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The homeowners wanted wall covering in the dining room of their 1910 home, but they were on the fence about the color.

Interior designer Alex Von Ahsen from Phelan’s completely understood, so they struck a compromise. Paint the walls above the wainscoting the same color as the proposed wall covering and live with it for six months, Von Ahsen suggested.

It worked. When time was up, the homeowners had fallen in love with the color. Now the walls are covered in soft teal grasscloth — hung horizontally to complement the size of the room.

“It’s bright and cheery and has such a gorgeous feel. That dining room has such beautiful woodwork and (original) plaster ceilings with design, that the soft teal color warms it up and shows off all of it,” says the homeowner.

The homeowners purchased the stately home in 2007 and have phased in their renovations. “They’ve lived here long enough to know how they use the space, and how they want it to look. The house lends itself to entertaining,” Von Ahsen notes.

“Everything is about showcasing the room and the people in the room, and it’s always nice to play into the character of the house. I don’t like a space that is too generic or over-done so that it lacks an authentic vibe. You want a sense of ease, a nice flow for traffic through the rooms. You don’t want to overfill the space with furniture.”

The double pedestal dining room table is from Thomasville’s “Spellbound” collection, while the granite-topped credenza and hutch are from Thomasville’s “Studio 455” collection. The wooden back chairs are from Stanley’s “Avalon Heights” collection, and host chairs at either end of the table are CR Laine. The same Schumacher “Sophia” velvet fabric in driftwood hangs as elegant draperies at the windows, trimmed in bronze “Labryrinth Tape.”

“The host chairs … that took me about a year to decide that Alex was right, and I should do it. Now I’m so glad we chose those chairs,” the homeowner says.

As pretty as it is, all of the fabrics chosen had to be durable enough to hold up to children and six dogs.

“I don’t allow them in every room, but every room has fabrics that can put up with the hair and claws — and the kids’ stains,” she explains.

The front parlor was originally used as her husband’s office, and now is a restful hang-out. “We still call it ‘dad’s office.’ We had that beautiful pink marble fireplace to work around, so we chose dark colors to make it more masculine without compromising the integrity of the fireplace.”

Dark walls are the wow factor here, heightening original wainscoting and moldings and set off by the coffered ceiling, which was added several years ago. A low-slung Chesterfield sofa, deep Edinburgh chair, both from Norwalk, and a custom-made rectangular ottoman in a paprika color runs the length of the sofa.

Von Ahsen describes the room as “handsome and easy to look at — a grown-up space for lounging,” and the homeowner is happy with the entire home.

“Sometimes I feel like I’m living in somebody else’s house,” she says, laughing. “It’s very warm, very inviting and relaxing, while respecting the era of the house.”


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