A Modern Touch

words: Lauren De Bellis | photo: Lynn Spinnato

After a stint working with Juan Pablo Molyneux at Molyneux Studio in New York City, designer Diane Guariglia branched out. Inspired by her surroundings (her office is in Cold Spring Harbor), she recently breathed new life into an historic home.

Long Island Pulse: You recently completed a project on the Gold Coast. What was the biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
The homes along the Gold Coast have so much history, both inside and out, so it was tough for us to figure out how to make the old pieces feel current. While the home itself had a very traditional style, the new homeowners were young and chic. We wanted the home to carry their spirit, but we wanted to respect the history of the house as well. We did this by treating the architectural details and walls with shiny lacquered finishes, modern paint colors and trendy wall coverings.

LIP: What was the hardest room to renovate?
The formal library, which had wood paneled walls that we did not want to remove or paint over. Instead we focused on the only exposed “wall”—the ceiling—and covered it in faux leather. We added a sexy, modern, black crystal chandelier and finished the room with an eclectic mix of contemporary and traditional accessories to represent the home’s past while embracing its new homeowners.

LIP: How can readers achieve a similar “estate look” at home without spending a lot?
You don’t ever need to break the bank in order to achieve a youthful estate look as long as you’re willing to do a little work. Nothing excites me more than finding a DIY project at a yard sale, random antique shop or, believe it or not, a hotel.

Design tip: Find a bench or armchair that needs reupholstering. Cover it yourself and take it one step further by finishing it with nail head trim in a Greek key or scroll pattern. To do this, draw the pattern on a piece of paper, place it on the furniture and hammer the nail heads through the drawing. Then rip the paper off as you go.

lauren debellis

A former magazine editor, Lauren DeBellis has been writing and producing stories about home decorating and design for nearly ten years. She resides in East Northport with her husband.