Popular music fans are likely familiar with a mash-up, best described as digitally blending two or more recorded songs to create something utterly new. The process makes disparate melodies seamless, allowing the likes of Mozart and Bruno Mars to live together harmoniously in a single melody. It’s a concept not unlike designer Andrea Schumacher’s approach to design. Despite eschewing the word eclectic, the designer is a master genre blender. “I never want a room to look like it came off the showroom floor,” she says. “I love finding unique pieces that look like they came from many different places and using them to create spaces that you would never see anywhere else.”
When she met her clients–who were preparing to relocate from New Jersey to Denver with their 7-year-old son–Schumacher instinctively knew their project would be all about mixing different pieces and styles. “They are young, so it was important that the house be fresh and light and incorporate items with both a classical feel and a sense of whimsy,” she says. The homeowners had a similar flash of intuition about Schumacher: “We are a little quirky,” admits the wife. “And we were drawn to Andrea because, on the surface, her work looks fairly traditional, but look closer and there’s a wink.” But those clever moments would have to wait until the designer and her team, including project manager Troy Rivington, worked some magic on their new home–an ailing 1990s house.
Described by the wife as “an old-school Denver house with dark wood everywhere,” the initial budget didn’t match the laundry list of items required for a full transformation–“There wasn’t enough lipstick for all of that,” Schumacher laughs.
But what started as a kitchen and family room makeover quickly became a project of larger proportions. “When we saw what she was doing, we had to do the rest of the home,” says the husband who, along with his wife, signed on for a full-house remodel. “We wanted it to flow.”
And flow it does. The designer stained white-oak floors a deep espresso color and spiced up dated trim with dark gray-blue paint, tying the spaces together and establishing the backdrop. Schumacher’s team evened things out by replacing rough-textured, knockdown drywall with smooth surfaces in the living and dining rooms and grass cloth in the kitchen and family room.
The home’s youthful vibe is announced at the entry with the combination of a gold-leaf mirror, blue ceramic lamps with a midcentury vibe and wallpaper with a bronze abstract pattern. “We wanted whoever walks in to know this is the house of a young couple that likes to have fun,” says Schumacher, who punctuated the assemblage with a Balinese sculpture discovered by the owners on their travels.
Schumacher says she’s often inspired by fabric (“preferably one with three or four colors”), so she used colorful draperies with a floral, Asian feel as the driver in the living room. A pair of metal-framed Bernhardt chairs with azure velvet cushions and the gold-toned throw pillows on the sofa were a direct response to the blues and yellows that dominate, and the juxtaposition of a brass pulley light fixture on one side of the sofa and a crane lamp sporting a silk shade on the other is pure Schumacher. “I like to bring a little humor into the conversation,” says the designer, who went further for the wink by pairing a classic upholstered armchair with a side table supported by brass bird legs
A hint of pink on the curtains carries over to the dining room where the French Klismos chairs are upholstered in a similar shade, and a pink-and-green Sputnik light casts a glow on an oval wood table rimmed with bronze. From there it’s a glance away to the hammered-bronze coffee table and metal-trimmed side tables that sparkle in the family room. “I think brass and other warm-toned metals are here to stay, and they are fun, happy elements to weave throughout,” says Schumacher, who continued the shimmer in the kitchen with metal-framed barstools and a brushed-brass chandelier. Kitchen designer Kendall Lacroix selected the cabinetry in a soft gray-blue that lines the remodeled room, and the center island and leather barstool seats are matched to the darker steel-blue molding.
Fabric rules again in the master suite where Schumacher pulled colors from the vibrant draperies for the tomato-red pillows and the welt trim on the chair. The sculpted linen headboard is an elegant touch, brass lamps proved irresistible and, when the wife came home with a had-to-have Jonathan Adler floating star chandelier, no one objected.
“The designers really understood us,” enthuses the wife. “Andrea’s little jokes and quirky touches show lots of personality and are keeping with who we are.” The result is a mash-up perfectly tuned to the family.