Upgrade by Downsizing
When it comes to designing a midcentury-inspired space, the adage of “less is more” certainly holds true.
A midcentury-inspired sitting room showcases that “less is more.”
“It was basically a simple cube, a boring room,” says Joel Snayd, principal designer of Rethink Design Studio, which he co-owns with his wife and head of business operations Erika Snayd.
Wanting to transform their sitting room into an entertainment space, these homeowners were faced with a problem.
Joel needed to liven the traditional room in the Whitemarsh Island, Georgia home of Brian and Canada Coleman, which was originally built in the 1970s. But instead of adding more, Joel subtracted. “Midcentury is less is more,” he says.
Joel undressed the room, ripping off the windows’ heavy plantation shutters and stripping the room’s color to paint a monochromatic white over the walls. This all played to Brian and Canada’s personal preferences, both of whom Joel needed to nudge until they caved into adding the red dresser off to the side.
The room’s deconstructing process was also Joel’s way of keeping the sitting room strictly midcentury. No other eras were allowed to seep in, as per Brian and Canada’s request. “Everything came from the midcentury period. They really wanted to keep the flow of the space,” he says.
The shedding process was symbolic of Brian and Canada’s phase in life. With a child moving into the home and Brian advancing in his career as a doctor, the clients desired a more adult space. “[They wanted] to create a true home for themselves and representative of who they are,” Joel says.
The muted walls highlight Brian and Canada’s personalities by allowing features like their paintings and wood screen pop even more. But it is not the artwork that draws the most eyes. Brian and Canada are connoisseurs of words, and they wanted to showcase their collection of books and magazines. Their strategy: Throw in a wildcard. Brian and Canada’s wildcard defies expectations, just like it does physics. The floating shelves, which were the couple’s main request, were not only designed for strong visual impact but to create the vibe of an actual library.
Adding the floating shelves for books and removing the window shutters to open the backyard view were just a few ways Joel tinkered with the room to enhance its personality without having to break out a jackhammer. “[It was] really just bringing in the cosmetics,” Joel says, as he described how the project was not a full remodel.
It was a simple process for a simple outcome—with a touch of dynamic décor to poke through the uniformity.
OPPPOSITE: JOEL’S MANTRA IS TO KEEP EVERYTHING TRUE—AND “BIGGER BOX STORES” DO NOT CUT IT. BRIAN AND CANADA WANTED TO WORK WITH ORIGINAL DANISH PIECES, AND JOEL TURNED TO AN ONLINE SOURCE FOR ORIGINALITY: ETSY. JOEL PULLED THE TWO WOODEN CHAIR FRAMES FACING THE TWO-SEATER FROM A DANISH DESIGNER’S SHOP ON THE WEBSITE.