A “Doily-free” Victorian

When Megan and Paul purchased their late-19th century Victorian mansion, they asked for help making the space feel like their own while respecting the original architecture, which had been remarkably preserved. The home boasts original woodwork, complete with untouched coffered ceilings and walls in several rooms. But the previous owners had a preference for chintzy brass chandeliers and 60s wallpaper — not the right fit for the family, or the house. “There were doilies everywhere!” Megan described.

For the Family Room, the family of six wanted a place to sit and watch movies together, as well as host guests comfortably. The walls were too minty for their tastes, and the gold contrasting treatment of the frieze was distracting, heavy, and too formal.

Megan & Paul’s Family Room: BEFORE

Megan & Paul’s Living Room: AFTER

To establish a classic and neutral palette as a foundation, the ceiling texture was removed and the ceilings and frieze painted a milky white, with the walls below the picture rail a warm neutral gray. All trim was painted a glossy soft black, with new custom louvered shutters ordered to match. The new chandelier is understated but not too casual.

To accommodate a family crowd, a large sectional English roll-arm sofa gave a nod to tradition while also feeling clean and contemporary. An antique wool rug brought color into the gray room and was the palette foundation for other textiles, including the reupholstered Sheraton-style parlor chair and pair of Victorian “lady chairs” (both Craigslist finds!). The leather ottoman was a new purchase, offering warmth alongside the vintage mid-century credenza.

When it came to wall hangings, Megan & Paul found most pieces at a local estate auction house (the same goes for the Chinoiserie end tables), enjoying the new auction experience over several months until their collection and walls were complete.