Simple Update, Impactful Design

Photography by Sarah Elliott

You know, sometimes I just can’t help myself. When I get an idea into my head there is absolutely no stopping me. So as many of you know I have been knee-deep in a renovation in Brooklyn for the past two years and was simultaneously working on the release of Cook Beautiful. Now that I am getting to the tail end of the Brooklyn renovation, I am beginning to work on my second book, in which I will dive into the vast world of interiors and the creative journey that leads to beautiful design.

You know when it rains it pours and I’m standing in the rain with my arms wide open without an umbrella – loving every minute of it. So, lemme get to the point here – while most sane people would focus on just one renovation project at a time, I have made the can’t-stop-won’t-stop decision to also give my Amagansett home a little facelift. Now this psychotic decision is 100% prompted by the design book since I will feature my beach abode in the tome.

Eight years into living in this charming little bayside hamlet, I still love the home, the architecture, and the décor, whole heartedly. However back in 2009 when I designed the house, we were in the midst of the Brooklyn-style reclaimed material and eclectic oddities movement and weeeellllll, while I still have an appreciation for that roughhewn look with an aged patina, I was beginning to feel that I needed to inject some crisp newness into the space. Just brighten things up a touch to create a bit more balance and refined elegance. I didn’t want to wipe the slate clean and strip the home of its original identity, just do a few small tweaks that would make a large impact visually, but not a large dent in my budget.

One simple, yet impactful project with a clever solution sat at the end of the hallway leading to the master bedroom. The corridor was punctuated by a dark and moody statement wall, clad in horizontal reclaimed wood. The hallway is actually light filled with clearstory windows that allow sunlight to stream into the top of the wall. However, this space always felt a bit drab to me because of the dark wood. The mirror where I did a final check before leaving the house was also situated in this shadowed corner — you can see why it needed an update!

There is nothing I love more than problem solving and beautiful design — this little transformation allowed me to exercise my mind and creative eye in both capacities.

With the magic of paint, plaster, and a little help from my husband and son, in one weekend we transformed this small nook to give it a fresh identity. Victor and Jivan removed the wood cladding and applied a new layer of dry-wall. I got crafty and plastered the wall using Kalkitir mineral paint in a grey-ish white color called “cloud.” The application was completely foolproof. Applied with a trowel, it dried beautifully with a textural and tactile movement that brought some personality to the space. I also removed the sign-of-the-time “2010” sconces with their filament elongated lightbulbs – ok, ok, I suppose I might have gotten caught up in a trend! Anyway, adding to the elegance of my new space are a pair of art deco style wall sconces crafted by Hudson Valley Lighting. The Hudson Valley Lighting Stanford Sconce, with an aged bronze finish, elongated tail, and the soft glow of silk lamp shades, are both stately, due to their scale and elegant with a timeless quality. The pair of sconces effortlessly brings the space together, while also gently illuminating the slightly textured finish on the wall. I love how the blackened Georgian Demilune is juxtaposed against the newly brightened walls — the sconces really unite this new tonal color scheme to round out the nook’s updated look.

There is nothing I love more than problem solving and beautiful design — this little transformation allowed me to exercise my mind and creative eye in both capacities. Yes, I was already filled to the brim with the Brooklyn reno and two books, but this was a super fun and easy challenge. Our style does change over the years and you do not need to spend a fortune to make small improvements to your home. And let’s face it, is also pure fun to do-it-ourselves and take on mini-projects like this. It never ceases to amaze me how a new coat of paint (or plaster) and new light fixtures can breathe fresh life into a room. Take a peek at the before and after and shop the Hudson Valley Lighting sconces below.

Share this Swoon –

Necessary Objects

These items may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission if you make a purchase using this link.