When designer Steven Gambrel transformed a Virginia barn into an entertaining space, he looked to its past for inspiration—and found a romantic, racy chapter
Then Steven, who loves to evoke history in offbeat ways, made what he refers to as "that funny color choice." After designing crisp X-panel barn doors and X-braced stair railings, he painted them in two wildly unexpected hues: Schiaparelli pink and cobalt blue, the barn's trademark colors during its racing days. Steven lifted the hues right out of drawings of the family's favorite jockey in pink-and-blue racing silks. Against the browns, grays, and flaxes of the barn, the colors seem nearly fluorescent—which is entirely the point. "They do exactly the same thing for this room as they do for a jockey riding a horse," he says. "They provide strong color on a neutral background."
Photo: A vintage oak-and-steel desk backs up to one of the extra-deep sofas Steven designed. He topped the concrete floor with a geometric sisal rug.