Victoria Solomon, award-winning interior decorator of Victoria Elizabeth Design, started her east coast company with the belief that anyone can identify their style and live in their dream home. Her design style mixes elegant lines with unexpected colors and textures, all while reflecting her clients' unique personalities and tastes. She currently contributes as the New York Interior Design Examiner and She Knows Interior Design Expert, and has been featured in several publications including USA Today Home, All You, Examiner, She Knows, and more. Victoria works on both residential and commercial projects across the northeast including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.
We asked Victoria Solomon of Victoria Elizabeth Design how she took this living and dining room in a home that was built in 1912 and made it into a French country-inspired retreat. Keep reading to learn about the soft florals that inspired her to design this cozy living space for a young family.
1. What were you trying to accomplish with the design of this project?
This historic 1912 home needed major renovations after it was purchased in 2012 including the addition of molding, refinishing of the floors, and an updated layout. Part of those layout updates was an open concept living and dining space. The homeowners wanted something happy and colorful with a bit of whimsy. They loved homes in the English or French countryside and that was really the inspiration for the space. Especially with so many great windows. They wanted a space where they could relax and read the paper, or where the kids could spread out and do homework on the dining table. So we definitely didn't want the space to be too fussy.
Keeping with the theme of English and French countrysides, I looked for pieces that had contemporized French lines, iron or oil-rubbed bronze finishes, and geometric and floral prints in softer tones. The darker-finished metals are subtle but actually one of the major themes and inspirations for the space.
3. How did you choose the color palette?
The client fell in love with the floral chairs and we worked mostly off that fabulous print. For choosing fabrics for the pillows, curtains, and chairs, we really wanted to make sure they pulled out the lighter and brighter colors in the chairs to take the room in a cheery direction. Florals have so much flexibility in the direction they can take a room. When you pull out certain colors from a floral print, it can dramatically change the feeling in a space.
4. How did you begin the design process?
After chatting with the clients to understand their style and the goal of the space, I started pulling together some product recommendations and layout ideas. We also shopped together and looked at tons of color palettes and fabrics until we found these great chairs. And from there, the plan and direction really started to take shape.
5. What is your favorite part of the project and why?
I absolutely love the custom rug and the gallery wall. The rug is such a subtle part of the space but it perfectly separates the two spaces and lightens up the whole living room area. It was a custom rug and we splurged on an inch-wide border around it to really make the space pop. And the gallery wall – I'm a sucker for gallery walls. They are extremely hard to do, but always come out great if you measure correctly and plan out the wall. We found so many great floral prints, it was hard to choose and we actually ended up having extra!
6. What are your tips for someone trying to recreate the look of this project?
Start with a statement piece that you love; a floral print or a bold color and work from there. What makes this space work is how light and airy it is. There is so much light flowing through the space and all of the pieces in the room allow for that. Move away from dark upholstery pieces when you can, and if you can't, try and lighten everything up with pillows and curtains. We had actually planned on going a shade lighter with the sofa fabric, but in the end my client was worried about her kids spilling. So we lightened up the sofa—and the rest of the space—by adding in lighter fabrics in other areas.
Don't be afraid to draw on your walls—with a pencil, of course, and very lightly. The gallery wall, curtains, circular mirrors, and buffet artwork were all planned out ahead of time in a very "Beautiful Mind" fashion with a calculator, blue tape, pencil, paper, and a level. It looks natural in the space, but there was a ton of math involved!
8. Finish the sentence: Every room needs _______.
Something that you absolutely love and tell everyone about. For my client it was the coffee table, and believe it or not, the basket adjacent to the fireplace. She absolutely loves how she can hide her magazines in there; it's such a simple trick that makes her day.
9. What is your best piece of advice for someone who is redecorating their home?
Spend a lot of time thinking about the layout and the space; just as much as you would with the furniture and décor. There are so many ways you can place furniture in a room. It's a matter of finding out the best way in order to tie the space together. Even with the most stunning furniture, if the space isn't planned out right, it's going to feel off.