But when O at Home put the Glassmans in touch with Bridgeport, Connecticut–based stylist Corey Grant Tippin, things changed—fast. Charged with transforming the rooms into warm, inviting spaces, Tippin says he appreciated the bare bones on which he had to build: "I was digging the moldings and the French furniture, which blend well with modern accessories."
The Glassmans' dining room had been furnished with a dining-room set by Mona Liza Furniture and double scallop sconces by Circa Lighting, but it felt unfinished, he says.
Along with the Smith+Noble window shades and New York Carpet sisal rug, Tippin added an assortment of accessories—including a linen table runner from Pottery Barn, a resin clamshell from Oly and cast-iron urns from Lillian August to bring the room to life.
"It was a breath of fresh of air," Kristin says. She admits that, on her own, she would have chosen heavy silk drapes that would have looked more conventional than the window shades Tippin selected but wouldn't have added as much life to the room.
The fun of playing with dimension—for instance, topping their intimidatingly long dining table with an oversize centerpiece that makes the room feel intimate, "less like a banquet hall," Brad says—is just one of many lessons Tippin taught them.
The space was further punctuated by the dark, linear shapes of a few new pieces of furniture trimmed in burnished metal, inexpensive Ikea pottery, and one big, black-shaded Jonathan Adler lamp that, Tippin says, took away the piano's power "to overwhelm the room."
Tippin wanted "simple shapes, trays, and containers" for the coffee table, so he chose vases from Ikea, a Williams-Sonoma Home Lucite box (which he filled with coral), and a zebra-print tray from Decorative Things.
Abstract paintings Tippin hung below the sconces in both rooms underlined the moldings' graphic strength. "The great thing about abstract art is that you can impose your own thoughts on it," he says. "It brings intelligence and sophistication to a room." The abstract paintings are from Appleton Webster Home at Hiden Galleries.
The Stella shelves by Oly, on which Tippin placed art books and a ceramic hippo by Jonathan Adler, take advantage of and draw attention to the vertical space in the living room.
Tippin used pieces of both real and fake white coral to bring nature into the Glassmans' house. Here the coral is displayed in a serving bowl from Willliams-Sonoma Home and flanked by clear-glass candlesticks from Anthropologie.
The best part of working with a stylist who intuitively got her and her family, Kristin says, was shedding her textbook ideas of how a house should look. Now that the living room is no longer cordoned off in their minds as a place only for company, Kristin and her girls visit the suddenly cozy and groovy space to read and hear birds sing. She jokes that sometimes—like when she was standing in a store and considering a Buddha statue that she wouldn't have noticed before—she wonders, What would Corey do?
But Tippin's greatest gift has been teaching her to trust her instincts. "What I want in the rest of the house is more youth, more vibrancy," she says. "I want our house to reflect our personalities. We are fun people, we do silly things here. I shouldn't feel I have to meet this criteria of what is ‘perfect.' I feel more confident now, more free-spirited. It's a revelation."
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