Before & After: Layering

Layering is an S.B. Long essential; it’s what makes our spaces feel finished. In a recent example, we used the technique to transform the Great Room of a Greenwich, CT residence. Our “before” images show the dramatic scale and classical structure of the space:

Our goal was to infuse this grand space with warmth and texture while enabling it to multi-task as family room, entertainment center, study and transitional hub. For the first stage, we dressed the arched ceiling in board and batten, as well as cross-beam millwork to smooth the transition to the walls. On the back wall, we installed a walnut built-in that invokes the richness of old library cabinets and provides storage that is easily accessible from the table behind the sofa.

In the next phase, we continued to warm the space by papering the walls with grasscloth and complementary trim, adding plaid wool draperies on the French doors along with a wool sisal-like weave carpet, scaled to reveal the beautiful wood flooring along the perimeter.

At this point, it’s all about the details: streamlined accents like drop lanterns, mercury glass lamps and nickel lights balance the traditional elements and keep the look fresh. Meanwhile, plaids, corduroy and tweeds in rich taupe and loden hues create interest and add to the casual, American family-room feeling.

Photos: Interior design by S.B. Long Interiors


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For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by design and the subtle impact of our surroundings. Some of my earliest influences still resonate – I think of the dark woods and textured lodens of my father’s shooting club, the smell of fresh paint on a new canvas, and the bold symmetry of the Philip Johnson Glass house just down the street. For me, it was a natural path to become an Interior Designer. I love what I do. I’ve created this Journal to share my thoughts, finds and design inspirations. I hope you enjoy it!

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