Home design inspiration: Lightening the look of oak millwork in an old home – The Boston Globe

It was the original oak millwork that attracted Cait Louise Gury’s clients to their condo in a 19th-century Colonial Revival in Dorchester. However, they also felt intimidated by it. “They struggled with making the family room feel light and relaxed, yet harmonious with the heavy architecture,” Gury says. The first thing she did was paint the sage-colored walls a bright white—Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace. The new, crisp backdrop immediately made the space feel airy. “The dusky color offered no contrast so the wood disappeared,” Gury says. “Now that it pops, it’s an eye-catching moment.”

1 This blush and charcoal tones of the vintage style rug by Magnolia Home for Loloi suffuses the room with warmth, balancing the cool blue of the sofa. The pattern also helps hide spills.


2 A wide, contemporary chandelier counteracts the historic millwork. The brass frame also contrasts the dark hardware, keeping things from looking matchy-matchy.

3 Gury’s rule for curtains? Go high and wide. “Panels should be at least two times the width of the window for adequate fullness,” she says, “and hung at least six inches above the window frame for impact.”