Special Nonexistent Furniture

by Embellish Interiors

Ami Smith began embellishing interior spaces for friends and family and creating window and holiday displays for clothing boutiques and department stores for over fifteen years. In 2006, she started professionally designing home interiors for clients in the Charlottesville, Virginia area. She believes interior design should be accessible and not intimidating. Her goal is to make the design experience enjoyable for her clients by truly listening to their needs.

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  • We asked the designer of this French country open concept space to reveal how it all came together. Lucky for us Ami Smith, the founder of Embellish Interiors in Charlottesville, Virginia, didn't stop there. Read along as she shares her top designer tips for achieving your own farmhouse chic look.
  • 1. What were you trying to accomplish with the design of this space/project?
    My client wanted her newer home to feel like less new construction and more like a vintage farmhouse. This space is used daily by the homeowners and needed to be both practical and beautiful. We wanted it to be bright, open, and comfortable for all five members of the family.
    2. What was the inspiration for the project?

    The inspiration for the space started with a salvaged fireplace mantel my client found at a local antique store. The patina and authentic farmhouse charm was perfect for the space. 

    3. How did you choose the color palette?
    To create a soothing atmosphere I kept the finishes mostly neutral with pops of green and accessories that change in color seasonally. The gray is found in the fabric used for the window dressings and also in the wallpaper. Gray creates the perfect backdrop for any accent color. The wood tones add warmth and the mercury glass, mirror, and silver accents add bits of sparkle and shine, but carry through the patina effect.  

  • 4. What element did you start with?

    Once we had the plans for the fireplace remake, we decided on the Anna French Selena ribbon wallpaper and fabric as a jumping off point for the rest of the space. We used the fabric to frame the large window and the wallpaper created a backdrop for a new custom desk area. The warm gray color became the basis for the rest of the room. It is used in the fabrics on the furnishings, windows, walls, rugs, and kitchen counter.

    5.  How did you begin the design process?

    All of my projects are collaborations; my clients are an integral part of the process. We talked about how the space was used, what she wanted the room to feel like, things that she liked about the room, and the things she wanted to rethink. We used her existing dining table, ottomans, television armoire, and barstools. The rest is new to the space.

  • ​6. How did you keep the design cohesive while dividing the space up into separate uses?

    The neutral palette and overall feel of the furnishings make the space cohesive. The use of the same wood tone on the armoire, table, and countertop gives the large room continuity. Even small details like the trim on the shades in the kitchen, the looped design of the drapery in the family room, and the wallpaper in the desk area carry the same motif through the space.

    7. What is your favorite part of the project and why?

    I really love the fireplace. It was such a transformation. We created a full fireplace surround using a salvaged mantel from a local farm, adding trim with aged paint, wood sconces, and quartz tiles.

  • ​8. What are your tips for someone trying to recreate the look of this project?

    Stay neutral and keep your eye out for vintage pieces and use rugs to anchor different furniture groupings.

    9. What is your favorite designer trick?

    I always incorporate something personal to the owner. Often it's family photos, but I've also used objects from their travels, special gifts they were given, or even childhood toys in the design to make the space uniquely theirs.
    10. Finish the sentence: Every room needs _______.

    A purpose.
    11. What is your best piece of advice for someone who is redecorating their home?
    Think about the finished space. Too often, I see projects that don't get completed because people get caught up in the details. It is much more important to have a finished space—one that you actually use, where everything has it's place. 
  • The designer would like to thank the team of professionals that helped her create this room: Iney Byfield for her wallpapering skills, Sarah Woodson's window treatments, David Carter for his work with the fireplace, Gerry Frank for his work through out the space, especially with the kitchen range hood and custom cabinet doors, and James Schmidt for the custom desk and kitchen island countertop.

    See more from Embellish Interiors in our Inspiration Gallery.
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