Project Description

A professional couple who purchased this historic home, known as Rock Hill, in Ellicott City, Maryland asked me to begin by providing solutions for the first-floor parlor and dining room. The family room (the existing addition) was next on the list.  I was successful in taking some of the couple’s existing antiques, adding new furnishings/antiques, interpreting their desire to maintain the period feeling of their home, and the sometimes-opposing wishes of the wife and husband.


Decorate an interior space to accomodate American Classical Antiques and to entertain:


  • Prep plaster and paint existing walls and ceilings
  • Repair existing dining chairs

The wife is a true classicist and likes soft colors and subtle patterns, but she did not want a fussy, “Old Victorian” look. She desired “a fresh and updated” version. The husband prefers straight lines, angles, and clean spaces. The antique Empire dining chairs needed joint repairs, and the plaster was in less than perfect shape under the old floral wall covering. First, while the antique Empire dining chairs were out for reupholstery, the joints were reinforced.  The plaster was in less than perfect shape under the old floral wall covering. I designed the window treatments to be elegant, yet allow light and air into the room. This room has a working slate fireplace and I selected a circular-shaped mirror that felt better on the corner fireplace wall. The crystal chandelier got shades and a silk sleeve to conceal the chain up to the new ceiling medallion.

Sometimes, the small items have the biggest impact.  I must have looked at 50 pairs of wall sconces, before finally obtaining approval for what is now in the parlor (not shown). A cool watercolor palette in varying shades of green, custom-stenciled hardwood floors, and updated fabrics influenced everything during our collaboration. My clients have excellent taste, and the result is elegant and formal, yet usable.


American Empire Settee, Empire Chairs: Client Collection;18th Century Port Stand, Basalt Obelisks, Shell on Stand, Glass Bowl and Vase with Etched Greek Key Design: Knightsbridge Charleston, SC; Bohemian Port Decanter: Grant Antiques; Fabrics: Brunschwig et Fils/Lee Jofa/Kravet; Ebony-Framed Round Mirror: Jayson 15/Washington Design Center SW; Drapery Hardware: Vesta Home Accents; Parlor Wall Sconces: Powell & Bonnell; Upholstery Work: Chris @Furnitureworks; Drapery Fabric: Brentano; Drapery Workroom: JDS Designs, WDC; Chandelier Lamp Shades: Annapolis Lighting; Dining Room Stenciled Floors: The Valley Craftsmen

Photography © Todd A. Smith Architectural Photo & Video