Updating 1990's mansion with crystal and shiny brass everywhere!
scronan
November 1, 2012 in Design Dilemma
Where to start with this update? Shiny brass and crystal sconces and chandeliers. The sconces were originally $200 each. Each mega chandelier was around $10,000. Can't afford to scrap them and replace them with equally expensive lights. Ugh.

What furniture arrangement for the 25ft X 24ft grand room. Would like plenty of seating (but not 8 sofas, 6 chairs and a gaping whole in my wallet)

Thoughts?
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dcer
Hi! For the chandeliers and sconces, you can always trim the crystals, so that you don't have as many! Just cut out many strands so that the fixtures are more airy and modern. I know what you mean about all of that brass! I have the same problem in my new home. If they are small, inexpensive prices like cabinet hardware, you can replace them. If they are bigger fixtures, you can paint them! That is what I am going to do with my brass front door hardware. Just make sure to prime the metal, and use the right paint. In terms of furniture, don't feel as if you need to stuff the whole room with furniture! Just buy a few large prices that can stand up to the size of the room and create several seating vignettes. Use occasional tables, consoles, plants, floor lamps, and accessories to break it up. By the way, BEAUTIFUL home;)!
November 1, 2012 at 6:28PM     
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Urban Ideas Inc.
Hi there, first of all, what a beautiful house! Don't touch the chandelier, it looks just great considering the style of your home as well as your marble floor and grand piano. Yes, I agree with replacing the brass hardware....it is just too out of style these days. I'd suggest to use polished nickel instead. As sophisticated as your home but uptodate. Good luck, Laura
November 1, 2012 at 6:56PM     
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scronan
Thanks for the advice! I will be uploading more pics soon.
November 2, 2012 at 12:09PM   
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scronan
More pics
November 2, 2012 at 12:23PM   
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scronan
Sooooo shiny!
November 2, 2012 at 12:24PM   
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scronan
More pics
November 2, 2012 at 12:26PM   
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PRO
Paradise Restored Landscaping & Exterior Design
Beauty of a home - each of these photos show the same grand look with comfortable settings - not 8 sofas - but groups of seating - threw these out until you download more photos of your space -
Doni Flanigan Interior Design Artist 1
jamesthomas, LLC
Doni Flanigan Interior Design Artist 2
Grand Living Room
November 2, 2012 at 12:34PM     
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PRO
Paradise Restored Landscaping & Exterior Design
Whoops - you were right about crystal and shiny brass everywhere! This is going to be a great discussion - I will drop by periodically and see what the champs advise - best to you and your venture!
November 2, 2012 at 12:36PM     
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michigammemom
Wow, even the commode is opulent! Considering the scope and size of your home, hiring a professional designer would be well worth the investment to make this grand home an extension of your personal taste and more modern sensibilities. The cupola and dentil moldings are delicious!
November 2, 2012 at 12:40PM     
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Aggie Purvinska
Lovely images! I think since you can't get rid of the expensive chandeliers and fixtures, add more color to pop them, and to make the use of brass intentional. Brass looks fantastic with teal, turquoise, green, warm browns. Maybe it is time to take the house out of the ivory daze and really jazz it up. Add bold graphic prints, dark surfaces. You have fantastic opportunities to bring color in existing ceiling trays, etc. Don't be afraid of bold statements and things like painting a ceiling dark, etc. I would definitely hire someone, because this revamp will be overwhelming and a designer will help you keep the eye on the ball.
November 2, 2012 at 12:45PM     
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Joni B.
As for the light fixtures, I would keep everything except the pineapples (which I'd replace). For the others, I would trim any dangling crystals, and add some brass accents nearby, to make them feel more cohesive. What about a gorgeous gold-colored bar cart:
http://www.highstreetmarket.com/collections/furniture/products/darcy-tray-table http://www.crateandbarrel.com/libations-bar-cart/s303224
November 2, 2012 at 12:54PM     
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olldcan
I've transformed a few outdated brass light fixtures. Yes, you need to remove all the crystals but you'd be surprised what a can of tremclad can do. It's a tedious job removing the crystal and then putting it all back on but you may find that you don't need to put it all back on. Replacing the odd set of sconces is affordable but you can't find a chandelier of that size or quality on the cheap. I would hire a designer BUT only one with experience dealing with a home of that size. You said it is a mansion and shouldn't be someones first one in there portfolio. I'll be watching this post often for updates just to see how it's coming along, cause it's going to be amazing. Thanks for sharing your home :)
November 2, 2012 at 1:08PM     
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olldcan
Oh, can we please see more pictures
November 2, 2012 at 1:10PM     
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PRO
Urban Ideas Inc.
Now that I have seen your pictures, I'd like to suggest you to tone down some of the light fixtures. Is it an option to replace the pineapple ones (both chandelier and sconces)... it is just too plantation style and your home is more like a traditional one. Also, if budget allow, what about replacing your toilet for a regular one (no detail on it) and let your sink to be the star of the room....In that same room, I'd also consider replacing the sconces on the wall....just too much information in the same area. Laura
November 2, 2012 at 5:05PM     
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love your place . com
Without the brassy glare, this house could easily be more historically influenced, say "Southern Gothic", or "Art Deco". Or it could be totally modern mix of old/new--think of some of those French Chateaus and Italian Palazzos that the owners have filled with ultra-modern touches, like giant Noguchi light fixtures where chandeliers once hung.
Think about your own taste first..when you say "update"-do you like modern? traditional? deco? old-world? island?
Decide what style you like, define the elements that fit the style. You can then find replacement pieces which don't have to be crazy-expensive. Sell the fixtures you do not want, use the money towards the purchase of new ones.
Please keep us posted--this looks like a fun challenge!
November 2, 2012 at 5:51PM     
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groveraxle
Of course, these are the chandeliers you need:
Italian Modern
Chihuly Art on Table
November 2, 2012 at 6:36PM     
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mattysavager
I think your biggest problem and 90s giveaway is the honey coloured timber and the lemon meringue wall colour. Refishing the flooring and steps treads to a much darker stain in that entrance/great room would be where I would start if this were my house. I'd do the walls in dove grey, or any other colour that's not yellow/cream.

You might find that there is so much less gold coloured timber & walls that the chandeliers actually look OK. If not - I would take the crystals off and just spray the brass with a can of silver paint. You'll never notice it's paint, and then the metal frame would disappear.
November 2, 2012 at 7:45PM     
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scronan
I am grateful for everyone's help! This is great therapy for the overwhelmed :0) Keep the ideas coming and I will certainly keep everyone updated.

My parents custom built this home 12 years ago and have decided to scale down so we are buying it at a great price. There are so many great features to the home and I pray that I don't sound ungrateful by sharing my dislikes.

My dream would to make it look "Hollywood Glam" and "Swanky". If anyone has ever seen the St Regis hotel in Atlanta, that would be the look I'm hoping for. Not that it is my favorite style, but I think it might work with the existing "Bling" factor.

Did I mention that my mom always quoted Dolly Pardon "I just love gaudy!" Which is so funny considering my parents are actually simple people that always worked hard, didn't come from money, and would give anyone the shirt off their backs.

I'll stop rambling now and will post additional pics of the other "gaudy" pieces to my new puzzle soon.
November 2, 2012 at 8:39PM     
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love your place . com
Spend some time with Mr Google and search for images of "Hollywood Glam" and "Swanky" room designs. You might find some great inspiration.
p.s. went to the St Regis site: they have almost NO "Shiny" brass, no overload of crystal, and have plenty of glare-softening rugs, draperies, wood and upholstery.
November 2, 2012 at 8:50PM     
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scronan
The St Regis in Atlanta...the dream fix.
November 2, 2012 at 9:03PM     
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abestor
I think that the style of your home is fabulous. He chandeliers are beautiful.
November 2, 2012 at 9:12PM     
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annoulaxeni
Take heart Scronan: the St. Regis might be your 'dream fix' but for most of us it would be literally impossible to accomplish. For you it may just take time and work. Your new house has the right bones for that look, you'll just need to get the decorating right.

And frankly even though those chandeliers aren't at all my taste, I wouldn't rush to remove them -- you're just fixating on them right now because your house is bare. I have a feeling that if you were to concentrate instead on warming up the interior with paint first, you'd find that they strike you as a bit less gaudy (although I think I'd lose those dangling crystals on the sconce: save them for your Christmas tree). After all, in that upper right-hand photo of the St. Regis, that's not exactly a minimalist chandelier! But coupled with the softer whites (your true white trim needs to be softened IMHO) and the dove grey and the lovely butter toffee drapes and the soft recessed lighting ... it whispers rather than shouts.

And in that lower left photo, note that what really calls out is the muted, warm neutral palette, a good deal of which is the wall color. Good ol' paint, no matter what the style of house, can make the most impact with the least cost.

With the powder room, just pick one of the warm pink or gold shades from that crazy sink, and put it on the walls. Of all the rooms which need warming up, that one is way up top: I shiver just looking at it!

(Boy, that St. Regis bath with the window to the bedroom is a dream, isn't it?!)
November 3, 2012 at 12:44AM     
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duneya
This is a little off track, but that huge ceiling at the top of the stairs would look so awesome with a sky /clouds painted on it, really would be so gorgeous.
November 3, 2012 at 3:12AM     
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duneya
forgot to mention, the pictures above are from the Forum Shops in Las Vegas, and its all indoors so the sky is painted
November 3, 2012 at 3:13AM     
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charlotteleigh
This house is beautiful. I agree with one of the postings that you are fixating on the lighting because the house is devoid of furnitue. I wouldn't touch any of the lighting until the home is furnished. Don't change those gorgeous chandeliers until you have a better idea of where you are going with your interior design. I'm not a huge brass fan, but I think your lighting is lovely; however, take into consideration that I'm a bling lover! If it's shiny I want it, lol.
November 3, 2012 at 3:42AM     
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Bonnie
You have a beautiful home! I do agree that you may have too much of a good thing in the brass and glass. I know you don't want to change out the chandelier since it cost so much but what if you changed out the sconces since they are lower ticket items. Select something a little fresher for the sconces like maybe a brushed gold in cleaner lines with no crystals. Then add in some furniture pieces with simple contemporary lines to balance out the sweetness of the big crystal chandelier. I think you could really get a fresh and chic look by mixing in some contemporary items. Good luck!
November 3, 2012 at 4:54AM     
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susandort
Please hire a decorator to help you.
November 3, 2012 at 11:47AM     
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Linda
You may find that removing a portion of the crystals from the chandeliers would cut down on the visual overload. Usually the crystals are on little wires which hook through holes in the frame. Those crystals probably needs washing anyhow so get a tall ladder and remove all of them for cleaning. Then, put them back up sparingly until you like it and store the rest of them
November 3, 2012 at 1:42PM     
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mpoulsom
I agree with many of the other comments above....the home is bare and therefore that is all you are seeing. I'm not a brass person either, but I don't think I would get rid of the lighting. It's incredible. Just fool around with the pineapples and replace those first. Then add some great colors in your furnishings and walls....It may turn out looking a little more like diva rock star, than hollywood glam when you buy some furniture you like, but, that's not too shabby either! Live like a rock star! lol!
November 3, 2012 at 2:22PM     
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Madeline
If one has a mansion and in it is this chandelier, as one of many, and one must find the time and temperament to WASH THE CRYSTALS, there's something wrong with this picture! (You will be drying little pieces for days and never ever find where they originally went. I did just a very SMALL chandelier and was totally lost. I still find crystals from that chandelier and this is two houses later). Seriously it is a statement piece and is part of the glory that is this house! Please do not replace it. Otherwise go to it! And good luck! I am certain the pros will check in and be panting to help you out :)
November 3, 2012 at 3:04PM     
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scronan
My husband is DYING to have the house painted, which several of you suggested (will never tell him that he could be right). So do I go with the Grey-ish tones in the marble or the Orange-ish Yellow-ish in the wood?....or change the wood color like a few have suggested? I LOVE YOUR IDEAS so far!

PS. I'm thinking 2 sectional sofas in a cream velvet...see drawing below. Maybe a large rug to cover some of the wood flooring?
November 3, 2012 at 7:50PM     
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scronan
Btw...today's project was draining the Koi ponds to find the leak. Some of these Koi are over 8 pounds. My teenagers, husband, father in-law and myself wrangled all of them today. I would guess close to 60-75 fish. Praying we find the leak soon and that the Koi make it through the process.
November 3, 2012 at 8:03PM   
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anniebmw7
Love your home:) you got some great ideas of having a bigger rug and 2 sectionals. very nice:) Something that would take up the nice big space, would be a square or pretty big size coffee table in the middle. Looks like you know what your doing and you know what you want. Painting the walls, really depends on what color sectionals your planning to get and the colors you want on your rug etc. The only colors i can recommand for big areas like yours are probably more lighter tons which are:
[houzz=Puritan Gray 164 by Benjamin Moore]
[houzz=Grant Beige HC-83]
the darker of the two would stand out real nice with the golden trimming of the lights. hope this helps.
GOOD LUCK!
November 3, 2012 at 8:13PM     
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Bonnie
A few people above have talked about cleaning the chandeliers so I thought I would throw this in just for informational purposes. There are some cleaners out there specifically made for cleaning crystal chandeliers. One to look into is Hagerty Crystal Cleaner. You don't have to take the crystals off you place newspapers or plastic under the chandelier and just spray on. The spray literally dissolves dust and grime and it all just drips off. Much easier than taking the crystals off and trying to figure out where they go later. I have used this multiple times and it works great.
November 3, 2012 at 8:26PM     
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scronan
Anniebmw7 I love the 2nd color you suggested. What is it? I've spent about 2 weeks stumbling thru ideas and it just clicked about the 2 sectionals. I will be working with a designer but obviously have a problem with my trigger finger ;0). I love the process of updating when it's for other people or it's an investment flip. Tough when I think about living with it. All in good time though!
November 3, 2012 at 8:29PM   
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scronan
Omg Bonnie! Thank you!!! You guys are awesome!
November 3, 2012 at 8:30PM   
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Tres McKinney Design
Beleive it or not - brass is coming back in vogue. You need to hire a good interior designer to help yhou naviage the options and good intensioned advice to make the best of this home. This is definely not a do it yourself project. You will only dig yourself deeper into confusion and expense.
November 3, 2012 at 8:37PM     
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Jane Burgett
I had a chandelier almost exactly like yours and a few others in an old house I restored. The spray cleaner works pretty well but not as well as hand washing. Hire someone if you have to. I have done it myself but would not attempt it now. :). It is worthy of a good cleaning.
November 3, 2012 at 8:48PM     
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roopdl
Tres McK. comment is very true. Give a clear mission statement to your designer of what you want & need for you & your family, but have fun too!
November 3, 2012 at 8:56PM     
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jerryalan
I would leave all the fixtures, lights, commodes and everything else just as is. I would focus on painting the walls to make it more modern. I think you would be surprised at how that would take them away from front center. In time all that will come back in style and you will be sitting on a house full of gems. Please don't paint the brass! The house is gorgeous; it just needs a good interior designer to help you live through this phase to the next one.
November 3, 2012 at 8:57PM     
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Bonnie
If your dream is hollywod glam then check out the design work of Jan Showers. She is an artist at creating a glamorous look that is not overdone. If you have the budget, I think she is for hire, if not check out her website for ideas and she has a book too. I have no affiliation with her...I am just a big
fan of her work. If I could afford her, Iwould hire her to do my house!
November 4, 2012 at 1:15PM     
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toscanovilla
Beautiful home! I don't mind some of the brass especially in the chandelier. Just bite the bullet and replace the rest. By the time you are done, brass may be back in style. I think you can mix and match metals in certain areas. I look forward to see your decisions. Have fun.
November 4, 2012 at 1:31PM   
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toscanovilla
Beautiful home! I don't mind some of the brass especially in the chandelier. Just bite the bullet and replace the rest. By the time you are done, brass may be back in style. I think you can mix and match metals in certain areas. I look forward to see your decisions. Have fun.
November 4, 2012 at 1:31PM   
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Sara Parker
Lucky You! Go to estate sales and have a ball. Keep those chandeliers!
November 4, 2012 at 2:07PM     
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apple_pie_order
From the larger photos, it looks like some of the finishes are actually gold and some are shiny brass. I would not change any of the lighting fixtures or the fancy lavatory, etc. I think the best way to update it is to paint the walls with some of the very light sophisticated celadons and grays of the St. Regis photos. Then add some furniture which is teenager-friendly in at least a few rooms used by the family. The lighter wood can be stained darker, as others have pointed out.

A professional designer who works in this high end market is needed. She can work with your likes and dislikes. Collecting photos to show her would help a lot. Living in the house for several months would also help solidify your ideas on what to change and what to keep.

Good luck with the koi wrangling. They are fun.
November 4, 2012 at 3:07PM     
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jerryalan
I totally agree with apple-pie-order!
November 4, 2012 at 4:32PM   
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Jane Burgett
I do agree with living with it for a while before changing things.
November 4, 2012 at 4:44PM     
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Jane Burgett
I do agree with living with it for a while before changing things.
November 4, 2012 at 4:44PM   
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Sara Parker
Right on Apple-pie-order. Much of that brass looks as if it could really be gold! What an incredible house you have. I wouldn't change much except paint colors, if that , until you have time to grow into it.

Look for antiques and semi antique furniture and jazz them up with modern fabrics. Change the furniture as you move on to new stages, keeping the best and editing out the rest. Big oriental rugs and high quality area rugs will soften it for now . Hope the Koi make it! Fantastic place.
November 5, 2012 at 1:06PM   
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Sara Parker
Right on Apple-pie-order. Much of that brass looks as if it could really be gold! What an incredible house you have. I wouldn't change much except paint colors, if that , until you have time to grow into it.

Look for antiques and semi antique furniture and jazz them up with modern fabrics. Change the furniture as you move on to new stages, keeping the best and editing out the rest. Big oriental rugs and high quality area rugs will soften it for now . Hope the Koi make it! Fantastic place.
November 5, 2012 at 1:06PM     
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Sara Parker
Right on Apple-pie-order. Much of that brass looks as if it could really be gold! What an incredible house you have. I wouldn't change much except paint colors, if that , until you have time to grow into it.

Look for antiques and semi antique furniture and jazz them up with modern fabrics. Change the furniture as you move on to new stages, keeping the best and editing out the rest. Big oriental rugs and high quality area rugs will soften it for now . Hope the Koi make it! Fantastic place.
November 5, 2012 at 1:06PM   
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Sara Parker
It might be fun to hang a few brightly coloured crystal drops, carefully saving the ones you remove, of course.
A Vinegar and water mixture is hard to beat for cleaning just about anything especially glass. Try a spray of it to see if it does the trick without making a mess. Be sure you don't use it or let it drip on marble or even granite.
November 5, 2012 at 1:13PM   
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Jane Burgett
I have to question the use of vinegar on brass or even gold, it could potentially do some damage. I'd go for the commercial spray cleaner before I'd try that...no offense. Just make sure the commercial stuff won't harm the metal either.
OH...and my chandelier had a huge diagram of what went where otherwise I'd have been totally lost.
November 5, 2012 at 1:43PM     
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juliet87
Honestly I would just go with the gold/brass. I would decorate to incorporate it and if I still hated it in a few years when you were done then I would think about replacing it. But the first on my list would be the gold undertones in the wood and walls. I would do a Soft gray and stain the floors darker.
June 14, 2014 at 7:54PM     
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cambridge101
Shades on the pineapple sconces would look much better. Paint the ceilings would do WONDERS to the place. Light blue in the dome sq. rest could be darker gold would make the brass look good.
June 14, 2014 at 9:42PM   
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cambridge101
Need a floor plans to do furniture placement , need different groupings.
June 14, 2014 at 9:46PM   
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groveraxle
Dead thread.
June 14, 2014 at 9:47PM   
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PRO
Riverside Design
Do not paint any of those lights silver! Warm finishes are back and putting them with a modern palette will blend the two. Hire a good designer and she/he will guide you in the right direction.... Have a look at any elle decor, aD magazine and you'll see the warm golds/ brass is back, it's not as shiny as before but it's back...have fun with them, don't do the safe and over it silver.
June 14, 2014 at 10:02PM   
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bubbasgma
Old Dilemma. November, 2012.
June 14, 2014 at 10:12PM   
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Lidia Moralez
I wish I leaved in that. House
August 14, 2014 at 6:46PM   
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