Society Hill Neon: Dining and Living Room Before & After

This project was a special kind of challenge. The clients live in a gorgeous Greek revival residence in Society Hill.  The home is a national historic landmark (no pressure on the decorator!) that had recently undergone a historic preservation, and is replete with phenomenal original details and grand spaces – such as a library with vaulted ceilings, an inner courtyard, and a heavenly rooftop terrace.  Add to this grace and grandeur our exceptionally stylish clients – who rather than interpreting the space in a traditional way, sought to infuse an avant-garde aesthetic into the home.

I was asked to finish the living and dining room spaces, and to decorate the foyer.  My client already had several elements in place that she wanted to keep – including a sofa, drapes, and a rug in the living room, and the majority of the furnishings in the dining room. My job was to build upon the existing pieces and help bring her vision to fruition.  This was a ridiculously fun project.  We were free to be bold and edgy with our textiles and art.  My client doesn’t shy away from the outrageous and has a keen eye for the fabulous.  The result is a vibrant, polished, fabulous family home that I am so proud to show off today.  Welcome to part one of Society Hill Neon!

BEFORE

AFTER

With the dark sofa and curtains remaining, I knew we needed to lighten the walls and add some vibrant elements.  In particular, the existing neon rug was a strong element to work with, and became a big inspiration point.  We added colorful pillows to play with the rug; selected a new, lighter coffee table to offer some levity against the heavy sofa; and installed new sconces to provide both functional light and add a bit of delicacy to the space.  And then there’s the art!  We sourced the piece above, along with another piece for the dining room, at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art’s (PAFA) student exhibition. This annual event is seriously fabulous, and is a great way to source local art in Philly. This particular piece (above) was recently on loan to the Woodmere Art Museum, and happily has just returned home to my client’s living room.

In terms of function, this room needed more seating and more closed storage, so we reclaimed a previously underutilized space (opposite the sofa, adjacent the the fireplace) and added a custom upholstered wingback and a great little cabinet to store the inevitable stuff of family life.

BEFORE

AFTER

 

My client was struggling with styling the shelves (don’t we all?!), so I suggested we start with the shelves themselves before we jump into styling their contents.  In my experience, fewer shelves are often visually preferable, so we reduced the number of shelves and changed them out for glass. This laid the groundwork for a lighter, less cluttered feel.  We then had this dramatic Cole & Son wallpaper hung in the background to add graphic punch and interest.  And with all of that groundwork, our work was nearly done, and it was just a matter of styling her existing items and adding a few new ones.

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

Finally, we finished off the adjoining dining room with new art above the fireplace (purchased from the aforementioned PAFA auction) and new, colorful head chairs for the dining table.

BEFORE

AFTER

And voila! This 220 year old historic home still has new tricks up her sleeve, thanks to this young family who chose to imbibe it with a vibrant, dynamic spirit!

 

Photography by Kira Luxon

 

  1. Peggi

    Absolutely smashing! Every piece you added seems made for the spot; elevated & completed in one fell swoop. Truly fantastic.

  2. Nicole

    Wow! LOVE the art, And it completely makes the space.

  3. Louise

    Great transformations! It looks so nice!

  4. I always admire your beautiful work! This was a fun transformation! Well done!!

    • Naomi

      Thanks, Leslie – it was a fun one!

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