Anyone who lives in an old house knows the struggle: You finally settle on your perfect vision for the layout of a room, complete with furniture plan and art—only to realize you haven't taken into account a radiator or pipe right in the middle of where you planned to put your sofa, dresser, or gallery wall.
Such was the case for Catherine Gerry in this year's Kingston Design Showhouse, where she was tasked with outfitting a sitting room on the ground floor. The home dates from 1890, so it's full of the quirks of any historic home—including necessary pipes to carry heat up to the upper floors. In Gerry's room, one such pipe ran right up the center of a wall where she'd envisioned a gallery wall.
"I knew I couldn't take it out," she tells House Beautiful. But, she was determined not to give up precious wall space—especially since her room's decor centered around art (mostly from local female artists). So, she decided to go on top of it.
"We built this right over it to give us a flat wall," Gerry explains of the partial cover she devised and had a carpenter construct, jutting the wall out two inches and including a trio of inset shelves for vases or other decorative objects. Then, she painted the wall, pipe, and cover in Benjamin Moore's Quince, further blending the pipe into the background before hanging art on top of it. Et voilà! Proof there's no problem a good designer can't solve.
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