When Steph and Jim Pettit first moved into their home on Third Avenue, Troy, in 1997, Steph decorated the living and dining rooms in a way she felt was appropriate for its Victorian history and stature: gold ceilings, floral wallpaper and Victorian furnishings. The space is massive, with 10-foot ceilings, and original features: substantial crown moulding, black-and-gold marble mantels and elaborately-framed pier mirrors at opposite ends of the living room and dining room.

By 2014, Steph was tired of it. It was too stodgy, too old, too far from Steph's personal style. So, she changed it up. This year, she entered her spaces in the Times Union Home Design Contest, sponsored by Mooradian's Furniture. The Pettit's living room was the grand prize winner. Steph Pettit won $1,000 toward furniture at Mooradian's and each of the five category winners won $200 to use in the stores.

"I wanted a coastal look without it being ridiculous because we're three hours from the closest beach," Steph said Tuesday. "But it's where I'm happiest."

She achieved the look by incorporating beachy colors — a linen fabric on the furniture in sandy color, with weathered wood and baseball stitching; a purplish gray paint on the walls and an area rug comprised of blues, grays, creams and dark yellow in a subtle seascape design. The beachiest vibe is in the accessories, a faux coral bowl and a glass case of seashells. The focal point of the room is still the pier mirror between two front mirrors, framed in elaborate curly cues made with plaster. A simple glass chandelier, side tables, potted plants and framed artwork complete the room, along with the family photos on display. The flooring is wide plank pine, refinished by the Pettits but original to the house.

Originally a farmhouse built in the 1780s, it was expanded in 1829 when the Van Schoonhoven family bought the property. For a look at what the Pettits' house looked like before the makeover, read this 2012 Life@Home story. There were 63 entries in the second annual design contest. The judges — Joanna Saltz, the editorial director of Delish and House Beautiful magazines; Fred Hershey, local interior designer and founder of Burlingame Interiors; and Lynn Dunning-Vaughn, also a local interior designer — narrowed the entries to semifinalists in five categories: kitchen, dining room, living room, bathroom and what we called "flex space," which included bedrooms, man caves, foyers and outdoor spaces. Times Union Facebook page readers picked their favorites in each category and the judges then chose a grand prize winner from among the category winners, who were a mixed of professional designers and homeowners with an eye for design.

Dunning-Vaughn said of Steph's living room: "It honored the historic interior architecture in the symmetry of the furniture placement and the choice of furnishings was inviting for people of different ages: the upholstered sofa for lounge comfort, the straight back open arm chairs for easy sitting and standing—and the Victorian gilded pier mirror lends a bit of architecturally appropriate glamour."

Saltz admired Steph's willingness to play with scale.

"Great pieces; great mood. Feels surprising...the mirror adds so much drama, and the lighting is so understated."

lhornbeck@timesunion.com518-454-5352@leighhornbeck