Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Inspirations: My All-Time Favorite Room Makeover

I've always loved the ice palace scene in Dr. Zhivago and always thought it be so cool to re-create those rooms ... all white and ice covered. However, having three boys (four, if you count my husband) and dogs really threw a wrench into that dream. But, I had the opportunity, not too long ago, to actually follow that dream. After visiting a local decorator show house, I thought it would be exciting to design a room myself. I shared this idea with my friend Kristin, another home décor enthusiast, and together we embarked on this challenging, yet exhilarating journey.

After we approached the Springhill Center for Family Development with our ideas, we began planning to transform an ordinary conference room (shown on right) into a white winter wonderland. On a limited budget (very limited) and only two weeks to transform the room, we went to work. We painted the ceiling a soft cream and then Jessica, a local designer and friend, applied a Venetian plaster wall technique and cream paint to cover the existing wallpaper. A metallic antique bronze was mixed with a glaze and applied in select spots to highlight the texture.

We developed the basic layout and began the hunt for unique and white or off-white furniture. The first thing we needed was a white chaise lounge – a real budget challenge until Ethan Allen loaned us a beautiful, soft cream-colored chaise and pillows to match. After that, we pieced together the rest, discovering and purchasing delicate side chairs, a gorgeous crystal chandelier, a huge mirror to extend the look of the tiny room, and a soft white shag rug. Remnants of luxurious fabric were layered and sewn together to create majestic window treatments -- a total of only $90!!! To add interest to the ceiling, we purchased, cut and tacked up antique ceiling tins in strategic locations. Continuing the mirrored theme we added Kristin’s glamorous mirrored chest, and then purchased two mirrored wall sconces and a small mirrored table at a local consignment shop.

The Before pics: A meeting room at the Springhill Center for Family Development had sky blue ceilings, wallpaper made to resemble stone blocks, and a brightly-painted blue closet (sans doors). 
The shallow closet without doors gave us the biggest challenge. After measuring, purchasing and cutting wood shelves to fit in the shallow space, we discovered that like most old houses, the walls were uneven and the plaster was almost impossible to work with. Plan B: create an outdoor window scene complete with tree branches, snow and lighting. After scavenging through my neighborhood for the perfect trees (these were all laying by the roadside, so we didn't actually cut them down), we  painted them and dusted them with glitter, and then used Christmas tree stands to support them. We added back spotlights, “snow” and icicles to create a majestic winter scene.

The resplendent result: A luxurious sitting room, decorated with shades of winter whites, icy silvers and crystals. 

What a dream come true! By the way, the window treatments now are at home in my dining room ... a sweet reminder of what could be ...
Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't trade my cluttered, country distressed home full of boys for anything, but it was nice for two weeks.
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Photo credits: Dr. Zhivago by Ken Danvers, still photographer for David Lean's Dr. Zhivago. via BFI.uk.org and last picture by Vince Lupo Photography.  


La said...

Amazing transformation. The new paint treatment really softens the feel of the room.

I love the chaise. La

Rene said...

Wow! The space is so glamorous. Very pretty.


Ανεράιδα said...

It is amazing!!

maggie said...

i have recently become obsessed with seeing dr. zhivago again..the other nite, very late, it appeared on tv and i was in heaven..the ice palace has stayed in my memory and my dreams for so many years..i was 13 when dr. zhivago first arrived in the theatres and a true romantic..i love snow and ice and the magical transformation they create...you have done a miraculous job of re-inventing this dreamy place...it is truly inspiring...thankyou for sharing it with the dreamers and romantics of the world..