Tom Sprick does windows. That is, as the president of S Design Group, he will design them for a wall that doesn’t have them, but should. He’s also got a knack for dressing them. And he’s so good at it, even clients like Lisa—an incorrigible curtainhater—will allow him to hang them in her house.
“The first time I came to see Lisa,” Sprick says, “I walked in here, and the first thing she told me was, ‘I don’t like curtains. I don’t want them on any window in the house. I like bare windows.’ Then she asked me what the house was missing. I said, ‘curtains,’” he laughs. “Well, fabric,” he corrects himself. “She was missing fabric. That’s one of my things: I’m a real stickler for good fabric.”
He’s also a stickler for good architecture, and the house, though only a few years old, needed some revisions. “We replaced all the doors,” Sprick says, “and went from standard sixpaneled West County doors to singles. We removed paneling, replaced all the moldings and added two windows on either side of the fireplace in the living room—it just begged to have a garden view.” He also transformed a ground-floor bedroom into a library and French powder room, added a hearth room and redesigned the floor plan for the master bedroom suite.
In the hearth room, Sprick used green-brown walls as the backdrop for a pair of oversized aqua bookcases Lisa fell in love with and bought on the spot. After her collection of antique pottery and crockery was arranged on the shelves, the earthy reds, browns and grays further softened the effect of the bright blue. “The aqua actually pulls out the browns in the pottery,” Sprick says, “and makes this room look cozy.” The centerpiece of the hearth room is the fireplace, with its custom mantel inspired by the Victorian French art of covering mirror frames and furniture with seashells. These shells were collected by Lisa and her children during trips to Florida; their placement warms up the hearth room with memories and shows off a hard-to-display collection.
Though Sprick’s been working with Lisa for almost 10 years, he says they still have a lot of work to do on the second floor. However, they’re nearly finished downstairs, where the renovation culminated in the overhaul of the master bedroom and bath. The bedroom’s finishing touch will be a pair of 8-foot-high apothecary cabinets with glass doors, redone in a blue and yellow distressed finish.
The floor, which combines marble tiles and hardwood,is nothing short of magnificent. “Combining elements is a great way to create an interesting floor,” Sprick says. “But each material requires its own sub-flooring. You create one in the exact pattern of the hardwood, then drop in the marble. It takes a really good contractor, someone who knows what they’re doing.” And though logic would suggest that hardwood in a wet bathroom would be a nightmare,let alone hardwood and marble, Sprick says that with the right sealed finish, a floor like this requires no more than regular mopping. Keeping with that philosophy, Sprick maximized the room’s functionality and ease of use wherever possible. “There’s a lot of built-in storage,” he says, “including a stack of built-in shelves next to the shower for towels. It keeps them out of sight, but it’s practical. This room has a real elegance to it—but it’s also easy to live in.” With kids, a husband and dog, that’s a necessity. As is taking a break from remodeling for the sake of Lisa’s husband, who has been (according to his wife and his wife’s decorator) exceedingly kind and patient.
“If it were up to Lisa and me, we’d be like ‘waaahhhh!’”Sprick says, pantomiming unbridled enthusiasm. “But we have to take a break. With the hearth room, the patio and the bedroom-bathroom, we kind of did him in. For about six years, we had something going on at some level, in some part of the house.” Silence. Then the two exchange knowing glances. “But,” Lisa says, smiling, “we always have something simmering.