Interior designer: Lori Shinal Interiors, Gladwyne; (215) 680-4226, lorishinalinteriors.com
Contractor: Logical Solutions Construction, Rich Paquin, Broomall, (610) 742-2546
Faux painting: Lisa James, Conshohocken, (610) 608-8586, email@example.com
See also “Toys for the Wine Enthusiast.”
When Gail Slogoff entertains, the party inevitably winds up in the custom wine cellar she designed with her husband in their Merion home. And while they could’ve easily gone with a more utilitarian storage space for their ever-growing collection, the couple opted instead to devote substantial square footage to a beautiful, expansive gathering spot for family and friends.
Slogoff envisioned a sophisticated Italian grotto, enlisting Gladwyne-based interior designer Lori Shinal for aid in pulling together key design elements. Shinal had designed other wine cellars, but none this size. “This room is amazing,” says Shinal. “Gail knew what she wanted, and it turned out perfectly.”
A frequent contributor to NBC 10’s 10! Show, Slogoff is the voice behind the popular BeBlushing.com, a blog for Main Line women who love beauty products. And her innate sense of style translates well to home décor. She found unexpected inspiration for the wine cellar nearby. The door’s arched mahogany shape and wrought iron hardware was modeled after a neighbor’s front door. The aged look was achieved by hammering dings into it. “We added the speakeasy and hardware,” says Slogoff.
Brick tile covers the floor in a herringbone pattern, and an antique table with an ornate wrought iron base and a long, white marble top is perfect for wine tastings and hors d’oeuvres. The deep mahogany used for the 1,500-bottle racking system adds to the formal appeal. “This system has the flexibility to double the amount of storage,” says Slogoff, who admits she can’t ever imagine expanding to 3,000 bottles.
With its exposed electrical wires and less-than-elegant beams, the ceiling proved to be a problem easily solved by Shinal, who created a dramatic look with draped black fabric. Some walls are exposed brick, and one is made completely of glass, providing a view of the lounge—an attractive place to go when the refrigerated cellar becomes too chilly.
The brick tile continues into the lounge area, with its oversized, distressed leather chair and ottoman in front of a mounted flat-screen TV. And at the opposite end of the room: a quaint Maitland-Smith game table with bamboo bridge chairs from Ballard Designs.
The nearby staircase has colorful Italian terra-cotta tiles on each riser. And there’s also a separate playroom, so the kids have their own place to entertain.
Gail Slogoffs’ affinity for the Old World English style is embodied in their 19th-century Tudor home. Her family was living in a Bala Cynwyd Tudor when Slogoff heard about a property she just had to see in Merion.
“There’s an ‘S’ carved into the staircase, and I took it as a sign that this was our next house,” she says. “Every room I walked through felt like home.”
The previous owners had gutted the home and redesigned the rooms to suit their more modern tastes. Major areas—including the kitchen and master bathroom—were almost new, so Slogoff decided that only minor cosmetic changes would be needed to reflect the traditional aesthetic she was looking for.
“The entire house was gray, so painting was the first thing we did,” she says.
The considerable talent of faux painter Lisa James came in handy throughout the home—especially on the master bathroom’s walls, which are covered in a subtle gold paint embossed with metallic details. “Gail is a ‘gold girl,’” says James.
Slogoff was inspired to use splashes of gold in other rooms, as well. She credits a stained glass window in the house, with its Latin phrase that translates to “The Golden Means.”
Blending old and new was a consistent theme. Slogoff complemented her many heirlooms with new pieces. The dining set from her childhood has been updated with plush, upholstered chocolate-brown seats to match a brown-and-gray floral MacKenzie-Childs rug.
A gorgeous crystal chandelier her grandparents found at an Italian flea market hangs above the table. “It was also in my dining room growing up, and I always thought that middle crystal was a crystal ball,” Slogoff recalls. “I’d climb up on the table as a kid and make wishes on it.”
A beige paint with an antique finish covers the dining room ceiling, and surrounding the chandelier mount is a gold inlay with ornamental details. A custom-designed bar sits in front of the bay window, with two tall wine cabinets flanking either side.
The home’s entry hall makes a stunning first impression. The beautiful craftsmanship is reflected in the original dark-cherry woodwork of the main stairway and the exposed ceiling beams. Slogoff again chose gold for James’ faux painting in the space—a three-color process with a metallic gold overlay.
Slogoff and Shinal discovered the hall’s chandelier by chance at Architectural Artifacts in Philadelphia. “It was leaning upside down on a shelf,” says Slogoff. “I spotted the piece, and I knew it was the right one.”
The ornate wrought iron piece’s harsh, gothic feel has been softened with the addition of crystals. “We ‘Shinalized’ it,” says Slogoff, referring to Shinal’s ability to make pieces work for specific spaces. “It’s perfect for the space.”
Shinal agrees. “I design for the client,” she says. “This is a young family with three kids. Gail wanted it warm and colorful, and not too formal. I think the house represents them as a family.”
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