Millwood Interior Designer Says Color Is Big Key to Her Efforts


(Tuesday, May 15, 2007 2:30 PM EDT

The size and structure of a house or estate is important to its owners, but what really can make it feel like home are the details and personal touches in its decoration.

Millwood interior designer Phyllis Nee's goal is to design homes that reflect her clients' personality. A graduate of an interior design school in the District of Columbia, she is well-known for decorating large-scale homes in Middleburg, Upperville, Winchester and Clarke County, as well as in Boston and Nantucket.

“When I first meet with a client, I want to get their personal tastes established,” Nee said in a recent interview. “I don't want it to look like I ‘decorated' their home.”

Nee, who knew she wanted to be an interior designer at the age of 16, gets deeply involved in the design process with each home she works on.

“With larger-scale homes, you have to look at them as an entire project,” she said. “I submerge myself in it. The biggest challenge in decorating them might be getting sleep!”

For Nee, the first step in decorating an estate, farm property or other large home is to create a consistent style on the exterior. Nee recommends using uniform shades or wooden venetian blinds. This allows for variation in drape colors and styles inside, without creating a disjointed look from the outside.

One of the easiest ways to obtain cohesiveness on the interior of a large home is through color. In one of the homes Nee decorated, she colored one room blue and red, the next blue and yellow, and continued to use blue as the connecting thread of color.

“You need color continuity throughout the house,” Nee said. “You don't want it to be jarring to go from room to room.”

Nee tries to stay on top of the decorating trends and “get out of the box” by attending numerous gift shows around the nation, and by traveling often.

It could get very expensive for homeowners to keep up with all the decorating trends, but for those who want to, a consistent decorative background (wall coverings, the carpet, etc.) would lend itself well to trendy additions, Nee said.

Although she is known for decorating very large-scale residences, Nee applies the same basic decorating principles when she works on smaller-scale homes and individual rooms.

Her advice to all homeowners who want to make the most of their home is to think logically.

“Try to be conscious of how you live in your environment,” she said. “Don't get white sofas if you have four kids. You need an environment you can live in gracefully.”

Local interior designer Phyllis Nee has simple advice for homeowners: observe how you live in your home, and decorate accordingly.

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