3 Decorators Give Readers’ Rooms Makeovers
Vitals: Julie Cusimano, stay-at-home mom of Tyler, 5, and Hunter, 8, in Riverside, Connecticut.
The “before” story: Except for a coat of paint, the dining room had been pretty much ignored by Julie and her husband, Steve. In exchange, the room did very little for its owners. A year into living in the house, the family had used it only once.
Why she stalled: The house, built in 1899, required lots of work. It was completely uninsulated, and all the windows had to be replaced. “We did everything we needed to do,” says Julie, “and by the time the fun part of decorating came around, the budget had been blown.”
What she hoped for: “We wanted the room to be elegant but unpredictable, a bit casual—something with a pop and a wow.”
Designer Ryan Korban’s Plan
A chic, restrained palette. New York City–based Korban (ryankorban.com) made color his first focus. “The existing palette didn’t reflect Julie’s personality—she’s fun and upbeat,“ he says. “But it had to be consistent with the rest of the house, which is very traditional." Korban chose a twist on a classic Victorian color scheme—blue, gray, and white—with tonal varieties.
Accenting the architecture. To draw attention to the room’s original plaster moldings, Korban kept all the detailing white and brought the gray of the upper walls to the lower panels as well, creating a graphic, modern feel.
Shimmer and shine. Adding reflective elements—glittering wall sconces, chrome side chairs, glass decanters and candlesticks—was a big part of Korban’s effort to “de-granny” the room. Along with the mirror and the crystal chandelier, these objects bounce around sunlight, making the space less static.