One-Room Makeovers

9 notable makeovers

With spring just around the corner, we are all hungry for ideas on how to refresh our winter-weary homes and gardens. So we tapped some local talent for their favorite one-room “before” and “after” stories to serve up a generous helping of design inspiration. Who doesn’t love seeing those dated “befores” transformed into stylish “afters”? Take this as your personal invitation to our exclusive “after” party and read through this gallery of makeovers. Whether you are considering fine-tuning a space with pops 
of color, tackling a major kitchen renovation, banishing bold florals or greening your landscape, you’ll find useful tips and ideas here for all of your home projects. Additionally, we’ve included insights on the challenges 
and inspirations that went into these rooms directly from the creative folks behind them.

paul johnson

Carey Karlan, Last Detail Interior Design

“This was the first room for a new client who was starting completely fresh. Good news: Anything was possible. Bad news: Anything was possible! The clients had not yet established a firm design style for this new home, so where to begin? We solved this by creating a highly textured but neutral backdrop: slightly reflective grasscloth, silvered linen ottomans, nubby chenille on the sofas, strong graphic consoles in the alcoves and a deeply patterned wool carpet all in tones of brown, gray and silver. I love the versatility of this rich neutral shell. The pop of purple is delightful, but the room could be transformed on a whim by simply changing out the pillows to orange or chocolate.”



Steven Secon, Steven Secon Architect, PC

“For this project, the biggest issue we had was allowing a big kitchen to feel intimate and warm. We created different zones for work, hanging out and cocktails, plus a ‘landing area’ from the rear entrance. Working closely with Lorraine Frye at Today’s Kitchen, white cabinets were chosen to create stark contrast with the walnut floors and espresso-stained island base and stove hood. Bendheim’s color-coated glass backsplash contributes a sense of movement and adds a rich splash of color to the kitchen. It provides some whimsy while not dominating the space.”


tim street-porter

Lynne Scalo, Lynne Scalo Design

“I love paneled libraries! I wanted this room to reflect a more sophisticated and updated interpretation of your classic Greenwich library. My inspiration in creating this room was taken somewhat from Philippe Stark’s work. I love the way he interprets classic traditionalism, keeping the familiar—i.e., the wood paneling and gold ceiling—while using more modern silhouettes, and choosing artwork specific to the space. It creates a more contemporary version of traditional. While I was writing this, someone walked into the studio, pointed to a sofa I designed, and said, ‘Wow, this is classic cool!’ The ‘wow’ makes me happy.”


tim lee

Veronica Campbell, Deane, Inc.

“This was a long, rectangular room with very high ceilings. We needed to marry the ceiling with the living space below. We stacked the wall cabinets with glass-door upper cabinetry and then finished the interiors of the glass cabinets in a soft blue that adds a warm glow. We played off the octagonal shape of the banquette and center island with a complementary moulding layout on the ceiling. Interior designer Kathleen Walsh chose the wallpaper that fills the center, giving the room punch and impact! The room has well-thought-out detail, beautiful moulding and cabinetry detail with interesting material choices: quartzite, walnut, marble and a terrific use of paint and wallpaper.”


lisa field photography

living room
Carrie Miller, Carrie Miller Interior Design, LLC

“The biggest issue we had to tackle in this living room was to make it inviting. It was underutilized and a little too formal. We wanted to make a calm, multifunctional room. We installed a TV over the fireplace, a bar for entertaining and an antique tilt-top table, so the family could eat dinner together without using the table in the dining room. Architectural detailing was added: a coffered ceiling with beadboard and window seats by the fireplace. Antique wood was used for the bar countertop to make it feel more like furniture. A monochromatic scheme makes it calm and inviting. I love that it feels cozy and is now a room that everyone wants to enjoy.”


tim lee

Master bedroom
Alicia Orrick, Orrick & Company

“The biggest challenge here was that there was only one location for the bed, and it cut the windows in half. Keeping the headboard, curtains, tables and bedding a subtle variation of the same hue disguised the problem and created a quiet sense of luxury. ‘Glamour’ was our assignment, and I immediately thought of things that were translucent, shimmered and hinted of Paris in the ’30s. It was the client’s idea to find the lucite curtain rods; we added warm gold, a vintage mirror and fixtures from Paris, plus textures like shagreen and boar print. The carpet shimmers with a tone-on-tone Deco shell pattern.”


Emily Kelting, Halstead Property, GreatScapes

“The tall arborvitae hedge was here, and a wrought-iron fence enclosed the pool, but left it visible from the street. Outside the fence, we planted four-foot boxwoods to form a privacy hedge. Behind the pool, I designed a herbaceous garden bed filled with colorful plants and shrubs: billowing hydrangeas, copper-leaved Ninebark ‘Diablo’, buddleia, white Shasta daisies and ‘Casablanca’ lilies, soft-leaved silvery lamb’s ears, chartreuse lady’s mantle, purple salvia and baptisia, pink peonies, foxgloves and perennial geraniums. Two large urns on pedestals, focal points within the bed, are filled with blue-flowered agapanthus.”


photographer: tim lee; stylist ronny carrol

family room
Susan Glick, Susan Glick Interiors

“My inspiration for this room was a fresh, soothing palette of the new neutrals: grey, taupe and platinum. My goal was to create a comfortable, modern room with strong textural interest and lots of dark wood accents. I restyled the sofas by removing traditional details such as skirting and fringe, exposing tapered legs that were refinished to a dark wood. All of the furniture was given a dark, ebonized finish. The fireplace surround was resurfaced with a textured mosaic marble. I reinvented the bookcases by faux finishing, then wallpapering the interiors. I love this room’s soothing color palette, textured surfaces, subtle shine … and the transformation by repurposing!”


photographer: tim lee; stylist ronny carrol

living room
Susan Glick, Susan Glick Interiors

“For this living room, I wanted to create a luxurious, modern and glamorous space with a fresh color palette made up of shades of silver, grey, white and amethyst. I used sumptuous velvets, luxurious silks and faux fur, then added a touch of elegance with shimmering pillows to make the room shine. This managed to transform a traditional space into a current and elegant environment with updated classics. Now, the room has a feeling of refined opulence. It’s an elegant environment with glowing surfaces, modern glam, plus shimmer and shine.”