|Home||Contact Us||Episodes||Meet The Gang||Shop|
Leo and Tracy had just bought this wonderful old house and their decorating budget was non-existent. Like most Victorian homes of this size, the rooms are small and the hallways narrow. It had been well cared for, which is always a bonus, but the white painted walls throughout the main floor, including new white kitchen cabinets, were uninspiring for a young, hip couple. The parquet floors were also in good shape, but a blah shade of mid-brown. It looked like we had a blank slate to work on.
Although Leo and Tracy had fallen in love with the architecture of an old Victorian style house, Tracy's interior decorating taste was decidedly more upbeat. Her best buddy Michael assured us Tracy dreamt of modern hotel style, with lots of chocolate browns and metallic touches. Well, done with care, these two opposite poles can meet very successfully.
We designed the entire main floor so that there would be a continuous flow of color and character. Part of the wall between the hall and dining room came down and the new opening was finished with trim and crown moulding. The parquet floors throughout were not only stained a richer, deep brown, but we taped off a pattern of small squares and left them the original color. This easy, but sophisticated design trick is an inexpensive way of updating the floor.
Blue and brown are a traditional pairing, always gorgeous together. The modern feel is created here with time-honored materials applied in a contemporary manner. Leather tiles produce a sensuous dining room wall, and tinted glass on the kitchen backsplash complements the steel appliances. Unbroken lines are clean and sleek, so that the eye moves easily from the dark wood dining table and floating shelf to the kitchen's wood center island and pot rack. The curved lines seen in the living room's organic furnishings are inviting and complete the yin and yang of the main floor's aspect.
Click on the small photographs on the right to view each of the different angles of the room.
To view pop-up info about Tracey's Kitchen And Dining Room, move your mouse over and around the image below.
Click here to view all the photographs and pop-up info.
You can make up your own imaginative pieces of art (I had the neighborhood kids draw Leo). Frame the pictures identically and they'll look great lined up in a series. Or, make your own decorative wood frame with pieces of moulding found at the lumber store. Here I covered a big frame with corner moulding squares that have a circle design, then painted it ivory. The empty frame becomes the work of art and can hang from the ceiling or on the wall.
It may seem odd to paint brand new cabinets, but white was too stark for this upbeat kitchen. We took particular care to prepare and paint the doors so that the caramel finish (Leather Soles, see sources) would look like it had been applied at the factory. See Debbie's letter in Tales from the Set for details and lessons learned the hard way.
Crystal chandeliers are making a comeback as are oversized lampshades. We combined the two elements for this stunning dining room light. The lampshade is made from 3 mm plastic film that we covered with tinted film -- the type used for windshields, found at a car detailing shop. We cut it to fit around the chandelier, leaving it a few inches short so that the lowest chandelier crystals would be visible. The cylinder is formed by joining the ends with two-sided tape and top and bottom edges trimmed with chrome moulding (also from the car shop.) Holes were punched around the top of the shade and wires threaded through to hang it over the light.
To refinish the floor it was first machine sanded and cleaned. The position of the squares that would remain natural was decided, and each small parquet square was taped off from the inside. To avoid leakage, the floor was scored around the tape using a metal ruler and sharp Xacto knife. Dark brown stain was rolled on, but we used a rag around the squares to prevent leakage. Once dry, the tape was carefully removed and three coats of acrylic varnish applied over the floor to seal and protect.
The plain kitchen was given a thoroughly modern makeover. Stainless steel appliances and raised sink look even more chic surrounded by pale blue walls and the Caribbean Dream blue cabinets. A tinted glass surround reaches high on the wall to accentuate its presence. The wooden island was remade from a store-bought countertop, and the simple wood pot rack highlights the kitchen's clean lines.
The leather wall tiles, made from 100% recycled natural leather (see sources), add a dramatic and sensual element to the dining room. We drew a grid on the wall using a ruler and chalk line, making the squares 24" x 24", the same size as each tile. Contact cement was applied to the wall and the back of the tiles and left to dry to the tacky stage. (See directions on the adhesive.) Each tile was placed into position and pressed down firmly with a pressure roller. Make any cuts using a metal square and Xacto knife. For a professional finish, we added cove moulding.
We bashed out a large opening between the narrow hall and the dining room to open up the main floor and create a sense of flow. Although wall removal can be fun as well as a great design tool, please always check with a structural professional to ensure the wall is not load bearing. Otherwise your ceiling will sag, and could collapse.
The wall of storage units was put together with pre-made melamine shelving units that we reconfigured to our own design, then painted Caribbean Dream blue. The words were stenciled on in silver. Find a sign store that can make stencils with a sticky backing. Press the stencils into position on the cabinets using a level to ensure the words are running in a straight line. We used oil paint for the cabinets, then primed the letters with a good quality oil-based primer so that we could stencil with water-based paint.