When it comes to seasonal decor, Christmas doesn’t have to mean red and green.
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The packages under the tree are decorations, too, in a profusion of patterns ranging from crisp houndstooth plaid to romantic toile done up in pinks and greens and wrapped with wide ribbons, laurel leaves and silk amaryllis.
Vintage metallic balls are interspersed throughout the cottage, woven into garlands of dried hydrangeas, tucked into baskets and nestled in greenery. West has been adding to his collection for years, picking up mismatched sets and, occasionally, entire boxes of balls at flea markets and antique shops.
“You never know where or when you will find something wonderful,” he says. “And when you do, you should just buy it because you will regret it if you don’t.”
More than 10 years ago, when West and Cox bought the cottage, the first floor felt dark and cramped. To visually expand the space and increase the flow of natural light, a first-floor bedroom was converted to a cozy den that is open to a front parlor.
A chimney enabled West to add a fireplace, which is defined by a Georgian-style mantel with reeded and dentil detailing that he had stored for years in the hope it would someday find a home. He added more architectural details, juxtaposing tongue-in-groove ceilings reminiscent of a summer porch with regal crown moldings. Built-in cupboards provide display space for collections of import porcelain and blue-and-white china above and storage for dishes and serving pieces below.
West also used visual tricks of the trade to make the room feel larger. The coffee table, made from an antique Regency bench, is wide enough to accommodate drinks but doesn’t eat up floor space. Striped silk curtains in blue, beige and cream are hung floor to ceiling, subliminally adding height to the space. “I decided to turn the stripes sideways, just to give it a twist,” he says.
A club chair is slightly underscaled and upholstered in a subtly striated silk and linen blend. The tailored skirt is trimmed with pickled wood pendants that quietly raise the sophistication quotient. A clean-lined, cream-colored sofa is accented with sumptuous pillows embellished with fringe.
West devoted considerable hours and energy to finding or designing the right pieces for the cottage. In the long haul, it saved him time and expense, “I’ve learned to buy good things the first time,” he says. “Don’t buy things to fill in for the time being because they will only end up in a yard sale in three years.”
Page 3: Spirited Design, continues...