How can art transform a room?

My clients bought this home in part because of its wonderful views and close proximity to downtown, but it was also much more traditional than any home they had ever lived in. It’s a beautiful 1920’s Colonial Revival with lots of period detail. But it was almost too formal for my client’s taste.

How to temper that formality? Add some contemporary art to the mix.


The room is furnished with various shades of taupe, beige and black, with simple upholstered pieces. What I think brings the room to life is the large abstract oil by Seattle artist Barbara Sternberger that hangs above a camel back sofa, that I saw on opening night of her show and put a hold on until the client could see it.  It energizes the room, as does the abstract painting over the fireplace by Carol Grigg, a painting that was already in their collection. And the icing on the cake? The sinuous glass vessel on the corner game table is by the artist, _________ (name coming).

Yian Q