A palette in rowhouse | Drapery Connection

'Modern and antique furnishings should live together,' new owner says of his imprint

In his bedroom, three narrow front windows are covered with chocolate brown shear draperies over miniblinds. A mahogany sleigh bed with white bed linens sits below three framed black and white photographs depicting foggy landscapes of winter trees.

Wallace Farmer believes that a house should tell the story of who you are, and that it should always be "a surprise when you walk in the front door."

The crisp, pristine look of white walls and 12-foot high ceilings emphasize the spaciousness of the home, which at 22 feet is wider than many rowhouses, not to mention its 70-foot depth. The walls and floor are the decorating foundation - what Farmer calls his palette.

"I think modern and antique furnishings should live together," he said. "But I like order; too much stuff makes our lives complicated."

Farmer says he shops with purpose. He knows as soon as he sees an item whether it will work for him. His entire downstairs reflects that love of uncluttered spaces, punctuated with color and "rock 'em, sock 'em pieces."

From the front entrance and hallway, 11-foot-high double doors open onto a living room that is dramatic in its contrast of white and solid colors.

On the wall opposite, an oval mirror framed in bamboo rests on a dark, faux marble mantel and hearth. Instead of a fireplace, there is a metal grill set into metal that years ago served as a heat duct. Farmer has placed dancing wooden pigs on one side of the carved mantel and a jade vase on the other. A 3-foot abstract metal sculpture of a man rests on the floor in front.

A faux suede, chocolate brown modern sofa with a chrome frame sits in front of two long windows. A wicker-barrel chair and silk-covered occasional, both turquoise, flank the opening to the dining room, where Farmer's fondness for mixing old and new is evident.

There, an art-nouveau carved oak credenza and antique wooden hobby horse contrast with a large basket holding three bamboo reeds that soar nearly to the ceiling and a large, colorful abstract painting on the wall. The table is dark, stained oak with a smoked glass insert. Four matching high-back chairs with rectangular cutouts and beige suede seat cushions finish the suite.

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