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House Talk

No. 25 - June, 2007

"A Humble Garage Becomes an Elegant Dining Pavilion"
A talk with Sally Swing

During their many years in the practice of real estate, Judith Glass and Sheila Sabine have met numerous talented homeowners who have come up with clever design solutions in their own homes. This article is about Sally Swing, who took her ordinary garage and transformed it into a fanciful dining room.

Sally purchased her pink bungalow in the Berkeley flats in 1989. Recently divorced and feeling her independence, she was very excited to be able to make her own choices in her new home. The first choice she made was to paint the exterior of her home even pinker that the existing pink siding. She began to create her own world by converting her front bedroom into an elegant library with “ballroom-gown” green walls, gold ceiling, lace curtains and Victorian furniture. The rest of the bungalow is consistently dressed with Sally’s natural good taste - striking paintings, floral drapes, love seats and engaging collectibles.

Now, on to the garage. It had been constructed at the turn of the century, originally used as a stable and then as a workshop. Two of its best original features included the two sides of glass windows and the connection to a private courtyard garden. A stone path now connects the main house to the garage and is accented with ferns, hydrangeas and assorted shrubs. Sally did not have to do a renovation on the existing structure. She added a skylight and installed an inexpensive plywood floor which she painted robin’s egg blue. The real coup was painting the interior bright white, which made an enormous difference. Sally, being a bon vivant and connoisseur of history and art began to have fun revealing her true artistic personality. Breaking traditional rules, she daringly painted her mother’s antique maple table white and clothed it in an elegant damask tablecloth. Sally was also fascinated with blue and white chinoiserie and was especially fond of photos of an 18th century Pavilion at Drottnignholm Palace filled with chinoiserie. She began to adorn the room with blue and white china, fine crystal, good silverware, bronze candlesticks, gold mirrors and hand carved Burmese shrine objects. This would be her own Chinese pavilion. Friends and family loved participating in the decorating phase by keeping an eye out for real treasures at flea markets and thrift stores. Sally had worked at Ralph Lauren in San Francisco and observed the way he mixed so many unexpected elements. If he could do it, she could do it!

This fanciful dining room is a surprise – ready for a party before you arrive! Sally and her dining room have graciously hosted many wonderful events both small and large - holidays, birthdays, small brunches and a reception for ninety people with champagne and French cakes. Sally strives to ensure that her guests feel warm and comfortable in her fantastic pavilion.

The story of Sally’s dining room with photographs was recently published in the January 2007 issue of House Beautiful.

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please contact Glass/Sabine by email:  Sheila@GlassSabine.com
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