Photography by Emily Minton Redfield
Whether you're aware or not, you’re affected by surroundings. Surroundings affect emotions. If we’re in a dark and dingy room, we feel dark and dingy,” says Andrea Monath Schumacher of Andrea Schumacher Interiors, Inc.
“Your mental state is everything because mental affects physical,” she says. “You only live once so you might as well make it beautiful.” The design director of Andrea Schumacher Interiors, Troy Rivington, agrees: “It doesn’t matter the size of the home you live in, it’s about how you feel when you’re in it.”
Schumacher’s impressive design pedigree includes training at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. She’s taking classes to earn a master’s in architecture degree from the University of Colorado. Schumacher also works in Santa Barbara County and has done set design for the television show “Days of Our Lives” and also for Columbia Pictures.
Schumacher carefully considered her career.
“Design is highly important, and when I was picking my career in interior design, I wanted to be clear that I’m not just surface,” she says. “When I thought about it, I knew my design would impact lives — sometimes clients don’t know how deeply.”
Yet one particular project’s clients quickly felt the impact of ASI’s design and subsequently commissioned the firm to transform their Littleton home entirely. Originally, the couple hired ASI to remodel their kitchen with a budget of $150,000.
Delighted with the kitchen design, the homeowners turned over the rest of the large house to the firm, along with a budget of more than $1 million.
“The project blew up because the whole house needed help,” Schumacher said. “They liked our style and gave us carte blanche. The family was moving from New Jersey, so they weren’t living in the house at the time, and that helped because we took it down to the studs.”
The ASI team took on a total transformation of the home that “before” photos show was drab and outdated, nondescript. Now, thanks to ASI, it’s the complete opposite: airy, fashionable and filled with beauty and charm. “It was ugly, a very large stucco house, very predictable with no personality,” Schumacher says. “The layout was decent, so we didn’t have to move walls, it was all more decorative. But all the walls had a horrible drywall texture that we smoothed out so it catches light. We picked special areas for wallpaper. We redid all the fireplaces, every bathroom. We added new cabinetry and lighting. We touched every surface in the home, even the door hardware.”
Rivington says, “It was a very typical 80’s home and didn’t suit them as a family whatsoever. But there are always ways to make something work is what we tell clients. Our job is to create a home that you don’t want
to leave, a place that is a reflection of clients and their personalities and makes them truly feel at home.”
The designers selected a color palette emphasizing blues and yellows with pops of warm reds and shiny brass pieces. Fabrics for upholstery and window treatments playfully mix small and large patterns including polka dots and tropical prints.
“The architecture had nothing interesting going on — just big boring walls and big boring windows — so we used a lot of pattern play to make the house more exciting,” says Schumacher, who noted that although the home’s exterior remains nondescript, the interior sings.
In part, it’s the avian theme: “We used a lot of birds, and the whole effect is airy and natural. The clients had traveled to Bali, and we used their carved wood piece in the entry and went with an Asian theme,” says Schumacher. “We kept things as light as possible.” In the dining room, a 1970s Murano glass Sputnik pendant lamp adds an unexpected element of design.
“It was a piece I fell in love with that I found on First Dibs, which has thousands of antique galleries around the world,” Schumacher says. “I like found objects whether from a flea market or travels or a vintage shop or online.”
Overall, Schumacher defines her designs as playful, youthful and fresh.
“It has to have a little sense of humor — maybe a funny table with duck feet. I don’t take it too seriously,” she says. “Nobody calls me to do a stuffy living room with golds and damask. If you want that, I’m not your person.”
Rivington says the spectacular home interior owes to an ideal match between designers and clients. “This is a perfect example of what happens with open-minded and adventurous clients: Our creativity can flow even more for a really great result,” he says. “It takes a lot of trust, but so many times the things clients might question wind up being their favorite elements.”
As people recover from this spring’s stay-at-home order, many will re-evaluate the comfort of their own home and how their spaces served them during lockdown. Forced to stay at home, many people want to improve their home’s form and function.
“People now working from home are realizing they want a room to function in a certain way. That will be important as we move forward after the pandemic lockdown,” Rivington says. “It’s also about relaxing at home, however you choose: if you watch TV or read a book, if you like silence or excitement. As my mother-in-law always says, ‘Everybody is different,’ and that’s why we can’t approach design the same way.”
Andrea Schumacher Interiors, Inc.
Colleen Smith is a regular contributor to Colorado Expression.
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