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Twist on Tradition


Lisa Furey has heard the request countless times from her Main Line clients. Each has a different way of explaining it, but it all comes down to a similar desire.

Mixing furniture gives the formal dining room a casual yet sophisticated feel, its table accented with sage-green upholstered chairs at each end.“Clients don’t know how to put it in words that they want a transitional look,” says the Wayne-based interior designer. “They don’t want their house to be too traditional, but they also don’t want it to be too modern.”

Striking the perfect balance between these two distinct styles usually takes the discerning eye of a professional like Furey. Recently, two Radnor homeowners enlisted her help in achieving the “transitional” look they wanted from their renovation project.

Not surprisingly, many of the choices for the interior fell on the woman of the house. And Furey worked with her to create a home that’s both beautiful and practical. “I like all styles—traditional, contemporary, even country. I needed someone to pull all my ideas together and have them make sense,” the owner says. “I was nervous about having to make simple decisions—like what fabrics to choose. Lisa was able to make the process fun. There’s no way the house would look the way it does without her.”

The dining room’s casual sophistication is a reflection of the owner’s wish for a home that’s “inviting and comfortable, but not formal.” The room is a mix of styles, with two Windsor chairs on each side of the oval table, and an upholstered, skirted chair at each end. A distressed black hutch with cream beadboard back sits nearby.

“The homeowner uses this room on a regular basis, so it had to be comfortable,” says Furey.

The powder room’s furniture-style vanity with vessel sink impresses with its unique design.The owners preferred gold, sage and brick red, so Furey carried that palette throughout the rooms on the first floor. Silk curtains with a gold, embroidered floral print cover both windows in the dining room. The room’s Oriental rug—with its light shades of sage green—was one of three Furey chose for the home.

The owners passed on a formal living room in favor of a cozy reading area with a wall of built-ins by Goebel Cabinetry in Exton. Furey added a lighted, center display covered by antique seeded glass. The room also has two upholstered chairs in a gold-and-sage paisley pattern. “That’s what they wanted,” says Furey. “A room that they would use.”

When the owners purchased their 60-year-old home, it was in the process of being expanded from three bedrooms and two-and-half baths to five bedrooms and three baths, along with an expanded kitchen and other changes. All that extra space presented a different kind of challenge.

“We basically had to furnish the whole house,” says Furey, adding that it didn’t bother her a bit. “It’s definitely easier than having to work around existing furniture.”

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The kitchen makeover features cream-colored cabinetry with neutral granite countertops. Stainless steel hardware on the cabinets matches the farmhouse sink and appliances, which include an impressive Italian Bertazzoni range and a Liebherr refrigerator.

A simple fleur-de-lis backsplash above the stainless steel range complements the kitchen’s neutral aesthetic.The room’s narrow width wouldn’t accommodate a center island. But there is an L-shaped counter with space at the end for seating. A separate counter divides the kitchen and family room, while in front of the kitchen’s bay window, a round table with a natural cherry-wood top and black base surrounded by black chairs serves as a small breakfast area.

The focal point of the great room is a stacked-stone fireplace, its ledges displaying brightly colored ceramic plates. On either side of the fireplace, Goebel Cabinetry built-ins house books, collectibles and a flat-screen television.

Elsewhere, a light-brown leather ottoman stands between two beige chenille sofas. Two oval-backed chairs in a paisley print round out the seating options.

“That ottoman is perfect for a family room,” Furey says. “The more distressed it gets, the better it looks.”

Skylights open up the space, while a set of exposed beams add definition. “The beams were really narrow before,” says Furey. “We boxed them out, made them bigger, and stained them.”

A stacked stone fireplace is the focal point of the great room, which gets plenty of sun, thanks to two skylights.A glass-enclosed porch off the family room was torn down and framed out for windows and a set of French doors, creating a perfect sunroom retreat. Two skylights were added to a slanted roof to allow for plenty of natural light. Furey paired a chocolate-brown, upholstered couch with a set of wicker chairs from Ethan Allen. Their leopard-print upholstery is durable and won’t fade in the sun.

“I wanted the room to have an indoor/outdoor feel,” she says.

The sunroom’s grass-cloth wallpaper and Fanimation ceiling fan with wide, oval bamboo blades enhance the back-to-nature aesthetic. A small game table commands one corner of the space, along with two distressed cream chairs from Anthropologie. The sunroom’s beige ceramic tile floors are heated for year-round use.

Even after all the reconfiguring that’s occurred, the house is still a work in progress. High on the owners’ list of subsequent makeover projects are the master bedroom and lower level.

That said, both of Furey’s clients are thrilled with how everything has turned out so far.

“The house really fits our lifestyle,” they say.
Interior Design: Lisa Furey Interiors, Wayne, (610) 688-4201, lisafureyinteriors.com
Cabinetry: Goebel Cabinetry, 308 Commerce Drive, Exton, (610) 363-8970, goebelcabinetry.com
Custom Cabinet Installation: Bruce Baltaian, Newtown Square, (610) 608-7317

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