BY STEPHANIE S. BEECHER | PHOTOGRAPHY BY DOUG EDMUNDS
When Pamela Coleman and her husband moved into their 20th-century Classic Georgian Fox Point home, the living room wasn’t exactly inviting. With red walls, inadequate seating and insufficient lighting, it had all the stuffy feelings of an antiquated parlor. Far from reflective of Coleman’s warm personality, the room went virtually unused for years.
“It had beautiful bones, but it was outdated,” adds Coleman. “It was in need of love.”
Coleman turned to Peabody’s Interiors in Brown Deer to bring the living room back to life. Interior designer Lisa Minneti says she immediately saw the room’s potential.
“It had a black marble fireplace and great windows that looked out to the patio and to the lake, so we wanted to incorporate something that would look good with outdoors too,” Minneti explains. “We wanted it to be a glamorous place where she could entertain.”
Still, Coleman was unsure of what look she was going for.
“I didn’t want anything contemporary that wouldn’t fit the style and era — I wanted traditional with a modern flair,” Coleman says.
While thumbing through a magazine at a salon one day, she found her inspiration in an article about jewel tones. Her eye was immediately drawn to a photo of emerald velvet. Later, she punched in “emerald rooms” online and found photos on home design blogs and began to craft a vision for the room. Minneti was thrilled to build the room around the hue.
“I scream-called her when I found it,” Minneti says upon discovering the Italian velvet fabric sample. “It was the most beautiful green I had ever seen.”
Using the emerald swatch as the room’s launching pad, Minneti and Coleman worked to devise a unique color palette for the space, settling on charcoal gray walls and a lavish gold-painted ceiling. A black-and-white graphic floor rug added to the room’s luxe personality.
“Dramatic but simple,” Minneti says. “This room has been all about the details.”
Because of the room’s narrow design, Minneti says seating was a challenge — but it soon became a highlight of the renovation. Drawing on Coleman’s love of luxurious hotel lobbies, the two designed a beautiful, custom-made 7-foot settee.
“That piece of furniture is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen,” Coleman says. “It’s comfortable, seats a lot of people, and is very versatile.”
Admittedly, the settee was a splurge, and the room continues to be a combination of custom touches and spendthrift finds. For example, throughout the yearlong renovation, Coleman purchased much of her growing Blanc de Chine and vintage satin glass collections on eBay. She also chose to reupholster her furniture, repaint her cocktail tables, and refinish the area’s
original wood floors.
Coleman says her mixed approach was taken from the book “Living a Beautiful Life,” which encourages its readers to “turn a daily routine into a lifetime of beauty, serenity and efficiency.” She’d read it as
“The book changed the way I looked at pieces I’ve bought over the years,” says Coleman. “I have children, a dog. My family is living in this place.”
The end result is an enchanting, eclectic, yet functional living space Coleman’s whole family can enjoy.
“It’s a welcoming, inviting space — I think it’s a room people like to spend time in,” Coleman says. “It is glamorous, but it’s cozy. It’s everyday glamour.”