Design Q+A: Little changes, big impact

An architect and a designer discuss some before and after projects.

Danielle Zerbonne, Interior Design Consultant, Vineyard Decorators

Danielle recently helped client Anna Marie D’Addarie redesign her living room, including a new sofa, chair, ottoman, and a wild-colored rug. Anna Marie has since made her own pillows.

What challenge did Anna Marie present to you? Did she say that she wanted to totally redecorate a room, or was she just sort of casually looking at sofas?


Anna Marie was looking to replace a few pieces of furniture in her living room — a tired sofa, a dated loveseat — and also needed a handy place to set down her knitting when she worked in that room. She really loves mid-century modern design and already had some cool accessory pieces, like a vintage record player stand and a funky green lamp. So the main project was choosing new frames and fabric that would fit the style she was going for and fulfill the needs of the room.
Did she have pieces she definitely wanted to keep/that you had to design around?

She definitely wanted to keep her old wooden rocker with the animal print cushions. It doesn’t quite fit the new style of the room, but it’s a comfortable, useful chair with a sweet history — she remembers rocking her daughter to sleep in it.  

What were her “must haves”?
Anna Marie wanted a comfortable place to relax and work on projects on her own, but also needed enough comfortable seating to entertain friends. The room had to accommodate lots of different activities.
What were the positives in the room?
The light sage green of the walls and large windows set the stage for playing with some fun color in the furniture. Anna Marie has such a fun sense for color and pattern, and she’s adventurous — that was the true positive and it allowed us to create such a dynamic room. She wasn’t afraid to go for the geometric lime green fabric for her chair, and it really came out beautifully. My job as the designer is to help fulfill the desires of my client by meeting them where they are, instead of trying to impose my own aesthetic on their space.
What’s your favorite aspect of the new room?
As someone who loves color, it’s hard not to love that wild rug (it’s called Paint Chip). The more I learn about interior design, the more I appreciate a finely made piece of furniture. The sofa, chair, and ottoman were all bench crafted by Lee Industries. They’re sturdy and stylish with gorgeous lines, a pleasure both to look at and sit on. Seeing those pieces come to life was very satisfying.


Stephanie Mashek, Architect, Mashek McLean Architects, Inc.

Stephanie rerouted a staircase that connected a main house to an addition.

Tell us about this project.


We were hired to reconfigure a stair that was part of an addition made to an older house, linking four different levels. The original stairs were straight runs – a long and dangerous stair from a second floor future master, down to the main living level, a short run from the living level down to an entry and family room level, and then from the entry level to the basement.
So the client hired you for the stair issue?


The stair problem was the impetus for hiring an architect; the project initially included a kitchen reno and completion of the spaces in the unfinished addition for a master bedroom and family room. (They bought the house with the addition unfinished). The solution is shown here – a spiral that links all levels (to the basement is not visible), winding through the existing, space to connect all in a graceful and safe way.
How did it end up?


The stair completely transformed circulation in the house and the clients were thrilled that the solution could result in such change.