LOOK- Wood Flooring
Working with good wood floors is the single most important investment for a home transformation. Wood floors will give you the primitve effect while you gather the right antique furniture. It can be costly, but well worth it. Even the most minimal furniture scheme looks terrific with hardwood flooring.
-In this interior by Martha Stewart we see wooden floors painted to match the paint color scheme of the various rooms. Instead of a contrast we see all the colors work in sync.
- At Tinas blog you see a painted herringbone carpet she made by simply taping the floor and painting over the pattern using black and white paint.
-Whitewashed wood floors can really open up a space. For vibrant color shemes such as purple and blue, consider working with a beige or gray stains which works nicer with the vibrant hues. In this post I give my top reccomendations for paint stain.
- This interior shows raw wood herringbone floors against a really deep navy blue wall. One white wall provides the neccesary light for this room.
Getting The LOOK- Saturated COLOR
-Here is a perfect example of a colorful interior based on period design. Pecan stained burl wood goes hand in hand with the bright orange paint color on the walls. We see the rug anchoring the room quite nicely. It is needed to counter the powerful color on the wall. An upholstered French chair ties both colors together nicely.
-In this photo we see an exceptional deep red on the walls. The white wainscoting breaks up the red and the black oil portrait gives this home a period feel. The tables and chairs work perfectly with this traditional interior.
-Consider painting the trim of your room with a couple hues darker or lighter than the shade you pick for the walls. In this interior bright red is used on the walls and in the trim for a big impact effect.
-In this photo we see the wall broken up with two paint colors. Work with the same color tone for a dramatic designer effect. No chair rail needed!
-Various shades of green are used in this decorating scheme. Lighter tones are used on the wall, and a darker shade of green is used on the furniture. Accessories provide a punch of rich color.
-Here we see a very dark interior based around red. White brightens up the room, while the bed covers nicely blend this sheme of colors together. Here is a very rich example of what you can do with saturated color.
Quotes From Steven Gambrel
"I only watch TV occasionally, usually something on On Demand. So, since it's not a priority in my life, I don't want it to be the focal point of a room. I had it inset into the wall of my library, and then I hung a picture in front of it. I just take the painting off the hooks when I want to watch TV. But most of the time, no one would ever know it's there." Steven Gambrel House Beautiful
Some Great Links:
-Style Compass- Steven Gambrel- 1st Dibs
-A Conversation With Designer Steven Gambrel - The Style List