Peter Fallico's main floor makeover
And in this house, he had a lot. "The house had great bones and lots of charm: original leaded windows, nicely proportioned rooms, and woodwork that was in fine condition." Even the original 1920s hardware was salvageable; Peter removed it, sanded and polished, then put it back. “You can’t get hardware like that today,” he says.
Sitting area The living room contained not one, but two wonderful features, which needed only a bit of updating to make them sing: a fireplace with its original Art Deco stone surround, and a wide bay window with leaded glass panes. The first thing was to lighten and brighten the room with warm dove-grey walls, and to paint the woodwork and mouldings white. The fine oak-strip floors needed only a light sanding and dark stain; dark floors work well with light walls, since they add crispness to the whole room. A coat of white paint also brought out the lovely moulding details of the fireplace mantel and provided a frame for the stone surround.
Customized buffet The wall across from the fireplace featured a small setback from the hall entryway, the perfect fit for a combination of open shelving and closed cabinets. While it looks custom-made, the cabinetry is actually stock from Ikea, gussied up with a Carrara marble top and Chinese-influenced hardware. "This is a great way to get a big bang for your buck—expensive hardware makes the cabinetry look much fancier than it really is."
When the built-in was installed, Peter had it wired for stereo and TV, so the unit can easily be adapted as a home entertainment centre as well as for additional storage. But for now, a pair of lamps flanking a large mirror, both featuring an interesting pattern of large circles, add natural and supplementary light to the room. "The trick is always to keep the fundamentals neutral, but add personality in the details," he explains.
Living room window Dressing bay windows, especially one as wide as this one, are always a challenge, particularly on a budget. Peter's solution was to hang lengths of fabric in a botanical print from rods placed on the wall on either side of the windows proper. The draperies add a finished look without covering up their beautiful leaded details.
Bathroom The main-floor bathroom in the home serves both as a powder room and as the main bath for a bedroom on this floor. "Buyers really expect you to completely update the kitchen and baths, so you need to spend some money in those rooms; but you want to look for every way you can get the most for your money,” Peter advises. In this case, the layout of the original bathroom was compact and efficient; by following the same blueprint, Peter was able to work with the existing plumbing services, saving thousands over the cost of repositioning the fixtures.
The luxe came in his choice of finishes. A 24" deep base cabinet maximizes storage, while a marble top adds a touch of elegance. To enhance the sleek feeling, he chose a wall cabinet with a frosted-glass front and clean-looking stainless steel hardware. To finish the look, Peter added mosaic marble-look floor tiles in a flattened hex pattern—a nod to the home’s 1920s vintage.