Breathing Room

When homeowner Jane Kelly decided her lifestyle was a bit cramped in her Forest Park cottage, she changed her view from manicured lawns to city lights in a brand-new high-rise condominium.

“It was just a concrete shell, ” says interior designer Andrew Brown. “Jane enlisted the help of Shepard & Davis Architecture, who customized it to fit her lifestyle.” That lifestyle called for open spaces, abundant natural light, and an emphasis on livability. Andrew then lent his expertise to ensure the furnishings reflected her adventurous personality.

An art wall elevates the conversation area around the custom limestone fireplace. The burnt orange hues in the dancer painting and in the abstract above it inspired a color theme in the condo’s decor, including the pillow on the reupholstered antique French chair. The juxtaposition of a black-framed nude drawing and a Rococo mirror show the home’s signature blending of styles.

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“Jane is a positive, energetic, outgoing, intelligent, stylish lady who enjoys her grown son and daughter and grandkids, ” Andrew says. “She was ready for a change. She wanted more space and more of a city feel.” Achieving that “city feel” was a balancing act, avoiding the extremes of cottage-style clutter and chilly modernity. Jane had collected a house full of furnishings that had to be divided into those that would move up with her and the ones that no longer fit into her life.

“She has incredible antiques, but she was ready for a fresh approach to the interiors, ” Andrew says. “We looked through all her stuff and picked the pieces to keep and work with.” Andrew incorporated the keepers from Jane’s assortment of antiques to create an eclectic ambiance in the condo, although he eschews the word “eclectic.” Instead, he calls the style “collected, ” the natural result of a lifetime of acquisitions. It includes a little of everything—art, furniture, mementos—that strikes the fancy. “When you get them over a lifetime, you have a great mix of styles—modern and antique, shiny and dull, expensive and inexpensive, ” he says.

Andrew doubled down on the clean lines of the condo with an overall neutral palette. Then he judiciously applied pops of color inspired by Jane’s treasures. “Jane had cherished pottery pieces in a deep olive-black, ” he says. “I chose that color to contrast with the walls. Drawing on her artwork, I then injected gold and burnt orange.”

The inner foyer, set off by portiere drapery, offers a showcase for a pair of antique leopard-skin chairs that were among Jane’s collection. Keeping the appointments simple, Andrew added an antique chest with a large mirror propped behind. The olive-black lacquered ceiling adds definition to the space.

The colors provide a visual thread connecting the different spaces created by furniture groupings in the condo’s large, open living area.

While crisp, contemporary lines and neutral colors can feel a little cool, Andrew warmed the space with dollops of different textures, from leather to velvet to linen. Antiques, solid and storied, provide their own warmth, while snappy new pieces and updated old ones, such as an antique French armchair re-covered in white leather for a modern edge, bring energy to the mix. The result is a home interior that suits its city location and portrays its owner’s new stage of life with a fresh vibe.


LEFT: In the master bedroom, a white headboard and crisp linens make a dramatic impact against a wall upholstered in olive-black silk. Flanked by a pair of convex mirrors, an antique tortoise shell creates a unique focal point above the bed. Andrew snagged the leather-topped 1920s stools on a buying trip to Buenos Aires. RIGHT: In the entry foyer, a dark lacquered wall in the thematic olive color contrasts with a white waxed floor to set the tone for the interiors. Artist Jan Roberts repeated the deep hue with a hand-painted star medallion on the floor. The result appears to be a reflection of the star-shaped light fixture.


LEFT: The master bath custom cabinetry, designed by Shepard and Davis, is stained to appear more as a found piece of furniture and presents a contrast with lower cabinets painted to blend with the white marble countertops. The mirror, a traditional French design, came from Jane’s former home. “I convinced her to let me paint it a high-gloss white to give it a modern edge, ” Andrew says. RIGHT: Styles and textures blend for a comfortable look that Andrew calls “collected.” This sitting area pairs the softness of a custom love seat covered in white linen velvet with the smoothness of a modern coffee table in a tortoise-shell faux finish. An unusual chrome sconce is a mid-20th-century design by Tommi Parzinger.


interiors: Andrew Brown Adorno, Inc. 205.879.7949 • architect: Shepard & Davis Architecture 205.322.7770 • countertops: Birmingham Marble works 205.988.5585 living room: chandelier and floor lamps: Visual Comfort & Co. sunburst mirror: Henhouse Antiques 205.918.0505 • Rococo mirror: Crawford Bray Design white cabriole leg side table: Arteriors round goldleaf mirrors: Made Goods hand painted star: decorative artist Jan Roberts 205.902.3644 convex mirrors: Restoration Hardware antique tortoise shell: 1st Dibs sconces: Visual Comfort & Co. framed military epaulet: Time Frame


Text by Lucy Merrill • Photography by Jean Allsopp

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