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Better with Age
By Tammy Minn - Inland Empire Magazine, January 2004

Family RoomWith the help of a local interior designer, Dave and Ann Doty of San Bernardino have updated their home from children's parties and teen sleepovers to a home that is well-suited for entertaining.

On a quiet tree-lined street across from a San Bernardino country club, the home that Dave and Ann Doty have owned for 23 years is proof that houses, like good wine, get better with age.

The Georgian-style two-story built by architect Jerome Armstrong in the 1930s has seen its share of birthday parties and teen sleepovers. But with the Doty children grown, it was time for a new look.

Ruth Ann Chafin, owner of Interior Network in Lorna Linda, helped the couple turn their family home into a comfortable place for two and a perfect place for entertaining. Starting with a master plan that would go in phases, Chafin first headed for the kitchen where cobalt blue countertop tile dominated the room. Dave and Ann didn't want to completely change the kitchen, but they needed more light and a new look. Chafin had the ceilings raised and added task lighting. A small window that looks into the backyard was replaced with a bay that opens up the view and brings natural light into the kitchen.

To balance the intensity of the cobalt tile, Chafin drew from the couple's hobby - wine and wine-tasting - to guide the theme for the wallpaper. She chose a large print with a grapevine and fruit pattern in green, blue, red and flaxen for the kitchen walls, while complimenting it with companion paper in the breakfast nook.

"The idea was to use the colors in the wallpaper to blend into the rest of the house. We started with the blue in the kitchen, then took that into the Tuscan colors - yellows and reds - and blended those with the global feel of some of the collections the Dotys have. The result is warmth, not intense color," Chafin says.

Walking through the home, Chafin's concept of transitioning from the blues of the kitchen to the golds and reds in the dining room and living room is subtle, but effective. It allows each room to retain its identity, while blending into the total scheme.

In the dining room, the table is placed diagonally and is set with colorful dinnerware that could be changed with the season. Flaxen walls flow into the entryway and living room.

In the living room, a wine-colored wall that the fireplace is on adds richness and depth to the room. Carved antiques blend easily with a painted contemporary Asian table.

"With the wood floors and the antiques already the focal points, we really couldn't do any more wood in this room," . Chafin says. Therefore, the painted table was the perfect touch for the seating group in front of the fireplace. An heirloom sofa in a soft sage with gold accents also fits the scene. A swag of red, green and gold hangs year round, unifying the colors in the room. Chafin says the key to combining antiques with new pieces or ones that may be of a different style is a balance of color and texture.

To transition to lighter colors upstairs, Chafin used the same wallpaper in the stairwell that's in the living room, but in a slightly paler shade. Upstairs, the theme takes on a "Tommy Bahama" look, Charm says, a little more casual, but still using the flaxen, greens and golds.

Throughout the home, Chafin has used light window coverings that afford privacy, but allow the views to be enjoyed.

Outdoors, a patio in the front of the house is shaded by a fine old tree that was nearly lost in the renovation. Uprooted by strong winds, Chafin says several experts offered differing opinions. Some said the tree should go and others thought it could be salvaged,

Chafin aligned herself with the latter group and had a crane upright it. It was replanted and secured by cables while the deck was being built around it and the irrigation system put in place.

"The tree makes the front of the house and it had been there so long,"she says. "It would have been a shame to let it die." Luckily, her instincts were correct and the tree thrived. It casts shade on the deck that now includes lush plantings and a fountain for peaceful respites from the hectic pace of the world.

The Dotys have traded kid parties and sleepovers for a home well-suited to entertaining. Hospitality is often a goal of people looking for a change in their homes, especially after they've raised families and are ready to rearrange the space, Chafin says.

"People often come to us looking for help because they've abandoned, at least for a period of time, entertaining in their home. We help them get that back."


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