Southern Charm Brings Newark Family Comfort and Conversation
This family of four gathers in the family room to listen to music, read, and watch birds, rather than television.
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“Dianne is especially fond of owls and so we found ways to include them throughout the space but without getting too theme-y,” the designer says. “The little finials on the lamps are owls.”
The room is dressed in finely detailed layers. Fringed swags and applied moldings frame the windows. There’s a leopard-print carpet underfoot. A quartet of chairs upholstered in classic stripes surrounds a round ottoman, topped with a large, hammered-brass tray imported from India.
“Finding unique pieces requires shopping the world,” FitzGerald-Wilks says. “That can mean anything from a local auction or estate sale, to eBay, to scouring the Internet for items in Asia.”
Warming Up to Red
In the sitting room, the starting point for the design was a high-quality sofa and loveseat the Reeves already owned. The pieces are upholstered in a bold red print, which made them the automatic focal point of the room.
To create the more cohesive vibe the homeowners wanted, FitzGerald-Wilks painted the walls in Dressage Red, a deep crimson made by Ralph Lauren, that is an elegant match for the sofas.
That rich color also provides a striking backdrop for a collection of original horse brasses, the fanciful plaques that decorate the harnesses of parade horses in Britain. FitzGerald-Wilks showcased the brasses two ways, mounting some directly on the walls and matting and framing others.
Corded tassels are another subtle reference to the equestrian theme.
“They look like the tassels on a horse’s bridle in a parade,” she says.