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Extending the season

The right décor means summer all year round

Dappled impressions from sunlight enliven a room, bringing it to life. The ever-changing effect of light shifts color on walls, furnishings, and flooring, animating everything in its sphere. 

Katrina and Gregg Nicandris’s sun-filled, pastel-toned living room illustrates the impact sunlight can have when designing a room. A soft palette of buttery yellow and pastel blue in this eastern-exposure room delivers sunlight-like warmth.

“I moved to Rochester from Virginia. My husband and I met at medical school there. When we came here to work at the University of Rochester, winters were a real adjustment. Because we’d each lived in Seattle, gray weather was something familiar to us, but we never cared for it. I find the lack of sunlight during a Rochester winter especially hard. I wanted a room that would help me forget overcast skies,” she says. 

Katrina enlisted interior designer Deb Roides to help with the interior design and space planning of the renovation of the couple’s four-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath home in Pittsford. 

“We pulled colors for the room from a photo and an area rug my client already had and built our palette—a blue and yellow color scheme Katrina loved—around it. I chose yellow for the walls to enhance the morning light already streaming in from outdoors. Floor-to-ceiling windows and a window above the fireplace bathe the room in light on a sunny day,” says Roides.

To ground the pastel colors, the couple refinished oak hardwoods in a darker tone. Roides suggested brown accents like a saddle brown ottoman and end table and a dark custom-built dining table, side console, and chairs in the adjoining dining room.

The renovation of the home included opening up the living room to the dining area. “The furnishings, colors, and look of these two spaces needed to flow together. We selected blue for the dining room walls  and then used that blue as an accent color for furnishings and accessories in the living room,” says Roides.

A traditional sofa in a soft-textured neutral and striped upholstered armchairs that pick up other colors in the room provide comfortable seating in front of a slate mosaic-tiled fireplace with marble hearth. 

A pair of throw pillows in a pale yellow geometric print and a pair in gray-blue with organic print pull the color scheme of the room together seamlessly. A plush throw in the same blue accent drapes over the arm of the sofa. A fun, floral-printed lampshade on an end table mimics the cotton print on pillows to add a playful note.

Minimal lighting in the living room includes two rustic glass globe fixtures on tripods, with chain and exposed bulbs, and a five-globe cluster fixture, in the same style, over the dining room table. A hefty hardwood dining table and X-back chairs custom-made by an Amish woodworker are a modern twist on the traditional.
Coffered ceilings and craftsman-style moldings in the living and dining room and wainscoting on walls in the dining room create a finished yet handcrafted look, compliments of the project’s contractor, Adam Frank of A. Frank and Company.

“Because my clients live high atop a hill and back up to green space, they enjoy the luxury of windows minus window treatments, which fits in perfectly with what Katrina originally requested: a light, airy room.” 

Katrina, a pediatric and adolescent OB/GYN, and Gregg, an orthopedic/sports medicine physician, love the transition of their home from a traditional colonial to their craftsman-style remodel.

“I am thrilled with the outcome of Deb’s work. Working with contractors during our renovation was, at times, taxing. But working with Deb, as she sourced items for our home and suggested options, was fun. She’s easygoing, gets a feel for your taste and lifestyle, then puts it all together.” 

Katrina says her two daughters, ages six and eight, know that the living room is “Mommy’s room,” yet they’ve carved out a corner space for their fairy houses and electric piano. “The girls managed to put their touch on the room,” she says.

“We sit together in our new living room. I listen to the girls practice the piano. It’s a favorite spot in our home to spend time together.”  


Donna De Palma is a freelance writer based in Rochester.

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