Designer Shapshot: From Snug to Stunning

March 30, 2011

By Paula M. Bodah

Most of the time I see only the gorgeous result of a designer’s work, but when I talked with Michelle Morgan Harrison, who helped Bonny and Joe Bob Edwards redo their Greenwich, Connecticut, home (featured in our New England Home’s Connecticut Spring 2011 issue), she shared some “before†pictures with me. Bonny had decorated the colonial-style house in a classic, cozy manner, using oriental rugs and a color palette of golds, reds and greens before deciding she wanted to change the look of the house to a more contemporary style in a lighter color scheme.

These photos show the family room from different angles, but the difference is stunning nonetheless. Morgan Harrison explains that previous owners had put on an addition to enlarge the family room. The addition had high ceilings, though, while the rest of the room still had low ceilings, with the result that the space ends up being, functionally, two smaller rooms. And, sadly, the fireplace wasn’t the focal point for either space. The designer dropped the high ceiling and added coffers, then reoriented the seating to focus on the fireplace. She replaced Bonny’s cozy, traditional furniture, rugs and accessories with pieces that have a more clean-lined, contemporary look and changed the palette of the room to a soothing mix of sand, taupe and aqua.

All “after†photos by John Gould Bessler

The far wall of the living room wasn’t doing much, Morgan Harrison says. She covered the entire wall with antiqued mirrored panels, adding visual impact and making the room seem much larger. The Oriental rug was replaced with a beautiful silk and wool rug; a pair of Thomas Pheasant chairs that Bonny and Joe Bob owned were recovered in silver and white fabrics from F. Schumacher and David Hicks. The room has undergone a beautiful metamorphosis from staunch and comfy to downright dazzling.

Bonny and Joe Bob liked the kitchen overall, so Morgan Harrison left the crisp white cabinets and granite-topped island just the way they were. But look what a difference a few small changes can make! She replaced the counter stools with something a little more unexpected (and more comfortable looking, don’t you think?). A lighter-colored roman shade on the window brightens the room, and the contemporary globe light fixtures over the island give the kitchen a much more contemporary look.