I claim to be a global citizen with modern taste, yet my home is filled with contemporary art laced with antique furniture from France to China. So when a 90 year old house came on the market in the leafy suburb of Washington DC’s Bethesda neighborhood, it took me and my family two years to make our offer.
It’s an English Manor house, with an amazing backyard. But the wood beams, smallish bathrooms and dainty wallpaper are really keeping me up at night: “Does this mean I am getting old? Is it a sign that my taste has shifted to traditional?” After we finally closed on the house, it took us one day to move into our “new” old home. Miraculously, all of our furniture fit into the new space as if they belonged… and most stunning of all, with our modern art pieces and a mix-match of East meets West furniture, the space was transformed into an open, updated home that transcends styles and traditions.
But I wasn’t quite satisfied… Our living room, with a baby grand at one corner, period French brocade sofa and chairs in front of the fire place, and a Sam Francis painting on the wall, still felt it was too “Park Avenue”. So I flipped through our Fall catalog and was intrigued by the bold and romantic Casablanca pillow. With its velvet texture, gold, white and purple motif—maybe it could give me the shot of color I needed in our new Living Room? I brought one back from the office, also took the Safi Plum and Morrocco Passport pillows to complete the color story. My boys were taking a piano lesson so I tiptoed with pillows under both arms into the living room. As soon as I put the Casablanca down on the sofa, it felt as if I just put the most flattering dress on a beautiful model. The geometry of the motif and the colors caught my eye and gave the sofa a beautiful presence. Along with it, the shapes of our furniture were more defined and the room took on a refreshing dimension and exotic mystery. The Moroccan vibe, from the Passport pillow and the exotic colors, turned the vases and other decorative pieces of the room into a collection of found objects and together, the Living Room stepped out of its Park Avenue look and immediately was transformed into a space that celebrates ethnic chic in an elegant way.
Pleased with this sudden shot of energy in the Living Room, I didn’t waste a minute to order one more Casablanca to place it in the middle of a sitting bench we have at the top of our staircase. Once again, it added to the already grand space, bold color and a global twist. With the first floor now entering the 21st century, are the wallpapered bedrooms and smallish bathrooms on the second and third floors far from a transformation? And the cost, just under 200 dollars! Now, I don’t wake up in the night worrying. I am in my element, pillows and all.