When decorating her Near West End home, Patti Ryan employed the same philosophy she applies to her decorative painting and interior design business: Use lots of color, and don't be afraid to mix old and new. Ryan became interested in decorative painting when she saw a woman in a magazine who'd painted her kitchen with big leaves and oranges. "I was smitten… I spent a year painting everything in my house — walls, furniture. Whatever didn't move got painted." Ryan loved the way decorative painting could transform a house: "It was magical." She started her business when her interior designer friends, Janie Molster and Deborah Valentine, asked her to paint a client's dining room. She's been painting using elaborate multi-layered techniques for 19 years and recently, at the request of clients, started offering interior-design services.
Ryan moved into her house three years ago. "It's a basic four-square American-constructed house," she says. "It didn't have much of the charm I love in Richmond architecture, so I had to give it charm through painting and furniture." Using bold colors was important when she redecorated: "It exudes energy and happiness."
- Ceilings If you're ever in Ryan's house, don't forget to look up. "Ceilings are a new frontier for adding some flair to your home."
- French Settees Ryan bought these settees at an auction: "They were just covered with muslin, but I covered them in zebra… I think it's fun."
- Frank Hobbs Painting Ryan loves everyday scenes made beautiful. "This is a parking lot with a bridge somewhere in downtown Richmond. ... I love Frank's use of color, that sweeping streak of blue sky." Beneath hangs a landscape by another local artist, Karen Blair.
- Horn Candle Holders "I walked into JP Collection years ago and saw these. I just had to have them."
- Dining Room and China Ryan's dining room was inspired by her favorite Old Avesbury china pattern. She painted her walls a base coat of bone white, then applied two different glazes using a frottage technique with newspaper.
- Italian Pepper Mills Ryan collects ornate pepper mills and displays them as centerpieces or mantel décor.
- Bahamian Watercolors Ryan found several paintings while on vacation in Marsh Harbour in the Bahamas and then painted the frames to coordinate.
- Nesting Tables These Italian, hand-painted wood nesting tables are one of many sets appearing throughout Ryan's home. They double as extra surfaces when Ryan entertains.
- Papier-MÂché Plates Rather than hide her collection of papier-mâché plates, Ryan used them to border her white cabinets and even derived her kitchen color scheme from a favorite gold-and-dusty-blue one. "I think collections make a house more interesting and give it soul."