The Solution: Create Lavish Rooms Using Vintage Details
French architectural grandeur created with soaring Ionic columns
Although the interior space of our clients’ home was rather grand in scale, its white trim was almost minimalist, and its doors and hardware were mostly builder spec. The home was lovely and airy, but — as with most modern homes — it relied on décor to express its inhabitants’ personality. On the plus side, this gave interior designer Raymond Turner a nearly blank canvas with which to work. The challenge would be to find and incorporate vintage materials and elements in such a way that they felt like they’d always adorned the existing, modern suburban house.
For the main living room, our clients wanted to replace the bland, existing columns with Ionic-style columns to add a touch of grandeur. We located a California company specializing in this style of architectural replications, and we coordinated with them to build and carve the wooden columns. Our specifications had to be exact and highly detailed to ensure the accuracy of the fit. Because they were larger and heavier than the original columns, we also enhanced the home’s substructure to support them. We removed the flooring and subflooring and built in additional structural support for the main floor, constructing and installing a beautiful pecky cypress beam to support the second set of columns that would frame the second floor balcony.
When the completed columns arrived, we took great care to ensure they were lined up — a task made difficult because of their tapered shape — before making our final, on-site cuts to level and secure them. With only one shot at getting the cuts right, we relied heavily on the precision of our specifications.
Once they were installed, the artists of Indianapolis’ Blice Edwards, Inc. applied a stunning custom finish to make the columns look as though they’d weathered outside for centuries.
Pecky cypress beams recall old world style
We built additional beams into the room’s high ceilings to couple with the new columns to infuse the great room with the weighty substance of an old country estate. We constructed the beams with boards made from “pecky” cypress, which has holes caused by a fungus, much like the veining in spalted maple. Although the pitting adds an aged appearance to the wood, it also posed the problem of being able to see through to the structural plywood behind the boards. We solved this by painting the plywood black to conceal it and create the illusion of solid timbers. The room feels like it was transported out of another century.
Custom ironwork railings infuse the staircase and balcony with elegance
Raymond Turner’s vision for the space balanced the robust new columns with a delicate ironwork handrail for the remodeled staircase and balcony overlook. He drew every scroll and leaf of the design, providing enough detail for sculpture artist Ryan Feeney of Indy Art Forge to handmake and weld together each element. Our team dismantled the existing curved staircase, reshaping it with new treads and risers before installing the custom iron railing and curved newel post. As with the off-site build of the columns, our specifications for the on-site build of the staircase had to be rigorously defined and followed. Staircases are unforgiving constructions, so everything needed to be perfectly executed. The result adds movement to the stairway, drawing the eye upward toward the second floor and the wrought chandeliers.