Charleston designer Olivia Brock joins the show to talk about her firm Torrance Mitchell Design and her background in historic preservation. We cover it all — how she fell into interior design, tips on mixing the old and the new, and her go-to paint colors.
What You’ll Hear on This Episode:
- Olivia never planned on being a designer, but rather a real estate developer that focused on adaptive reuse of historical buildings
- How Olivia started as a paint color consultant
- The differences between normal housing and the sensitive nature of working with a historical home
- Olivia’s house in Southern Living which she and her husband totally restored
- Our partnership with Olivia on the Traditional Home Southern Style Now Showhouse, and the inspiration behind the guest room
- How to make old things look fresh and pairing antiques with a modern pieces
- Why she sees historical buildings as people that want to tell you their story, and it is up to us to listen
- We talk paint — testing swatches, favorite whites, and more
- Brown furniture is making a comeback, baby!
- Why patience, a great eye for antiques, and love for a home is truly necessary when embarking on a project
- How curtains can really do a lot for a room, and what types Olivia recommends
My husband and I bought our house a couple years ago, and the formal living room has been on the decorating back burner for far too long. It’s now got my full attention – but where to start?! It’s the room that guests first see, so I’d like it to reflect our style (traditional / Southern but living in the Midwest).
As you walk through the front door, there is a direct walkway to a hallway leading to the rest of the house. Thoughts on an attractive interior door mat- is there such a thing? Would a runner be better suited here, and if so, should it match the area rug? The sofa, chairs, and end table belonged to my grandmother, and I’d like to keep them. Any suggestions on fabrics to recover them, so they look like they belong in a 30-something’s house? I love a good mix of new and old. I’m also on the hunt for a large rug, coffee table, and matching lamps for the console. An artwork refresh wouldn’t hurt, either. I’m open to any other ideas you ladies have. The cute dog stays 🙂
Thanks for all your help and the hours of entertainment and inspiration you provide!
Olivia’s suggests skipping the interior doormat, as it gets confusing when there is both a doormat and a rug. Since the sofa is so heavy, we may want to put it in front of the single window with the two striped chairs, so you look directly at it when you walk in. You can reupholster it with something more modern, possibly something geometric. We want to also add two little skirted club chairs, some drapery to add softness and architectural interest, and pull the furniture in to move everything off the wall. We love the painting with the blue, and maybe that could be the color palette you run with – light blue and gray with an accent of green.
- Farrow & Ball
- Torrance Mitchell Design
- @oliviatmbrock (check out her cute dog on the site!)
- Southern Living
- Fairfax and Sammons
- Olivia Brock Portfolio
- Ballard Designs Bed
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