Wilmington-based designer Megan Gorelick is often called upon to create the interiors of sprawling coastal homes. That’s why she is uniquely positioned to understand the ways in which homeowners seek to differentiate rooms of varied sizes and functions. That typically starts with the wall coverings.
What is the biggest trend you’re seeing?
The trend in wallpaper is that we’re seeing it much more frequently than we did in the past. I used to get excited when, for a house project, we would get to do two powder rooms in wallpaper. Now, we’re doing somewhere between 15 and 20 rooms in a house in wall coverings.
What accounts for this newfound popularity?
The companies that produce wall coverings—particularly Phillip Jeffries— have grown leaps and bounds. The textures are amazing, especially with vinyl. I specialize in second homes, and many of them have lots of visitors, and that means the bedrooms and bathrooms are heavily used. It’s not unusual for me to do a house with eight to 10 bathrooms.
So, there’s a durability aspect?
Vinyl is the most durable—that’s why it’s in contract jobs and hotels. And it becomes a sanitary issue when you have so many people using the bathrooms—people use their beach houses like hotels. It’s so easy to wipe down the vinyl walls between guests. And vinyl is inexpensive—a better value than if we did millwork. I’m obsessed with it.
And here I thought grass cloth was the big trend.
Grass cloth had its heyday in the ’60s and ’70s—and then everyone did bare walls— and it’s having its heyday again, and I really don’t see it going out.
Peacock blue: Lacquer walls and built-ins in a family room or study.
Citrus green: Brighten up a dining room or living area with this unexpected hue.
Pale sky blue: Use it to create a bedroom space that’s calm and serene.
“I’ve always liked to work with my hands,” says Hockessin carpenter Dick Sturke. “When I was [little], I’d make model airplanes with my brother.” The former chemical engineer has come full circle, once again working with his hands in the tool shop. His projects began with charity and then a barter: He crafted a cedar chest for a church raffle. Then he built an entertainment center for a neighbor and traded it for an original painting. Two of his specialties are ideal for older homes.
What gave you the idea to build radiator covers?
My daughter has an older home, and I made [several] for her and they came out kind of nice. And then her neighbor from across the street saw them. She’s restoring a house and asked if could make a couple radiator covers for her.
What type of material do you use?
I use poplar wood. It has a nice, even grain, it cuts well, and it can be painted or stained. But if you wanted cherry or oak, that’s easy enough to do. And there’s always a metal screen in the front and a screen on the side, which allow the heat to filter through.
You also do bookshelves and cabinets. What sort of style do you work in?
That depends on where it’s going to be placed and what the house looks like. Typically, the cabinets have raised panel doors and some kind of crown molding across the top edge. I don’t have a particular style—I just make things that people want.