My stylish friend Mary Alice lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and recently tweaked her pre-war apartment to inject a fresh modern feel into her abode. Her husband grew up in the home, and as you walk the rooms you feel the authentic old world charm that comes naurally over time in a home that has been lived in for many years. With three growing children, it was time for a renovation, but Mary Alice jokingly coins the phrase
bringing to mind a simple update rather than a large decorating overhaul.
Keeping these principles in mind, Mary Alice combed through pages of her favorite magazines and books while soliciting advice from her collection of talented designer friends to update her home. Having a background in fashion design certainly helps in this department, and with her artistic eye she brings a modern appeal to this lovely apartment. The already beautiful taffeta ballroom curtains seem fresher with the Greek key trimmed raffia cushions plumped on the sofa.
She gets a gleam in her eye as she portrays the pillow story -
"I fell in love with these pillows from Holland and Sherry, but when I saw the price tag I balked".
Utilizing her FIT background and artistic talent she scooped up a cost effecient fabric and trim from Samuel & Sons in Manhattan and made them herself. Mary Alice uses her artistry to strategically place powerful colors without overwhelming, while using neutrals in important places to let the eye take a break. Come take a look....
The family uses this room often to eat, entertain, watch television and work on the computer, so the previous deep red walls, although rich and beautiful, began to feel outdated. fresh coats of white paint on the panels bring a lightness to the room, and the ceiling seemed to grow in height. Mary Alice used ingenuity to paint the dining chairs a glossy white and upholstered them with a very modern green patent leather. New fresh pillows and a sparkling overhead light add luster. The bright and modern silohuettes her sister-in-law created of the children's profiles add a stylish touch.
Mary Alice takes advice from her friend Elizabeth Mayhew's book,
Flip! for Decoration,
(for more information on Elizabeth's book, please see the sidebar for the link)
which is a virtual "how to" in decorating and the easy to follow step-by-step format takes some of the mystery out of decorating. Elizabeth also happens to be the newly named Editor In Chief of the famous Woman's Day magazine.
"I literally remade my bedroom from the pages of Elizabeth's book, even down to the vintage glass I used in the closets that we built"
Mary Alice smiles.
Last but not least, a simple modern fabric to update her two growing girls' bedrooms into a room that shines.
The romans shades are done in silk fabric from Baranzelli surplus. Out went the pink on pink fabric and in with this updated fabric, letting the iron bed, toile lantern and bones of this grand apartment shine!
Thanks for a glimpse Mary Alice!