WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – Wallcoverings are an essential tool in home decorating. Dorothy Vivas, a senior designer at Wallauer’s in White Plains, used them extensively to restore a 100-year-old house that had previously been updated to a contemporary style.
“The new owner wanted to bring back the look and feel of the late 19th century, only this time using a newer more up-to-date color palate,’’ Vivas said. “I find wallcoverings can really take a room back in time and change the whole atmosphere and mood.”
One of Vivas’ first rooms to redecorate was the entrance foyer with basket-weave floor tiles, period lighting sconces, a dark wood pier table and a mirror to complement the dark wood entrance door. Tying it all together is a warm red wallpaper with small print gold medallions, Van Luit "Viola" in Red.
The scale of the patterns on the wall and floor complement each other without making the small area feel too busy. “The entrance is the first thing your visitors will see and sets the tone for the rest of your home,’’ Vivas said.
In the living/sitting room, Vivas selected wallcoverings and fabrics by Morris & Co., an English company, with patterns authentic to the arts and crafts and aesthetic movement of the late 19th century. “Although the designs are now more than 160 years old, they still appear fresh, never dated,’’ Vivas said.
She used Sanderson’s “Pimpernel” wallpaper in brick/olive on the walls above a newly added wainscoting, which was “aged” with tinted custom faux finish paint. Because of the strong pattern on the walls, the chairs were upholstered in a plain fabric.
Instead of a traditional dining room, the homeowner converted that space into a combined library-dining area. The room’s single window was replaced with French doors to connect the room to a beautiful outside garden. The garden inspired the use of a custom green paint finish for the walls, offset with white painted bookcases.
Because the carpet has muted shades of green, gold and burgundy, Vivas upholstered the comfortable reading chair with Sanderson’s fabric, “Autumn Flowers” in Biscuit Claret. With a table and small footstool nearby, the chair defines the room as a perfect location to read a book and take a catnap.
One bedroom was decorated with Morris & Co. fabric and wallpaper perfect for the walls, draperies and period furniture. Upstairs, two guest rooms were refreshed with simple window treatments and wallpaper. The walls in one room were faux-finished in a linen finish. Vivas dressed the window with a shaped cornice, covered with fabric by Kravet (“Gamelle” color Bijou) outlined with a red welting.
The same fabric was used for one side of the duvet cover. For the other side, she used a cream color matelassé by Vervain (“Clerveux”). The second guest room was wallpapered with Sanderson’s “Garden Tulip” and operable pinch-pleated draperies fashioned from matching fabric.
Wallauer’s White Plains location has expanded its collection of wallcoverings from France, Spain, Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom. Some regard the collection as the best homeowners will find in Westchester.
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