Style Watch

Reviving a Colonial

A redesigned living room in Lexington honors the home’s 19th-century architecture while embracing modern living.

Matthew J Lee
“The room is visually quiet and serene, yet still very entertainment worthy,” says Robin Gannon. “The original architecture is honored in a way that embraces contemporary living.”
Matthew J Lee

The living room of this 19th-century Colonial Revival home in Lexington has soaring 10-foot beamed ceilings, beautiful chair rails and moldings, and lovely long windows. “People don’t make houses with this level of detail anymore,” says Robin Gannon, hired by the homeowners to design and furnish the room. So that the space could serve as a backdrop for the owners’ collection of modern art, Gannon chose a neutral color scheme that lets the room’s architectural elements stand out. Clean-lined, traditionally styled furnishings are conducive to large-scale and small-scale entertaining. While the design remains true to the home’s origins, “we wanted to make sure the room didn’t feel too serious,” says Gannon, who introduced pops of robin’s-egg blue, splashes of yellow, and a playful chandelier.

1 | The chandelier’s drum shade is cast resin punctuated with holes that recall bubbles. “The holes reflect light around the room and into the mirror,” says Gannon.

2 | Because the radiators reach the windowsill, the drapes had to be short. “But by keeping them the same color as the wall, you can’t tell,” Gannon says of the linen Cowtan & Tout fabric.


3 | The sofa and settee are upholstered in cream linen by Calvin Fabrics.

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4 | Two Kravet tables upholstered in orange-hued faux ostrich break up the room’s monochromatic scheme.

5 | A wool and silk Steven King area rug has a dotted pattern that echoes the chandelier shade.

6 | To integrate a barrel-back chair, a family heirloom, Gannon had it reupholstered in a more contemporary cream-and-taupe fabric with a giraffe motif.

7 | The historic picture-rail molding perfectly frames a modern mixed-media collage by artist Jane Maxwell.


8 | An RH mirror with beveled edges echoes the chandelier shade’s bubble motif.

9 | The mantel’s carved details are highlighted with faux marbling by Iris Lee Marcus. “The architecture stands out,” says Gannon, “but by painting it the same color as the walls, it doesn’t scream at you, it whispers.”

10 | A. Rudin chairs, upholstered in a Jane Churchill fabric with blue velvet cutouts, are comfortable and easy to move around the room.