Interiors that reflect locale

It goes without saying that a home's design works best if it at least recognizes its geographical location.  We are often charmed by the typical style of a locale - the quaintness of a beach cottage, or the elegance of a pre-war apartment.  Interiors that reflect location bring emotion along as part of the experience.  

Designing and furnishing a home with some reference to the local style and heritage just lends a level of authenticity that is appealing to me as a designer.

When we were preparing to move from our apartment in Rio de Janeiro to a Colonial-inspired home in Northern Virginia, I wasn't sure how some of our style and furnishings would translate.  We had embraced the modern-tropical vibe that is quintessential to Brazilian design, and didn't want our new home to lose that part of our life story.    But I knew we couldn't do straight-up Rio style in the DC suburbs, either.  As dear 'ol Mammie said in Gone With the Wind, "It just wouldn't be fittin'!"

Our dining area in Rio, with a Saarinen-style table, paired with minimalist chairs and local art.

It turns out, though, that classics are called such for a reason - they work well in so many applications.  And that's exactly what we experienced with our tulip table.

 Once in Virginia, I wanted to keep the fresh look of the table, but also acknowledge the new locale, with its more traditional roots.  So, I swapped the minimal chairs with a more substantial, upholstered version, and added in more layers - a rug, millwork, and a softer color palette.  We also kept a smaller version of a Brazilian painting to make sure we didn't lose that element of the design.

The overall look is so different in Virginia than it was in Rio, but the space still tells a special story of where we've been, and what we loved about it.