A couple enlists Jessie LaFalce from Nandina Home & Design to turn their library into a statement-making, cover-worthy cocktail room.

Living room with a peek of the cocktail room just off to the side PHOTO COURTESY OF SHELLY MARSHALL SCHMIDT
Living room with a peek of the cocktail room just off to the side

When a couple, both young professionals, approached Nandina Home & Design (nandinahome.com) design director and lead designer Jessie LaFalce, they were clear they didn’t want anything too cookie-cutter. Instead, they wanted to make sure it would withstand their two boys, ages 6 and 4, and still embody elegance. The home in question was a traditional brick colonial complete with Palladian windows; dormers; a central foyer; and large-scale, symmetrically placed rooms. “[The couple] had no interest in opening walls as so many young couples do today,” says LaFalce. “Instead, they wanted to maintain the classic, traditional layout, knowing the architectural design is timeless and would sustain their family for many years to come.”

LaFalce’s first order of business was to redecorate the home’s three “formal” rooms, all positioned around the large central foyer. All fabrics needed to be durable enough to stand up to their playful boys and their friends, but elegant enough to entertain work colleagues often. Because their preference is for traditional design, the approach from the beginning was to work with simple, classic lines for the furniture and layout, getting creative in the fabrics and decor. “They were open to playing with pattern, texture, color and scale in order to insert a wow factor,” says LaFalce. “Not many clients of mine would be open to covering their entertaining lounge in a deep-plum wood veneer wallcovering. But this couple definitely have a willingness to trust the experts when it comes to such things.”

Lead designer and design director Jessie LaFalce. PHOTO COURTESY OF SHELLY MARSHALL SCHMIDT
Lead designer and design director Jessie LaFalce.

Featured on our cover is a room that LaFalce and her homeowners allocated as more of an adults-only space—a cocktail hour room where one could sit for a libation before proceeding to dinner in the dining room or heading out to a reservation for date night. Says LaFalce, “While typically I treat rooms like these with darker, moodier colors, I’ll often trim the walls with some sort of paneling or rich, textured wallcovering. This time, I mixed a little of both by installing Innovations’ Huntress wood veneer wallcovering. It speaks to the tradition of historic wood-paneled rooms… but with a fun, modern twist.” Also featured in the room are chairs from Lee Industries that take the traditional library chair and give it a modern twist; a bold, black lacquered linen credenza by Currey & Company that functions as a bar; a Made Goods mirror that is shagreened; and shaded gold leaf wall sconces by Regina Andrew. “The library function still exists in this room for anyone who’d like to grab a book and enjoy a quiet read with a glass of wine after a long day,” says LaFalce. “The library shelving is by Universal Furniture, upholstered inside a simple iron frame.” The room is completed with a small ombre table by Four Hands and a cream-colored cowhide that adds nice organic contrast to the otherwise formal elements in the room. “They may love classic design,” says LaFalce, “but they definitely don’t take themselves too seriously, and want their home to be an expression of their personalities.”