For their newly-unveiled “People’s Project,” Connecticut Cottages and Gardens magazine approached Sue to redesign the living room of the Connecticut Governor’s Mansion. A proud native of the Nutmeg State, Sue leapt at the opportunity to restore style and dignity to a grand room that had slowly lost its charm.
As these “Before” photos illustrate, Sue discovered a room cluttered with tired furnishings and lacking a flow or unifying vision. Governor Dannel and First Lady Malloy asked Sue to create a space that could transition easily from comfortable family time to stately official gatherings. Thus, Sue quickly determined her goals for the redesign: unify the space, highlight the antiques, and balance the room—both visually and functionally.
The elaborate molding details were the historic legacy of Connecticut artisans. Sue drew inspiration from the New Preston, CT residence of the late designer Bill Blass, choosing dramatic choclolate brown and white contrast paint to highlight this millwork in a clean, modern way.
To make the space more cohesive, Sue removed the multi-colored upholstery and replaced it with a simple, neutral palette of masculine colors and solids. The tailored, crisp fabrics from Rogers & Goffigon enlivened these heirloom pieces, bringing their beautiful wood finishes to the fore. She then repositioned the antique secretary to the wall opposite the stately tall windows to create balance and establish a more gracious flow to and from the adjoining rooms.
Highlighting the wall in a dark color anchored the seating area around the fireplace. Sue removed the large sofa, which was blocking the fireplace, and brought in club chairs for a more open design. She also moved the loveseat to the center of the room, raising the back to give it more prominence.
The formality of the living room also needed to be balanced with family-friendly appeal, which Sue achieved through the details and accessories. The draperies are made of linen, and while the antique rug is a traditional piece, the remaining fabrics are warm and cozy. The piano is angled so it can be used at state functions, while Governor Malloy’s artwork and personal photos offer a glimpse of family life.
Finally, Sue continued the contrast effect of the fireplace wall throughout the room’s traditional molding, using chocolate and brown with a gray graphic line detail on the ceiling—to complete the space with beautiful transitional style.
Photos: S. B. Long Interiors