what I do

what I do

Friday, July 29, 2011

Transforming an oak staircase & reinventing a fireplace, for starters

The majority of my clients come from referrals from other clients. Which means that usually when someone hires me they are somewhat familiar with my work. And most of the time that gives them a certain level of trust. But sometimes I get a new client who does not know anything about me at all. And that can be hard because they really have no idea of what I can do.

Leonardo Chair & Loring Sofa - Room & Board, Parsons Table - Crate & Barrel, Franco Table - Drexel Heritage Postebello Collection

Which is what happened this Spring when a painter I work with referred me to a client of his to help select their interior paint colors. It was one of those jobs that was supposed to be easy and quick; or so I thought.

Sausalito Chandelier - Troy Lighting, Ella Side Chair - Drexel Heritage Postebello Collection, Cambria Table  & Dresser - Thomasville

When I first met with the client, she told me they also wanted new flooring and carpet. And as I was trying to select a carpet color that would not conflict with their fireplace tiles, the client informed me she never really liked the fireplace in the first place and suggested maybe we should re-do it. And the job quickly changed from a simple color and materials consult to a full house makeover.

              Hush AF-95            Coastal Path AF-380         Meditation AF-395       Atmospheric AF-500      Swiss Coffee DEW 341

What surprised me was the incredible amount of trust they had in me from the beginning. They let me do my job and although they had input, they allowed me guide them, educated them and push them forward and even challenge them a bit. It has turned out to be one of my most enjoyable projects.

Cyprus Extension Dining Table - Room & Board, Pillar Candle Chandelier - Restoration Hardware, Klismos Dining Chair - Crate & Barrel

When we started the house had a lot of oak. And the client made it very clear that she loved her oak. But as she trusted me to make a few changes (starting with the fireplace) little by little I was able to show her how a little bit of white paint can make a huge difference.

Here is what the living room fireplace look like on my first visit:

The raised hearth and extra width really cut into the room's space and made it difficult to make a nice seating arrangement. When the client suggested she was okay with changing the materials I knew this was my chance to create a more appropriate sized surround and eliminate the raised hearth.

I cut the surround down by two feet and had a mantle constructed to give it some architectural interest.

Here is the room before:

And here is the room now (patiently waiting for the furniture delivery):

Another issue for me was the staircase. It was heavy and unexciting.

I am grateful that the client, even though she loved her oak, trusted me to make a few changes.

We will be adding an apron to the wall side of the staircase and replacing the carpet. Furniture arrives next week! To be continued ...


Dorothy said...

Wow, what a transformation! Great job and great eye to see the potential.

17 Perth said...

Oh wow....Beautiful transformation! The new fireplace and staircase looks amazing. Great work--I can't wait to see the end result!

Town and Country Gals said...

What a beautiful job you've done so far! Love the material you used on the fireplace and the mantel is Fab! A little paint does make a big diff, the staircase looks so much more up to date and fresh!
Can't wait to see the finished project!

pixelimpress said...

fabulous changes! they really make a difference.

Marianne said...

Looks great! I have a raised hearth on both of my fireplaces and am dying to get rid of them. They take up way to much space. Thanks for the inspiration! Enjoy your weekend!

Mary Ann Pickett said...

The mantel and staircase...SO MUCH BETTER. They are lucky to have you!! Great taste.

traci zeller designs said...

So pretty!! I just did something very similar with a fireplace in a reno I'm working on. Can't wait to see the end result!!

JennyM said...

Hi Sherri, I was wondering what kind of paint you used to paint the staircase white. I have oak cabinets in my kitchen and would like to paint them white! Thanks for any tips you can give!! jenM

Unknown said...

Hi Jenny, I used Dunn Edwards Swiss Coffee for the color. The paint I believe was just interior latex but I am not positive as the painter did it.