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Publication Date: 2014-03-10

Design Insights

The Card Room: Before and After

You may remember our bright little "Bridge Tournament Room" from the showcase house - I wanted to share a bit of the process of putting the room together before it all fades too far into the past...


Yep. This is what we started with. Nice size. Good windows. Decent light. Lots of heat vents. Lots of light switches. The space had originally been a work-out know, treadmill, weights, and even a sauna

Oh, and an old mirrored wall. There's the sauna - through that wooden door.

So . . . first we dressed up that sad mirrored wall. Adding the lattice work helped to bring the formerly utilitarian space some much needed style. And you'll also notice that we painted out the trim work in semi-gloss black. The black trim immediately smartened up the room . . . and its graphic nature certainly made the space feel more modern. Besides - 'workout room' no longer - this was becoming a garden room!

One of the other struggles with the space was our low ceiling. Really - it's only 7'9" from floor to ceiling. So . . . the ceiling was metaphorically and *actually* going to have to be part of the design. We chose this beautiful Cole & Sons Wallpaper - repeating the lattice work concept - and giving the ceiling some panac

And speaking of panache - 104 yards of Lilly Pulitzer toile certainly did the trick! THAT smartened up the room very quickly. My reasonings were varied. Firstly, the walls weren't in great shape - and I really didn't like the idea of having to fuss with a bathroom door (to a room that was not part of the tour) or that dreaded dark, wooden sauna door. So we just re-wrote the architecture of the room by tenting the entire space.

Custom sewing arrived from our workroom in souther California - including the pink linen box-pleated table cloths. We used box-pleating as a repeating motif in the room. It always feels like a more masculine detail - and helped balance out the very feminine space. But, don't worry - those are bright pink and green oversized plaid table cloths in there as well. The 'feminine' side of the space was going to be well covered.

Yes, at one point the 'pile-of-showcase-house' took up one whole end of our offices here in San Francisco.

And then, moving day came. As did all 16 dining chairs. I was really pleased that we were able to assemble a 'collection' of chairs instead of one large set of 16. When I was thinking about the room . . . as if it were a real room . . . in a real house . . . with our lovely hostess preparing the room for her day of cards with the ladies - it's not like she would just HAVE 16 matching chairs. She would have pulled the 8 chairs from her dining room. And maybe the 4 from the game table in the living room. And the two the flank the console table in her upstairs hallway. So this slightly cobbled together (yet, stylistically similar) group of chairs gave the room a bit a authenticity.

. . . the lacquered console and artwork went right into place. The rug, on the other hand, was on the floor for about 4 minutes before we rolled it back up . . . and sent it back. I wasn't completely sold on the idea of the rug - but, wanted to see it in place to make my final decision. So . . . away it went. You'll notice that we use that same 'box-pleating' detail in the style of the tenting. And then added a grosgrain trim and chrome nailhead to complete the look.

And by the end of the first day . . . it was starting to take shape. You'll see the repeated 'box-pleating' detail on the window valances too.

And then it was just all about getting the 'detailing' done. Unlike our own homes - one of the best parts about these installations is that everything gets 'touched.' Everything is placed in the room specifically. Every book. Every accessory. In fact, each of the playing cards was dealt and the first hand was played at each table!

(I often tell clients when we're getting ready to freshen up a room - the best thing to do is just take EVERYTHING out. That way I know without a doubt, everything piece of furniture, every single item has been placed purposefully.)

So after several months of planning and plotting - and three long days of installation . . . we had gone from this . . . .

All the way to this . . . .

Bright and preppy. With my love for gallery-hung artwork. With layers of lighting. And a healthy mix of pattern, scale, and colour. Even refreshments on the table for my 'ladies' to snack on.

Thanks for stopping by!


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