A long, narrow living room

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Before: A long, narrow living room with a tasteful start needs to be warmed up and finished.

The problem: "I have very traditional taste: I like 18th-century pieces and neoclassic pieces, and I don't like anything modern," says Desiree Rocco, a Connecticut restaurateur who has just decorated a large French Normandy brick house for her young family. "My husband and I had a deal—he'd do the outside and I'd do the inside, which I did. I just needed to fine-tune and finish it."

Desiree had started to fill the long, narrow living room with English furniture. She had the rug, two couches, a couple of tables and beautiful window treatments. And there she stopped. "I didn't know how to make it warm and inviting," she says.