Main Line Today Magazine

See our most recent work in Main Line Today magazine. We are excited to have worked with this special client on their third home. Thank you to Main Line Today for featuring our work!

Lighting in Your Home: It’s Looking Up!

Lighting plays an important role in your home. Of course we need lighting to see; that’s the functional role of lighting. But lighting can also step up and play a decorative role in a home as well. There are many different types of lighting, but we are going to focus on hanging pendant/chandeliers, semi-flush lighting and wall sconces. Often times, decorative lighting may serve as an integral design feature in a room.

First, let’s look at hanging pendants and chandeliers. These are the fixtures you would typically see hanging in a dining room or kitchen above a table. Pendants can be small or large. People usually think of kitchen islands when they think of pendant lighting. But pendants and chandeliers are turning up in entry foyers, going up steps, in bedrooms, and even bathrooms and powder rooms. Semi-flush fixtures hang close to the ceiling, but may drop down 12-18 inches. Wall sconces are lights that hang on the wall.

When choosing pendants/ chandeliers, semi-flush lighting and wall sconces the scale of these lights in relation to the size of the room, furniture, etc. is very important. A light that is too small or too large will look odd in a space. Also, the style of the light makes a difference. A traditional looking light in a contemporary space may look out of place. Remember too, that the finish of the fixture should blend with other finishes in the room.

Another important thing to keep in mind when selecting these types of lights is to pay attention to the amount of light a fixture gives off. If it’s too much, a dimmer can always control the light output, but if it’s not enough, you are kind of stuck.  These fixtures can be used for task lighting, or they can be used to set a mood or feeling within a space.

We want to share with you some of the lighting we have used in our projects and why.

This small star shaped pendant fixture is perfect in the entry foyer of this 300 year old farmhouse. It provides ample light to greet guests and the shape and finish coordinate well with the other decorative items in the foyer.

small star pendant light

This large pendant fixture was used in this space obviously for light, but also to create a dramatic look in the room. Since all other fixtures are close to the ceiling, this pendant demands attention. It’s polished nickel finish is reflective and goes well with the other finishes in the room.

Large pendant light

Next, the glass baubles on this chandelier leading up to the second story are just right for the baby grand piano below. The airiness of the fixture provides the perfect contrast to the heaviness of the black piano – it almost looks like it’s floating. Of course the light also leads the way to the second floor.

small chandelier

These wall sconces on either side of the family room window provide ambiant light and softness to this contemporary space.

wall sconces

This semi-flush light fixture was used above the kitchen table to provide light without blocking the view to the outside. The light fixture has an interesting detail at it’s base and the finish of the metal and the shade coordinate with the other items in the kitchen. In this case, the light is beautiful, but is not the focus of the room. One thing to look for when selecting a drum type fixture is a light diffusing cover on the bottom of the fixture that hides the bulbs from view underneath.

semi-flush light fixture

In summary, lighting plays a key role in your home and lighting fixtures provide a way to bring light in while serving as a design element in your space. Need help finding the perfect lighting for your home? That’s where we come in!

Wallpaper – Go Big By Going Small

Set your preconceived notions about wallpaper aside.

Wallpaper is making a splash as the new “it” kid on the design scene. It never really went away, but gone are the days of the basic boring wall coverings. Now it’s patterns and textures and florals and geometrics (insert, “OH MY!” here). If you are wallpaper shy, or traumatized by the wallpapers of the seventies, let’s take a look at easing back into these “goods”  in a small way.

First up, the laundry room. Most people don’t love to do laundry so why not make your laundry room a lively place that is appealing to the eye? Here, this trellis pattern by Schumacher and Co. infuses some fun and color into a basic white laundry room.

Wallpaper - laundry room

Next, a powder room is the perfect place to add interest without a huge commitment and without breaking the bank. This powder room by Muse Interiors is infused with a royal blue and white stylized block print wallpaper . It adds interest to the room and certainly makes a bold statement. Wallpaper can add “pow” to any powder room. See our last blog where we enumerated other ways to add pizazz to your powder room… See Previous Blog Here

Powder room wallpaper

Next, an accent wall can infuse a space with energy and can even take the place of artwork. We recently had this red zebra print wallpaper by Scalamandre installed in a client’s foyer. A custom credenza will be placed in this niche as well. The wall has high impact and will certainly be a conversation piece whenever anyone new enters the home.

zebra print wallpaper

Here’s another wall accented with wallpaper in a bedroom at Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi. A vintage French map was used to provide interest to the bed wall. The result is stunning.

Wallpaper accent wall

Next, consider backing a bookcases or bookshelves with wallpaper. This can add a pop of color, texture or pattern to a bookshelf area which will immediately add a more lively look. Go easy on this one… a little goes a long way!

Bookcases backed with wallpaper

Melanie Johnson Photography for Domino


Bookshelves back with wallpaper

Design by Christina Murphy

Finally, another way to add wallpaper in small doses is to install wallpaper in picture frame mouldings. Here, wallpaper was inserted into picture frame mouldings to add pattern and color to a space. The result is an instant impact.

wallpaper in moldings

Have we convinced you yet that this is no longer your grandma’s wallpaper? Here are some interesting textures and patterns to consider…

Fun & New

Eykon wallpaper

This Eykon wallcovering adds texture and color to this wall.


Elitis wallpaper

Ths wallpaper by Elitis adds warmth and interest to this wall.


Lori Weitzner wallpaper

This fun Lori Weitzner wallpaper is a nod to all that is fit to print.


Osborne & Little wallpaper

This “homey” wallpaper by Osborne & Little is anything but.

We can provide wallpaper ideas that will give immediate impact to a particular area of your home. You can opt for one of the smaller ways we talked about above, or wallpaper an entire room. Walpaper is going big and waiting to come into your home!

Has Your Powder Room Lost its “Pow”?

Spring is just around the corner and it’s time to take a good long look at your powder room. This is most likely one of the smallest rooms in your home which makes it a “big bang for your buck” project. Typically this is an often used room for both family and guests alike. Also, chances are very good that the room is so small that no plumbing needs to be moved. This is a win! So where do you begin with a powder room renovation?

When considering a powder room renovation, begin by taking a serious look at each of the following with an objective eye:

Floors – If your floor is tile, is it dated? Are there cracked tiles? Are the grout lines wide or dirty? If so, it may be time for a new floor.

Walls – If your walls are painted, is it time for a refresh? If there is wallpaper, is it dated or coming apart at the seams? Perhaps you currently have painted walls, but want to make an impact with wallpaper.

Lighting – Is there ample lighting? Is it dated? Is it time for LED lighting?

Vanity or pedestal sink – Are these dated? Is it time for something more current and attractive?

Countertop/sink – Are the colors outdated? Are there chips? Is the countertop material used no longer in style?
Faucet – Is the finish peeling? Is the faucet outdated?

Toilet – Are there chips? Is the color unappealing? Is it working properly?

Accessories – towel rings/bars, mirror, shelf, cabinet pulls/handles, etc. – Is it time for a refresh on these items?

Once you’ve determined what you like and what you don’t about your powder room, you’ll find that it’s possibility for transformation is usually somewhere between a new paint color and an entire renovation.

Since powder rooms are often small, this is a great place to add drama, often times without breaking the bank. You can opt for a to die for wallcovering or wall paint treatment, a striking vanity, an interesting mirror, beautiful lighting, gorgeous floor tile, or a combination of these items. We would recommend that you don’t make a statement with your toilet and sink.

Powder Room

Lighting can also make a huge impact in a powder room. Instead of using the expected light above the mirror, opt for sconces on each side of the mirror instead. Another option is to use a striking chandelier in the center of the room.

We designed this powder room for a client in Maryland who later termed it, “the fancy powder room”.

powder room

This custom-built bookmatched mahogany vanity along with the pieced porcelain vessel sink are a few of the hightlights in this fancy powder room

We can help you decide what look you want for your powder room and can help you achieve that look. We ask a lot of questions to understand your preferences. Here are two of our favorite powder room looks from the internet…

Powder room

The textured wallpaper provides interest in this powder room by Julia Wong. Photo by Werner Straube

black and white powder room

This black and white powder room was designed by Vanessa Francis Design. Photo by Stephani Buchman

We also do full bathroom design as well. take a look at our blog titled Bathroom Design.

Country Chic Whiskey Room in Chadds Ford, PA

The Background

Every so often, a design project so special comes along that we just have to pinch ourselves to make sure we’re not dreaming. When we received the call from this young couple we were very excited. We had worked with them on two other occasions – once in their 300 year old farmhouse in West Chester, PA (see the foyer and lady’s office of that home on our Portfolio page) and more recently, in their Tribeca penthouse in New York. Their current farmhouse in Chadds Ford, PA is truly a unique home and the couple wanted our help to make it reflect their youthful vibe and personal tastes. We were certainly up for the challenge.

One room that received much attention was one that originally didn’t have much of a purpose. We began calling it the Game Room and soon that name morphed into The Whiskey Room. We can’t be sure why, although we do have our hunches! The design all began with a few simple ideas and finishes, and that morphed into some grand planning. After our meeting, and some phone calls, the client excitedly posted this picture on Instagram… We knew this was going to be a winner!

sample board

The Plan

After our original discussions, we knew we would do the following in the Whiskey Room:

  • Create custom walnut paneling for the walls
  • Add a custom built-in for storage and trophy display
  • Create a world map for the ceiling
  • Improve the lighting in the room
  • Furnish the room with a “clubby” vibe (think Ralph Lauren meets Old World Town & Country

Executing the Plan

We started with the walls, and no two walls in this room were quite the same. The windows on one wall were lower than the windows on the other, spacing between the windows was different, we had to incorporate paneling going up a set of stairs and there was a painted wall that was already paneled which needed to remain. After several drawings and many calls to our wood-working expert, Ryan, from Michael James Furniture, we finalized the drawings and got to work.


One wall “before”.

wood paneling

The start of paneling along one wall.

wood paneling

Progress continues.

wood paneling

Next step: mouldings will be added.

We designed a walnut built-in with storage below and display above and had it installed along the back wall of the room. We incorporated some special details like raised oval panels and beaded mouldings.

oval door panel insert

The oval panels in the doors provide some relief to all the straight lines in the room.

custom cabinetry

The custom cabinetry is installed along the back wall of the room.

custom cabinetry

Once in position, the built-in cabinetry was stained to match the surrounding paneling.

Once the paneling and built-in were complete, the walls were protected with plastic sheeting and it was time to watch the ceiling receive its due. We called upon Billet Collins Studio to create an old world map mural that would be installed on the ceiling of the Whiskey Room. The mural was created at their studio and then transported to Chadds Ford for installation. The map is so large that it had to be completed in two separate sections that were joined on the ceiling onsite.

custom mural

A little insight into the painstaking detail that goes into a map ceiling mural

map ceiling

The mural is installed onsite. Here you get a feel for how large the mural is.

ceiling map

The ceiling lights in the room were carefully placed so as not to distract from the map

The fireplace wall was originally paneled and painted when our clients purchased the home. We kept the panel in place and had the wall painted to look like the paneling elsewhere in the room, but had the panel insets painted to look like burl wood.

custom cabinetry

Halfway there: the panels have been made to look like burl and the remaining areas imitate the paneled walls elsewhere in the room.

And what is behind the double doors on the fireplace wall? Well, what Whiskey Room would be complete without a hidden bar?

Custom walls and ceiling

The room takes shape with its custom walls, built-in and ceiling mural.

But Wait, There’s More

But there is so much more to do and see! Since these pictures were taken, the furniture has arrived and been arranged in the room, a custom metal base ottoman is being made and window treatments in the plaid fabric below are being completed. We plan to update our Blog when the room is complete. We’ll also show some other unique details in the house. Check back on our Blog in the future to see more of this project. Thank you for visiting!

Ralph Lauren plaid

Roman valances in this Ralph Lauren plaid will adorn the windows of the Whiskey Room.