I thrive on change – in life and in design. You may remember that I mentioned recently I decided to repaint my husband’s study and give it a little bit of a facelift, even though we only updated it three years ago when we moved in. I had an image in my mind of what I wanted it to be and it just wouldn’t go away. I had to see it come to life!
The color of the study before was a dusty brown, Barnwood by Martha Stewart, which I really liked but it was similar to my kitchen paint color and also blending in with everything else in the study. I was craving a pop of dramatic color.
My office photos by COURTNEY HUCKS, COLLECTIVELY SWEET PHOTOGRAPHY (before and “after” below)
I’ve always loved moody, dark, masculine offices or libraries. I love the idea of a gentlemen’s den or smoking room. Notice I did not say I love the idea of a “man cave” – that, my friend, is something entirely different and not an in any way an inspiration for me or something I want to be involved in!
I kept thinking about the “Gun Room” at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. It’s my favorite room in the whole mansion and it’s one of the last rooms you see, at the end of a tiny hallway, near the exit, and I’m almost sure it’s the smallest room too, but I love it. It’s painted a dark, glossy color, has a floor to ceiling glass cabinet full of taxidermy treasures and shotguns lining the walls.
I like speakeasies, and wood paneling, and bookcases and leather. I like deer heads, equestrian themes, silver trophy cups, tweeds, plaids and glass decanters full of scotch and bourbon. I like old maps and globes, antique desks and cigar boxes. In another life, I could be an aristocratic, English gentleman for sure.
I am also a sucker for antlers, much to my mom’s bewilderment, (“Bri, you don’t even like hunting and you would never hurt an animal!”) and so I had two antler sconces added to the wall with the bookcase, one on each side, that I found on sale online at Pottery Barn.
I love the detailed sophistication of London townhomes or manors and the rustic, rugged earthiness of South African safaris. If I could mix the film set of “Out of Africa” with that of “The Remains of the Day” it would be my perfect combination. I love the contrast of stately elegance paired with the worn and rustic.
So, you’re getting a feel for my vision. Now, add in a bit of glamour and a more fun, fresh take on tradition with bold colors, textures and a mix of styles. I like to be a little tongue in cheek with my design so it doesn’t feel stuffy or predictable. I don’t ever want to do exactly what’s already been done. In fact, when something becomes a trend, I want to run the other direction and boycott it altogether. I guess that’s my stubborn streak. But I do love taking tradition or timeless looks and updating them with my own style and spin. Hence, my choice to update the office.
This is the “after” with the walls painted Seaworthy by Sherwin Williams in semi-gloss and new pillows on the chairs from Circa Interiors. Seaworthy was always my first and favorite choice for the paint but then I second-guessed myself and tried another color that turned out to be a disaster. Seaworthy proved to be the true winner. We are happy with the result!