Bringing in Personal Style
Designer Sharne Algotsson offers this advice:* Reinvigorate old furnishings by using new fabrics, patterns, and paint to make the style your own.* Choose colors that stimulate and connect with your favorite times, places, or occasions.* Use sheer fabrics in solids and patterns to lighten and brighten a space and allow in plenty of natural light.* Integrate new furnishings and accents with vintage, antique, or unique objects for a character-filled space.* Select furniture that has a handmade or organic quality, such as pieces crafted from natural material and fibers, from beautiful woods and wrought iron to linens and velvets.* Adorn a room with personal accessories that add interest.
There's more to the restoration of an older home than just renovating structural elements. Whether repairing or replacing floors, walls, and ceilings or updating heating, cooling, and electrical systems, such projects give homeowners creative license to breathe new life into the interiors as well.
Jamie and Lorenzo Brown, a busy Washington, D.C., publishing duo, sought to slow down their chaotic lives when they purchased a 1908 Prince George's County, Maryland, farmhouse and its surrounding property. The home was steeped in history and ready for a complete transformation.
Having lived in cities the majority of their adult lives, Jamie and Lorenzo were ready to start a simpler life. "Washington, D.C., is more hustle and bustle, and we enjoyed living there until, one day, my husband found this house," Jamie says. "Now it's nice to live here because it's a peaceful retreat. I told everyone I knew we were going to have fun creating our own unique hideaway." The Browns intend to keep the grand presence of the property with the home's wraparound porch, picket fence, trees, and barn.
The home's spacious interiors are filled with rich textures that contrast with sheer fabrics, oversize mirrors, and well-thought out details. It's a perfect marriage of simplified and elegant. "The Browns' house reflects Jamie's personality--warm, loving, and nurturing. It makes you happy," points out designer and family friend Sharne Algotsson.
Vestiges of Simple Living
In a sense, the farmhouse represents coming back to the things that are most comfortable and familiar to the couple. Though Jamie was raised in Chicago, her family is from Jackson, Mississippi, and Lorenzo grew up in Marion, Alabama. Having lived in various parts of the United States as well as in Sweden, they are open to different cultures.
"Both had very strong ideas about the interiors," Sharne says. "It was important that their home reflected a sophistication that wasn't too feminine or masculine. They knew what they wanted and asked me to help them connect the colors and fabrics."