Before and After: A Lively Refresh Brings Out the Best in this Century-Old Row Home’s Beige Living Room
Not every home project has to be a giant undertaking. Yes, knocking out walls or constructing a wall-spanning set of built-ins makes a noticeable impact, but so can smaller changes. A simple facelift has the ability to transform a space, rendering it almost unrecognizable — especially if you focus on infusing the area with tons of personality.
If your space could use this kind of elevation, get inspired by the living room designer Valerie Darden created in this Virginia row house. The founder of Brexton Cole Interiors has a unique design style that’s a sophisticated blend of traditional and modern — something immediately evident when you see her space.
When Valerie purchased this home, she says, “the walls were a very bland beige and there was no color inside.” But there was plenty of potential in the home’s high ceilings and vintage touches like detailed wall mouldings and fireplaces in the adjoining living spaces.
As her inspiration, Valerie leaned into the artsy vibe of the city surrounding her. “Richmond is a city full of art and adventure,” she says. “I wanted to breathe new air into the house to fit the artsy and colorful aesthetic of Richmond.”
The process, which took about two months, was design-focused. The most costly — and extensive — work included the Greek mural wallpaper Valerie and her husband installed along the entryway and hallway. They also painted the walls a nice, bright white (Benjamin Moore’s Chantilly Lace) to help the rest of the decor pop.
Once the walls were complete, Valerie purchased some bright velvet chairs and an orange sofa to bring in some pops of color. Next, she used vintage furniture — all purchased on Facebook Marketplace to save money — from the time period of the home. As for the art, it came from a combination of sources. “We searched for ‘fun’ and eclectic art for the walls,” says Valerie. “We found art everywhere from Home Goods to local antique stores.”
The result is a space that expertly blends new and old in a bold, colorful way. “I love everything about the after,” says Valerie. “I love mixing new design in with the old, and this home was perfect for that journey.”
Inspired? Submit your own project here.