Trading Spaces

By Amy Mangan

When Leslie Scales wanted to entertain in her Lake Weir home, guests always overflowed from the tiny dining room area. Leslie and her late husband, Steamboat, knew just what do to — they called Michael Koontz, a designer for and owner of Koontz Furniture Company. After a quick assessment of the space in question, Koontz came up with both a logical and elegant solution.

“I suggested we switch uses between the dining room and the adjoining living room,” says Koontz. “Consequently, the dining room became a very spacious area that works so much better.”

The Scales weren’t immediately convinced.

“At first, we were uncertain about making this change, but Michael pointed out how my new reading room could become a nice retreat for me,” adds Leslie.

Jerry Stevens developed the design which included building a ceiling partition to better define the two areas. Koontz added decorative blue silk curtains on either side of the partition to add to the elegant intimacy.

Leslie’s favorite colors of blue and white are seen throughout both rooms. Toile fabric, porcelain containers, and pillows all echo the cool-color theme. Koontz allayed Leslie’s fears if she should use her collection of blue-and-white pottery ware.

“A major rule of mine is to go with something you absolutely love,” adds Koontz. “It will work.”

The former dining room has become Leslie’s cherished spot for her extensive book collection.

“I really wanted a place for my books, “says Leslie, a collector of antique children’s titles, many of which were passed down from her mother and grandmother.

One prized possession even sits on its own pedestal atop the pecky cypress bookshelves. Entitled Editha’s Burglar, this worn, eggshell-blue-covered book comforted Leslie as a little girl when she was afraid of the dark.

Furniture got invited to join the big swap as well. A former breakfast table became the dining room’s focal point as the dramatic damask-clothed table. The dining room table found a new home in the breakfast room. An existing sofa was re-upholstered in off-white damask as well, giving a comfy spot to curl up with — what else? — a good book in the reading room.

“Much of the furniture in the reading room belonged to my grandmother,” notes Leslie who points out the watercolor portrait of her as a child, painted by her mother.

“I’ve always believed antiques are meant to be used by their families,” she says.

The dining room chairs that in a previous life found themselves in the Scales’ breakfast room, perfectly match the round dining room table. The chairs were distressed and painted with delicate blue scrolls by local artist Jan Williams.

“Michael and I talked for over a year about what we wanted to accomplish in the renovation of our home,” says Leslie, “The dining room and reading room switch were part of the plan to design our home to meet the needs of our growing family. I love every inch of it.”

Posted in Ocala Style Features

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