Designer Graham Veysey Infuses a Riverside Home with Playful Hues
After years of living with the limitations of white-walled and personality-devoid rentals, the buyers of a house in Riverside were ready to push the limits. The couple worked with Alisberg Parker to reno the residence—keeping its good bones intact while changing the flow of the layout and bringing it up to date for the way a modern family lives. They also turned to designer Graham Veysey to work in conjunction with the architects and specify the interiors. “We wanted it to feel different, fun, artistic and interesting,” says the client, “but liveable too. We have four kids and we wanted it to be functional and not too precious. We wanted to have fun with it.”
“When we first met—this was pre-Pinterest—she [the client] had stacks of tear sheets from through the years, and the common theme was color,” says Veysey. “She wasn’t scared to use color, and she was also really trustworthy. She’ll be the first to say ‘let’s try it,’ which is the best thing a client can say.” While the rear of the house was reconfigured for more open-style living with kitchen and family room, the front of the house—center hall with living and dining room—stayed relatively the same during renovations. In these rooms, Veysey was more adventurous pulling together unexpected color combinations and a hodgepodge of vintage finds.
The foyer floor is painted with a geometric pattern, and, when Veysey warned the clients it will at one point show wear and tear, they replied simply that age adds character. “That’s what I love about them,” says Veysey. “They are casual and laid-back, but want to live with beautiful things.”
In the living room, Veysey painted the trim an inky black that reads as patent leather and covered the walls in Cole & Son’s Cloud wallpaper. She scoured antique markets for vintage furniture—like the 1940s kidney bean sofa she found at Brimfield—and re-covered pieces in rich jewel-toned velvets and chenilles. Curtain panels are made out of a luxe Pierre Frey lilac silk, while framed artwork of the clients’ children bring the tone of the room back down to earth. “This room has a real feeling to it,” says the client. “It feels warm. We have little kids everywhere, and while it feels like an adult room, it is actually kid friendly. And I love that the furniture has a story.”
Across the hall, the dining room remained white for about a year while the clients considered exactly what they wanted to do with it. She requested colorful and turquoise, and Veysey delivered. The walls and trim are slicked in turquoise blue, and a chartreuse grasscloth makes the ceiling practically glow. Veysey found a vintage brass Mastercraft table and designed some chairs that are reminiscent of Edward Wormley’s pieces. The Schumacher print on the curtain panels have a little bit of a ’70s vibe. The result is a little bit boho but totally put together.
Veysey did, however, allow some moments for the eye to rest—not every room is riotously colorful. Relief comes in the form of crisp white walls in the family room and kitchen. Furnishings are comfortable and kid friendly, but not bland and boring. A blue-hide ottoman and graphic club chairs add personality without overwhelming. “I kept the family room more simple with pops of blue and red,” says Veysey. “A white background gives some restfulness to any pattern in the room.”
“I feel like we chose our spots for color; not every room is saturated,” says the client. In the master bedroom, walls are papered with a creamy, vinyl paper, and floors are covered with a super soft carpet in the same tone, creating a tactile oasis. Matouk bedding with accents of lavender and funky bronze wall sconces are really the room’s only color, but the visual impact is still there. “Our house is not just all one style—there is variety to it,” notes the client. “We aren’t taking ourselves too seriously but we love beauty. We want rooms to feel special and have an impact, but we also have kids art on the walls.”
A version of this article appeared in the February 2018 issue of CTC&G (Connecticut Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: Color Theory.