This Couple Made Sure Their First House Would Be Their Forever Home
Fifteen years of living in city apartments and temporary rentals meant that the pair knew exactly what they wanted in their first home: comfortable, no fuss spaces where they could unwind with their four children (their youngest daughter was born in April 2017) and an easy-to-navigate layout for Isaac, who is blind. Dorothy also wanted the house to feel fresh, with plenty of color and room to grow. She turned to designers Erika Powell and Meagan Burks of Urban Grace Interiors in Santa Rosa Beach for their twist on Southern traditional. “Every time someone walks into our house and says, ‘This is so you! This is your family!’ that to me is the biggest compliment because our home really is an extension of us,” says Dorothy. Here, the couple and the designers share their moves for crafting a forever home.
Design A Family-Friendly Living Room
Make Room for a Crowd
The family of six spends a lot of time in and around the kitchen, so plenty of seating was a must. Slipcovered counter benches from Lee Industries make a prime homework spot for the triplets, and the breakfast nook is a sunny place to start the day. As in the living room, Powell and Burks covered the window seats in an outdoor fabric and layered patterns with throw pillows. “You can get away with using lighter colors when you go with outdoor fabrics,” says Powell. Belgian linen shades in Radish Moon’s hand-illustrated Radish pattern in Indigo keep the kitchen windows playful. The ceiling is painted White Dove (OC-17) by Benjamin Moore.
Go (A Little) Formal
An antique brass-and-amber glass-rod chandelier from Arteriors was the first thing the designers found for the dining room. From there, they built off its formality, choosing an heirloom-worthy table and buffet from Baker that both work well for entertaining. To unify the space with the more casual kitchen and living room, Powell and Burks stuck to the blue-and-white color palette, layering in window treatments in Schumacher’s Nanjing fabric, an abstract painting by Florida artist Liza Snyder,and Dorothy’s antique Chinese pottery. The designers also kept the kids in mind, covering the chairs in an indoor/outdoor fabric.
Put It in Neutral
“Dorothy wanted this to be their retreat,” says Burks of the master bedroom. So Isaac could also appreciate its serenity, the designers chose textured pieces, like a tufted-linen headboard from Vanguard Furniture and table lamps covered in ceramic petals by Currey & Company. “The day we moved in, when I finally got to roam free and feel the different furniture and finishes with my hands—it’s difficult to describe how amazing that experience was,” says Isaac. “I couldn’t believe I got to live in this house!” The custom pressed-hydrangea artwork that flank the bed is by Lauren Lachance.
Create a Personal Retreat
In the master sitting room, bamboo-frame armchairs and a muted palette ground the space and keep the focus on the lake view. The lamps are by Visual Comfort & Co.
Dial Up the Brights
“Pink is her favorite color, so we went wild with that,” says Powell of the decision to cover the older daughter’s bedroom in pink-and-orange toile wallpaper by Manuel Canovas. Dorothy didn’t want to skimp on the children’s rooms, adds the designer, who selected high-quality furniture in styles that can grow with them, even as their tastes in colors change over the years. “This family is not planning to move again, so they wanted to get things right the first time.”
Tie In Complementary Colors
For the girls’ Jack-and-Jill bath, Powell and Burks chose Sister Parish Design’s Serendipity Wallpaper in Red.
Automated retractable screens along the side of the house bridge the gap between indoors and out. “We worked with a company here in town to make everything in the home automated,” says Isaac. “Speakers, lighting, pool equipment—all of it is connected to an app that’s accessible to me, so for the first time, I can actually control everything in my house.” Now, they’re working to integrate Amazon Echo Dots into the system. “That means I could reconfigure lighting or turn on a Spotify playlist with a voice command,” he adds. “Dorothy’s unrivaled favorite music genre these days is yacht rock.”