Our own Chic Galleria writer, Artie Vanderpool was featured in a fabulous article July 3, 2009 in The Buffalo News. Written by Susan Martin, Home & Style Editor, the article takes you on a wonderful journey into Artie’s 1923 home in Niagara Falls, New York.
It’s not just the Turkish rugs. Or the oversized leather chairs. Or the woodwork, wall sconces or matchstick blinds. It’s how it all comes together to create a comfortable home where conversation among friends may continue until someone notices it’s 2:30 a.m.
Since moving into this home in downtown Niagara Falls in 2006, Artie Vanderpool and Scott Akdogan have been fixing up the inside. And fixing up the outside. And, besides all that, helping launch the successful Orchard Parkway Garden Walk, now in its second year.
“I’ve had all kinds of different houses -Victorian, Federal – and the Craftsman always feels warm and welcoming,” says Akdogan, who sells insurance.
Front porches on neighbors’ homes are one feature they love about the area, since both enjoy socializing.
“We crash porches here,” Akdogan says. “If you come out of your house, I will come talk to you.”
The home is not large — just 1,480 square feet and purchased for about $80,000–but that did not prevent them from using oversized pieces. An ottoman in the living room measures 3 feet by 3 feet. An old 6z -by-4-foot pub sign from Cambridge, England, hangs on a nearby wall.
“You can clutter up a room with small pieces. One larger piece–an armoire, ottoman or sofa — gives that room a new persona. It feels larger,” says Vanderpool, who works for a Buffalo-based developer.
The painted tin pub sign from an Ohio antique store is not the only item with an interesting story. Akdogan, who lived for several years overseas while in the Air Force, collected — among other things — area rugs from Turkey, paintings from Russian street artists and a pier mirror base from Germany they now use as a TV stand in the sunroom.
This is a home where leather living room chairs from a designer showroom mix with an old dining table, chairs, hutch and sideboard purchased from a neighbor for $200. A section from a Victorian garage door — found at an antique store in Ellicottville — leans against a wall. An old wooden luggage cart from Cincinnati Railroad serves as a coffee table in the sunroom.
And a stack of large books doubles as a little side table.
Other pieces came from such diverse places as estate and yard sales, T. J. Maxx, Pottery Barn, designer outlets, eBay and the Brimfield Antiques Show in Brimfield, Mass.
A common thread is that nothing looks new, says Vanderpool, who describes the look as “rustic elegance.”
The “rustic” comes from a ladder and other items from old farms and elsewhere. The “elegance” comes from beautiful rugs, great upholstery and silks, Vanderpool says.
Green, a soothing color
To complement the orange undertones of the gumwood woodwork, soft greens are found throughout — including on some walls. Three different, yet related, shades are used in the sunroom (Behr’s “Restful”); living room (“Promenade”); and dining room (“Grasshopper Wing”).
If they had chosen the same color for all three rooms, “you wouldn’t have had as much interest. You wouldn’t have noticed the difference in light. There is limited light in the sunroom (it’s painted the lightest shade) and the dining room has the most light (so it’s painted the darkest shade),” Vanderpool says.
“I played with the light more than playing with color,” he adds.
The decor changes seasonally. Vanderpool, who at one time worked with his mother, an interior designer in Texas, grew up this way so it’s natural.
Furniture gets moved around. In winter, the chenille grayish-sage sofa from the sunroom gets swapped with the espresso- brown leather chairs in the living room. Even pillows, rugs and draperies are changed.
And visitors notice.
“Coming to dinner here is an event. You don’t just come to eat. You come to look,” said Allison Pasquantino, a neighbor, friend and fellow organizer of Orchard Parkway Garden Walk, which takes place from 9 a. m. to 3 p. m. July 11.
Not that anything here screams “Look at me!”
“I’ve done the black and white and the white tuxedo couch and white wall-to-wall carpeting, but you can’t live in the room . . . You can only serve white wine. Well, I prefer red wine,” jokes Akdogan, who enjoys gourmet cooking.
These days, the biggest compliment is when a friend says, “I feel at home here,” they say.
The lighting also is unique. The dining room chandelier, which dates back to 1930, “is period- appropriate but relaxed. It’s pot metal — a cheap metal not meant to be expensive. It’s fun,” Akdogan says.
A complementary chandelier in the sunroom cost $15. And wall sconces are a favorite source of soft light.
“It’s a flattering light for everyone,” Vanderpool says. As are th
e amber-colored bulbs.
“It feels like candlelight,” he adds.
Now that it’s summer, the place to socialize is a spot in the back of the yard that features a do-it-yourself brick patio, recently finished. Next will come a pergola.
“The house gets a little too hot in the summer,” Vanderpool says.
A thrift store table measures 4 feet wide by 5 feet long and extends, if need be. The chairs cost $5 each at a garage sale.
The furniture goes into the garage in bad weather but on a recent warm night, Vanderpool set it up for dinner with friends.
He began by covering the table with burlap — and going from there.
It can even be formal with Spode china, leather chargers under plates, red cloth napkins, hydrangea centerpiece, etc., for a camera-ready “tablescape.”
Not that anything at the house — inside or out — actually is “done.”
“It still is a work in progress. It will always be a work in progress,” Vanderpool says.
Article and photos courtesy of The Buffalo News.