Pairing Down with Panache

Designers from Barbour Spangle Design were called on to help one couple downsize with style.

AS AN INTERIOR DESIGNER, THERE ARE FEW GREATER compliments than to be called on by an industry professional to help design their personal home. So when one such professional requested Christi Barbour and Christi Spangle of Barbour Spangle Design to help them renovate and design their new home, the excitement was palpable. Coming from an expansive historic home with incredible architecture, Barbour’s clients were empty nesters looking to downsize, but without losing the character and beauty to which they were accustomed. “We had an opportunity to sell our home, and having already discussed downsizing, we jumped at the chance without knowing where we were going to move,” the homeowner explains. “There was a townhome in our neighborhood that was not on the market, but the owner was ready to sell, so we went for it.” Though the home was twenty-five years old with little to no updating, the couple felt it could be a perfect fit, and having built and renovated other homes, they were confident they could create something special. Enter A Barbour Spangle Design.

“Our goal was to create a home that didn’t feel brand new, yet provided them with all the niceties available on the market today,” Barbour says. “The kitchen and bathrooms were completely renovated. We added a butler’s pantry as well as additional windows to bring in more natural light, which is so important in the homes we design.”

Having shared office spaces close to each other at one point and crossing paths here and there, the clients were familiar with Barbour Spangle’s design and professionalism and knew they would be a good fit to create the space and color palette they were looking for. “After living in a traditional home with traditional furniture, we were looking to make a transition in style, along with our transition in life,” the homeowner says. “We also wanted to make sure that every space had a purpose and would be used alongside our personal collection of furniture and artwork.” Barbour adds that since her clients were creative (he, a furniture designer) and familiar with higher-end finishes, the overall goal was to create a home that felt collected but with a twist of freshness and currency alongside a bit of the unexpected.

Over the course of the next year, the foursome worked together, from renovations to design install, in an effort to create the perfect transitional space for a couple looking for a new season in life. With directives in mind, Barbour worked hard to ensure that her client’s personality radiates through every inch of the space. “It’s never our goal to leave a Barbour Spangle fingerprint on any client’s home,” Barbour says. “We want guests to walk into our client’s home and say, ‘Oh, my gosh, this home is so you,’ instead of something like, ‘Oh, did Barbour Spangle design this home?’ Our projects need to have a soul—the homeowner’s soul.”

With such an incredible collection of fine furnishings and beautiful artwork, the paring-down process proved to be challenging. But selecting the most appropriate pieces and the most sentimental items quickly curated a look and feel that was indisputably unique to the homeowners. “The look was established by our collective desire to pay homage to [his] craft—fine-furniture design,” Barbour says. An overall neutral palette was punctuated with pops of color alongside similar muted tones. Using black and white or beige and cream as a base, layers are built on top with a variety of textures and a mix of modern and traditional to create that collected, lived-in feel—a style that Barbour calls New Traditional.

“I grew up watching my grandmother live her life as a single woman, traveling the world,” Barbour recalls. “I remember pouring through slides from her travels, which instilled in me a love for it that would follow me through life. My life budget includes travel, and every place I visit has created an experience for me. Through these travels, I developed my love for design and my personal design ethos, which is that design is about feeling, lifestyle, and experience.” She adds that simply designed pieces that are enhanced by fine quality materials such as wood, linen, leather, and bronze create a feeling of luxury. “Intentionally selected furnishings placed in thoughtful ways can enhance lifestyle, and globally collected pieces and layering lead to an overall experience within a home.”

When asked about their favorite spaces, the homeowners find it easy to declare the open living area—which includes the kitchen, dining, and living room, along with the butler’s pantry—the winner. “These spaces are perfect for entertaining, and the blend of colors creates an easy flow in our living.” Barbour spotlights the kitchen and sunroom, saying, “The kitchen feels like it should be home to a French pastry chef, while their northern-exposure sunroom has truly amazing natural light.” In the end, the clients may have less space, but the character remained and the personality doubled.