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For the Love of Orange

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Orange has always been Cynthia Nemo’s favorite color. In fact, she used the vibrant hue as a theme in her wedding 13 years ago. “I feel like it just makes me happy,” says Nemo, an interior designer who has her own business, Cynthia Brooks Design. 

pops of color

Over the years, Nemo has incorporated orange into many of her personal design projects. When she and her family moved into a 1935 traditional stone colonial in Bryn Mawr six years ago, the color, of course, played a crucial role in its interiors. But while it’s found in every room, it’s used in varying degrees of intensity without ever being overpowering.

In the formal living room, the color can be found only in the cushions, contemporary artwork and accent pieces. The dining room’s orange walls truly pop when set against an original bay window and white woodwork that surround a set of arched, glass-front cabinet built-ins.

Fittingly, Nemo always has a number of Orange Crush cans sitting on top of the wet bar in her all-white kitchen. The family even nicknamed its home after the soda. But Nemo’s favorite orange accessories are her three carrot-topped sons, ages 10 and under. Her daughter, the baby of the family, has brown hair. 

feeling blue

Complementing the orange accents are the varying shades of blue and gray scattered about the three-story, five-bedroom home. In the library, Nemo covered the walls and fireplace surround with a high-gloss, midnight-blue lacquer. “I wanted a cozy room,” she says. “It’s the perfect winter space.”

Nemo didn’t overlook the ceilings, either. In the library, a natural grass cloth adds balance above a velvet couch in rich indigo and a lacquered orange side table. Though Nemo is a minimalist, the bookshelves are filled with sentimental items (photos, books, artwork) meaningful to the family. 

An area off the kitchen that was once servants’ quarters is now a family room with a fireplace, thanks to Wayne-based Cullen Construction. “We made it a much more livable house for our family’s needs,” says Nemo. “It’s now more suitable for our lifestyle.” 

Soft, blue-gray walls jibe with the custom, sky-blue velvet couch and a pair of side chairs in contemporary blue-and-white-stripes. An oversized gray leather ottoman stylishly serves its dual purpose as a coffee table and a place for family members to kick up their feet. Nemo outfitted the custom-made piece with acrylic legs—a cool touch. 

Pops of orange liven up the sunroom, where an Orange Crush tray pays homage to the home’s nickname; blue accents make a statement in the family room; an original bay window and a set of built-ins were keepers for a reason in the formal dining room; classic features define the kitchen.

As for the orange feather boa, it was a gift for Nemo’s 40th birthday. It now resides on the mantle above the fireplace in the family room, where splashes of the color also turn up in a pair of lamps. 

In the master bedroom, a calming soft-blue shade is punctuated by white custom linens. Still, orange accents are found throughout the space—in the finials on the night table lamps, the trim on the window treatments and even the pencils on the desk. “Everyone knows they’re not to touch the pencils,” says Nemo with a laugh. “They’re just for show.”

keeping it real

When Nemo’s home was recently featured on the Episcopal Academy House Tour, many visitors commented on the color scheme, and she heartily agrees with those who described it as “real” home. “It’s just a fun house,” says Nemo. “When we were ready to leave New York and we were searching for a house on the Main Line to raise our family, we knew this was the one for us.” 

Interestingly enough, Nemo’s mother immediately recognized the house. It was once the home of a childhood friend she visited every summer. “It was such a great coincidence,” Nemo says.  

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