Can a home be both pristine and conducive to letting kids be kids? Designer Caroline Brackett proves the nearly impossible to be possible in the Myers Park home she designed for a family of four.
The homeowners, both in the healthcare field, have two children and a dog. And they love to entertain. They hired Brackett to give their newly constructed, 4,500-square-foot home a “young, fresh, and comfortable” feel. “The homeowners have quite a flair and are very stylish, and I wanted their home to reflect that,” Brackett says. “They wanted it to be current and beautiful, livable, and family-friendly.”
Brackett chose durable fabrics for the family areas, like indoor/outdoor fabric in the kitchen, where messes are likely to happen. The ottoman in the den is easily wiped clean. “This was a new home, but they weren’t part of the building process,” Brackett explains. “The house has a great foundation of finishes and materials, so it was easy to build on those.”
Brackett’s practical strategy: Decorate the main rooms at one time and complete those spaces down to the accessories before moving on to other parts of the home. It’s true that the entire house has a “wow” factor, but certain rooms really pack a visual punch. “I especially love the den with the U-shaped sectional. It is truly somewhere you want to curl up and relax,” Brackett says. “The dark, saturated color on the walls and trim adds to that coziness.”
Indeed, it feels cocoon-like. The sectional is a dark, textured linen, and the metallic, vinyl cocktail ottoman is large enough for anyone to rest their feet on from any place on the sectional. The room’s palette is so dramatic that little else is needed. The only artwork in the room is a wall-sized map of Paris from the 1960 World’s Fair (the wife’s grandmother was French) and a pair of the son’s prized antlers. The son has made the room his own. His “lair” is where he spends much of his free time reading or watching TV.
But dark isn’t the palette for the entire house. Clean, light, and airy are a few ways you could describe the home. Creams, pale taupes, and cool whites are the perfect backdrop for occasional pops of color like the persimmon dining room chair fabric.
Not everything in the new house is new either. The homeowners recovered their existing bed in a peacock-colored velvet. “It really stands out against the white shiplap walls,” Brackett says. “It’s an interesting palette of pale lavender, grey, cream, and aqua. And it is a serene, soft respite.”
“The homeowners inherited several pieces from the wife’s grandmother, who seems to be the most chic, eclectic woman,” Brackett says. “Everything she had passed down to them we tried to use. The coral base on the dining table was hers, as was the pink glass geisha stationed at the end of a hallway on an acrylic stand.” An impressive collection of Lalique crystal was also passed down from the grandmother, who was a decorator in the Washington, D.C. area.
Two reproduction Barcelona chairs are in the living room. Paintings from the grandmother’s art collection hang in the dining room and master bedroom, and the dining chairs are also hers. “My grandmother used to tell me that if something is beautiful and worth having, it will find a place in your home,” the homeowner says. “I believe her.”
“The home is a wonderful reflection of the family’s lifestyle, heritage, and personalities,” Brackett says. And most importantly, the homeowners agree. “Decorating can be expensive, and Caroline was able to quickly identify and prioritize where to use my budget,” the wife says. “As a working mother, I wanted to avoid anything overly fussy or requiring special care. It was remarkable to me how easily she was able to judge my tastes and needs.”
The home proves that refined doesn’t have to mean stuffy. And comfortable doesn’t have to mean entirely casual.