HOUSE TOUR: A historic downtown icon gets a makeover

STEP ONE: RETHINK – to meet the owners’ need for additional casual family living area and a new, updated kitchen, Vinyet Architecture firm of Rock Hill, SC had to rethink century-old spaces. Their solution was to combine the existing small kitchen and breakfast room with the former back porch which had been previously converted to conditioned living space. This created one large, expansive area that opened to the new raised terrace and large back yard with three sets of French doors. We then designed the space plan and furniture layout for the new space, after which demo and construction began.

STEP TWO: REMOVE – to create the open-plan space, it was necessary to remove a load-bearing wall that ran the entire length of the structure. The project contractor, Southern Builders of York County, removed the wall, replacing it with a large beam and support column. They also raised the lower porch floor to the same level as the main structure and installed heart pine flooring identical to the home’s original floors. The new and old spaces now blend together seamlessly, ready for the new kitchen cabinets and other interior changes.

STEP THREE: REFRESH – this project also included refurnishing the front parlor which had last been done in the early 90’s. We refreshed the room’s existing heavy decor, choosing furnishings with clean, classic lines and neutral, updated fabrics, and substituted antiqued brass for the heavy carved woods. We grounded the room with a colorful, non-traditional rug that further updated the room and tied in perfectly with the foyer’s traditional Persian rug. With the room’s wide, overstuffed rounded arms, heavy tapestry upholstery and dark tables gone, the room’s original wood paneling and trim suddenly looked modern and fresh.

STEP FOUR: REUSE – the home had many wonderful original features that we would reuse, such as the dining room’s gorgeous crystal chandelier. It was lovely but a bit dull surrounded by the room’s out of date decor. To bring out its beauty and update the room, we installed a new seagrass rug and abstract painting over the fireplace, flanking it with crystal candlesticks in a classic shape. The contrast between the formal chandelier and the rustic seagrass rug and modern art make the crystal fixture shine even brighter. We also continued the color scheme used throughout the house, focusing here on blue which looks lovely with the warm furnishings and wall color.

STEP FIVE: RESTYLE – the dining room’s traditional heirloom furnishings were a perfect choice for the space and only needed a decorative restyling. We replaced the lighting and accessories on the antique sideboard with crystal lamps, a navy and cream bone tray, cut-glass decanters and a simple floral arrangment and further updated the room with a new seagrass rug and abstract art. In the room’s bay window (not shown), we added a pair of painted navy Chinese Chippendale arm chairs and replaced the existing 90’s swag and jabot drapery with updated pinch pleated panels and sleek antique brass hardware.