A Meridian-Kessler Home’s Blue Beginnings – Indianapolis Monthly


Designer Tiffany Skilling has incorporated family history into this remodeling by using the bureau and China inherited from the owner as inspiration.Ashlee Kindred Photo

WChicken french Country was the dominant interior design style in the early days. In Indianapolis, no interior design was as good as Shericolby. Owner of Colby Antiques and Interiors and a long-time high-end decorator, she has kept in mind the special blue color that characterizes her appearance. When she died in 2008, her son Nick Colby inherited many of her beautiful heirloom. Later, they became the starting point for a dramatic refurbishment of the British Tudor named Fair Oaks of Meridian Kessler.

Nick and his wife, Kelly, hired designer Tiffany Skilling, Kelly’s boss. The task was to modernize the home of a family of four, maintain its charm and original architecture, and weave Colby’s precious ceramics and antiques into a style that reflects Nick and Kelly. taste. The finished product is a stylish finesse, old and new, with an original and unique feel.

The house is definitely organized, but one of the secrets of Skilling is that it doesn’t take design very seriously. “Design doesn’t have to be stuffy,” she says. “It’s really fun when people go into a room and don’t even know why they like it so much. It’s a time of good design.”

This was a partnership from the beginning. Skill accompanied the couple’s show when they were looking for a house in Meridian Kessler, where Colby had already lived. Nick was once the president of a neighborhood association, and Skill lives there, she concentrates her work on a venerable area. Fair Oaks has been empty for two years, but all three have found potential in wide Norman vaults, foyer barrel ceilings, stucco walls, terrazzo floors, and finely painted ceilings in the living room. However, there were too many rooms to live a modern life, and when the renovation began, the terrazzo floor became a victim of the process. The basement was too small to pass new machinery, so the only way to install the basement was to tear the floor.

Living room with ornate painted ceiling

She made a delightful discovery when the talented artist (and neighbor) Greta Krueger restored the ornately painted ceiling. The beams are plaster, not wood. The sofa table was born from an old radiator grate. Throughout the house, existing architectural designs were repeated with new designs.

On the plus side, architect Mark Demerly has made the new floor plan repeat the details of the existing architecture. The team, including Rob Bennett, the general contractor of Bree Bennett, has found a plaster craftsman who can repair different styles of applications throughout the house. Then Skilling painted it all white. “Stucco can be very harsh,” she says. “I like the furniture and artwork that is talking in the room.”

Coincidence, Colby’s new neighbor, the wonderful artist Greta Kluger, was the one who saved the magnificent painted ceiling in the living room. She was studying the restoration and gold plating of Italian buildings. Rather than understate the room to give all the glory to the ceiling, Skilling creates a room with an eclectic combination of furniture and artwork that helps her look down and “ground” the space. I met. “That’s not just looking up at the dark ceiling,” she says. She started with Cherri Colby’s blue and white checkered sofa and added a cane wingback chair for another touch in the French country. Modern elements include upholstered benches with metal legs, streamlined sofas and chandeliers, chunky open shelves, shagreen monolithic coffee tables, and pebbles synthetic leather surfaces. Gold wall-mounted candle holders bring elegance, and Schumacher’s blue and white fabrics contain animal motifs, florals and geometric patterns.

The antique blue bureau was placed in an unexpected place in the dining room rather than in the bedroom, which influenced the soft color of the custom cabinets in the adjacent kitchen. Skill likes the reflective elements of the design, so she mirrored some of the cabinet doors. Cherri Colby’s blue and white ceramic collection is on display in plate racks with brass rails. Sophisticated eyes are that the blue and white backsplash tiles reflect the molding of the dining room ceiling, and that both the dining room wall mount and the pendant above the kitchen island are alabasters. You may notice. Skill chose a curved Venetian stucco hood, but she didn’t polish it like a wall and instead chose a modern matte finish.

Bathroom with green subway tiles

Skill always wants to make a private room in the house an oasis of special touches such as sconces on the walls and moldings of paintings. The arched entry here is new, but reflects the Norman arch downstairs.

Upstairs, she went to shoot more dramas in the bathroom and bedroom, and had a little quirks. Originally, there was a pair of doors at the top of the stairs with lead stained glass details, which was a strange composition. Both were restored and one was left next to the stairs. The other was moved to another room.

Vintage Meridian-Kessler homes also tend to use Rookwood tiles, so Skilling tiled the bathroom with the company’s shimmering dark green “Nebula Glaze” from floor to ceiling in the owner’s suite. .. It’s great that Rookwood uses bathroom photos on his website. The new caller’s clawfoot bathtub and marble hardware create a nostalgic atmosphere. The gold starburst chandelier adds a charming atmosphere. “It’s 2021, not 1921,” says Kelly. The room was designed around a pair of antique mirrors she and Skilling found in Louisville on a shopping trip.

Fair Oaks didn’t fall in love at first sight with Colby. After the first walkthrough, they weren’t for sale yet. But what they love is the block on Washington Boulevard, and Skilling and Bennett helped to understand the potential of architectural details, down to the details of both the old radiator cover and Norman Arch ropes. rice field. The radiator worked with the architect long ago. “They don’t build houses like this anymore,” says Kelly. But sometimes, the best people to save one come suddenly.

Screen pouch

The screen porch and its copper roof have been rebuilt, but the floor is original. The owner thought he wouldn’t use it much, but he does.


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