Part 3: How the Entryway Finally Came Together
We hope you have been enjoying interior designer Tori McBrien's journey to decorating her entryway. In this final installment, McBrien shares how complicated it can be to actually design a space for herself with her busy work scedule, and, finally how she sourced and completed the project. Check out more on the process below:
I must apologize for my absence but it is exactly for this reason that a designer’s home is never finished. After completing Part 2 of this series, I had a major uptick in client work and became so busy, my simple entryway project had to wait. My clients and family always come first.
With that said, it took a little longer than expected to find the final piece of art and the accessories to bring everything together as well as prepare and book the final photo shoot. However, I believe it was worth the wait. I couldn’t be more in love with how the entryway looks and feels and most importantly, it tells the story of my family and me. Now, back to the nitty-gritty and the final reveal you have all been waiting for.
Sourcing the Entryway
Sourcing happens to be one of my favorite parts of the design process but sometimes it can also be the most daunting. The furnishings market is filled with amazing products and if a client is interested in antiques, the possibilities for finding the perfect piece are limitless. Luckily for me, I already had a few pieces that I knew we would use in the entry so my sourcing started there. The chest from Italy was destined to have a focal point in the entry before we even bought the house.
During my design development (check out more in my last post), I pulled an image of a tassel from Trellis Home, a vendor I discovered at one of the many NY Now shows in NYC and have been wanting to use for a while.
The art deco mirror I bought on a girl’s trip to Hudson, New York several years ago, but, unfortunately, I never had the right place for it in our old home. Now, it fits perfectly above the chest flanked with two navy lamps. I have never designed custom lampshades before so I wanted to use this opportunity to test the process.
Sometimes as a designer, I use my own home to experiment with new products, vendors or contractors to ensure that the quality and craftsmenship is up to my standards before using them with a client. That is why so many of us go to tradeshows and markets. We need to touch, feel and sit on product before we can put our stamp of approval on it and recommend it to our clients. In the case of the lampshades, I chose a Designer’s Guild printed fabric with a Samuel and Sons trim. Paired with the right textured navy lamp bases, they create perfect symmetry around the mirror.
The antique crown is a piece I’ve been coveting from my good friends at Modern Antiquarian for over a year. I’ve always been an anglophile so of course, I had to have a crown in my home and what a classic yet understated way to do so. We aren’t entirely sure of its origins but it’s incredible and I’ve been just waiting for the right place to put it. Luckily, the girls still had it available when that perfect spot appeared.
Across from the chest, where I wanted a small chair, I stumbled upon one while shopping in some antique stores around this past New Year’s Eve. This antique Chippendale corner chair was in relatively good condition but needed a little love and attention. A little lacquer paint by the amazing The Gilder Restoration and a gorgeous navy and white Schumacher velvet makes it modern, fun and fabulous.
Above the chair, I wanted something sculptural instead of the standard painting. I thought that would help to keep things fresh and modern.
When I saw these at High Point Market last fall, I knew they would be perfect. The pigs are a nod to my husband’s family who has always had an affinity for the plump pink creatures. His grandmother and mother both have a few pieces in their homes and so I wanted to keep the tradition going for him. Plus, who doesn’t love a gold cherub-like flying pig?
Another area that took some time to curate was the space where an ugly radiator stands proud of the wall. I found a Parsons-style console table wrapped in navy grasscloth with brass nailhead accents that had the perfect dimensions to fit directly over the radiator. I knew I wanted to have some statement art over the console and originally, I had a few pieces hung gallery-style but when I saw this incredible piece at High Point Market in the spring, I fell in love immediately. It reminds me so much of my time in Japan and my love of shuji or Japanese calligraphy. With a basket underneath and a few accessories on top, I turned an eyesore into a beautiful vignette.
One of my splurges for this room was the antique Persian Heriz rug from Westport Carpet and Rugs. It’s an unusual shape as it’s not quite thin enough to be a runner but it fits perfectly in my oversized entry. I also loved that the red tones are closer to coral than one would normally expect in a traditional carpet. Not only does it tie all of the colors of the room together but because it was an investment piece, it should be something I can pass down to one of my children some day.
Lastly, I’ve included the vignette in the living room because it can be seen from the front door and it was important that everything flows together. The wing chair I will eventually recover and I still need some more furniture that will fill the room but I’ve already started curating pieces that I love. I commissioned a piece by Julie Hamilton, an artist I found on Instagram, which makes a statement even when viewed from the front door but it doesn’t overpower what is in the entryway.
As you can see, for an interior designer, sometimes our homes are places to test out new products or contractors. And sometimes we lack the time and energy to finish what we’ve started because we are busy working to perfect our clients homes (and of course we have personal lives too) but in the end, turning an empty entryway into a beautiful and welcoming space was worth the wait.