Have you ever dreamed about living in a tropical paradise instead of the suburbs? This family bought a house in St.Thomas, and are slowly renovating their spanish style home.
The first big question was what do we do to pull this great room together? The answer: create zones. It feels like one big missmatched room right now. What we need to do is look at what can we do to pull the whole thing together. There are 3 ways to do this: add more thoughtful lighting in each zone, unify the kitchen cabinets and then play up the unique characteristics of this beautiful home.
Look at all those cheep light fixtures! I can’t even handle it! Lighting doesn’t have to cost a lot but it can definitely look cheap depending on the setting. This is such a distict, home with historic, architectural details that when you try bringing in these “contemporary” light fixtures it just doesn’t work.
Do you see to the right and left doorways how they have that beautiful iron work in the arches? I would like to see that iron work brought to the inside of this space in the form of a chandelier, starting with the family room. Something really branchy like this one that feels like it could be original to the home:
Here’s an example from Mark D. Sikes book “More Beautiful” with a gorgeous iron chandelier that has a bit of a Spanish flair:
I love collected freshness which combines old items with new additions. The Spanish tiled floors and rustic chandelier paired with more contemporary clean-lined chairs over a blocked rug. When you buy a stylized home with historic purpose, let’s honor that uniqueness.
Second, over the kitchen island, I would change out the tiny chrome pendants to oversized teardrop glass pendants. I love the way the glass looks like it’s been hand blown by a local artist:
Lastly, over the dining table, we could go two ways. If you like things to be a little more “matchy-matchy” then another iron piece would tie nicely to the living room chandelier like this one:
Or, what I would like to see is bring in something FRESH and a little more contemporary, yet has a nod to the tropics. This inverted basket dome light made out of a natural fiber feels so current yet would give honor to the tropical location of the home. This is where you can bring something trendy to the space because the trend is actually pulled from past design styles. A space cannot all be old. You need that balance of old and new.
The second way to create zones in this great room is by unifying the kitchen cabinets. I would like to see all the cabinets (pantry, refridgerator surround, sink and island) get painted a creamy white. By just painting them all one color, the mix matched cabinets will feel uniform and purposeful. The countertops are a nice solid black granite that pairs nicely with the iron work and will flow seamlessly with a clean cream-colored cabinet.
In addition, wouldn’t some open shelves look so beautiful and give purpose to the asymmetrical wall space flanking the window? I would add open shelves to the left and right: 2 stacked small ones on the left side, double wide on the right. I love the look of these Pottery barn shelves (below) with the iron brackets and the rustic wood. The iron ties in nicely with the iron work in the windows and the chandeliers we chose. The rustic wood brings in a warmth and feels like it could be original to the home.
Lastly, to unify the whole space, I would paint the ceiling the same creamy white as the walls and keep the beams the natural wood. Even thought the ceilings are low, I wouldn’t want to get rid of that beautiful beam accents that are original to the home. They add character and charm and create flow through all 3 zones. Here are some examples of what it could look like:
It can be hard to make these decisions on your own when moving into a historic and very stylized home. My advise is don’t fight it! Look into designs of the past and bring that style to the current day. The trick is bringing in new styles based on the past. And this is where a designer can help with those decisions that freeze you in your thought process. We have the ability to tie all the elements together based on our own experience and knowledge of color, finishes, balance, textures, patinas, etc. We can help you from making a costly and disastrous decision. OK, maybe not disasterous! But definitely help you make the decision that will have you very pleased with in the end!
After working on this project, I am definitely inspired to look and dream of having a home in the tropics! How fun would that be?