Contemporary Comfort In A 19th-century Townhouse

BY DESIGN

December 19, 1993|By BETH SMITH

Creating a comfortable living room that reflects contemporar styling takes on a special challenge when the space is in an Otterbein town house built between 1800 and 1820. Robert Hale and Tom Williams, of Hale-Williams Interior Design in Ruxton, knew their client wanted a sophisticated space that retained elements of the early 19th-century house, but she also needed extra sleeping space for visiting children and a relaxing place to watch television.

To accomplish these goals, Mr. Hale and Mr. Williams designed a plan that divided the 30-foot room into two parts -- a grouping around the traditional fireplace, and a television viewing area. Visually, the division relies on two decorative columns to create a feeling of separate spaces. A sleep sofa designed by Mr. Williams and custom-made at Designer's Image on Reisterstown Road anchors the conversation area and provides a backdrop for an antique television cabinet that faces two custom-made lounge chairs with matching ottomans.

A delicate and refined settee offers a counterpoint to the button-tufted, chenille-covered sleep soda and sets the tone of the fireplace grouping. Custom-made by David Edward of Baltimore, the small sofa is covered in a German chintz in colors of black, white, gray and peachy rose. With its thin, ebonized ash legs that merge into scrolled, wood-framed arms, the contemporary settee boasts a design that borders on art deco styling.

Rather than doing an elaborate window treatment, Mr. Williams and Mr. Hale relied on the original window shutters to provide privacy and historical integrity to the eclectic room.

"I think what was most satisfying about this work was that our client allowed us to use all the design components we had planned to finish the project," says Mr. Williams. "The result is a very stylish room that does not jump up and down for attention, but is approachable and comfortable. It is not a period room, but a room designed to be lived in and used."

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