R5 Photo Spread: a Mediterranean in Chappaqua Gets a Refreshed, Modern Look from Designer Shelley Morris

One day, you look in the mirror and realize it’s time for a facelift—of your interiors, that is. After the empty-nester owner of this century-old Mediterranean in Chappaqua saw how designer Shelley Morris transformed her daughter’s Manhattan apartment, she hired Morris to give her family home a refreshed, more youthful look. As Morris puts it, “She hadn’t done any interior design work for some twenty years.” Morris pulled out wall-to-wall carpeting, refinished the wood floors underneath, and painted the 12-inch-thick plaster walls in a warm, understated palette that she punctuated with pops of more vibrant colors, including orange. She brought in new furniture with a modern, transitional style and replaced heavy silk drapes with bamboo shades. Still, Morris says, “there was a lot there that was salvageable, still very pretty and very relevant.” The dining room was transformed primarily with accessories, while, in a sitting room, Morris kept the decades-old brown floral wallpaper. “Every house needs one dark room,” the homeowner recalls. “Shelley updated it with chartreuse chairs and repainted the trim to pick up a color in the wallpaper.” Morris also believes every home could use something wild (“I have a bit of an animal fetish”), so she added zebra-patterned accents (stair runner, pillows, bedding), along with a few ethnic accessories for a “more global, organic quality. I love the contrast of primitive with things that are polished. Contrast is what creates excitement; that adds more depth to interior.”

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In the master bedroom, zebra-print Pottery Barn bedding adorns a Mitchell Gold bed. Thomas O’Brien’s Aero lamps sit on side tables from Design Solutions in New Canaan, Connecticut. Across the room.

In the living room, Morris kept it simple, mixing a clean-lined linen sofa and armchairs from Verellen with an earthier Lillian August coffee table and ottoman, all grounded by a patterned sisal rug from Michaelian & Kohlberg. Contemporary accessories add sheen.

Flotaki pillows from Dovecoat in Westport, Connecticut, soften up matching Miles van der Rohe reproduction chairs. The mantle mirror is from Pimlico in New Canaan. Old wallpaper came down; neutral paint went up. “I like Donald Kauffman colors,” says Morris. “They’re fool-proof, and the natural light does interesting things to the color throughout the day.”

In the dining room, Morris kept the owner’s chandelier and Barbara Barry table and chairs and credenza, freshening the space with new paint and candlesticks and accessories from Bungalow in Westport.

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Shelley Morris Interiors
New Canaan, CT
(208) 801-9911

Photographer: Phillip Ennis

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