As these Knoxville, Tennessee, homeowners were building their new house, they asked interior designer Lauren DeBello to give it a cosy, welcoming atmosphere. “They loved the idea of warm neutrals, and black and white was their signature,” she says. “They wanted it to feel organic, fresh and clean, but also warm and cosy.”
The scope of the project included decorating the living room, dining room, primary bedroom and nursery, plus styling the kitchen.
House at a GlanceWho lives here?
A couple who were expecting their first child during the projectLocation
Knoxville, Tennessee, USASize
Five bedrooms and four bathroomsDesigner Lauren DeBelloPhotos by Allison Elefante of Ruby & Peach
The designer and her clients used Houzz photos to share their style inspirations. Lauren brought in organic textures, patinaed vintage pieces and artwork to personalise the home. At the same time, she worked some of the homeowners’ favourite existing pieces into the scheme.
The hall sets the tone for the house, which already had white oak flooring. Lauren added a rustic vintage bench for putting on shoes or dropping bags. “The bench adds a different wood tone and makes the house feel lived in,” she says. She also laid a pale vintage oriental runner to bring softness to the floor. The framed piece is a vintage textile.Find an interior designer on Houzz.
The living room is open to the hallway and staircase. “The jumping-off point for the room was the rug,” Lauren says. “It brought in the black, white and neutral colour scheme my clients liked. It’s a flatweave that’s easy to take care of and adds softness.”
Cushions on the armchairs bring dark contrast to the light upholstery. The wood of the chair frames and coffee table adds natural texture.
Two things Lauren’s clients brought to the room were the TV over the fireplace – the spot where they wanted it – and the modular sofa.
“My clients didn’t want to invest in an expensive sofa at this point. They knew they wanted a white design and they also knew it would take a lot of wear and tear over the next few years, so they bought one at Ikea,” she says.
They may opt to replace the relatively inexpensive sofa once their daughter is older.
Lauren added more organic textures with a cane sideboard, baskets and a small olive tree. “The tree brings in more softness and a touch of life,” she says.
She accessorised the space with cushions, baskets, artwork and throws. She purchased the two black-and-white prints as digital downloads at a very reasonable price. Balancing splurges and saves within the budget allowed her to buy furniture that will serve her clients for decades to come.
The clients also lucked out with Lauren’s choices. Soon after she bought those prints, they were picked up by a company that’s now charging much more than the amount she paid for them.
This photo shows how the dining area relates to the living room. The windows and doors are black, adding contrast to the light-coloured walls.
The designer worked with the homeowners’ existing dining table and the light fixture the builder had installed.
“I selected an updated take on the classic Windsor chair for their dining chairs,” she says. “They will still be timeless, but their clean lines modernise the space.” She also added the black-and-white desert landscape photo on the back wall.
“Initially when I suggested it, my clients didn’t want a rug in the dining room. But after they saw this vintage kilim I brought in for the photo shoot, they wanted it,” Lauren says. The rug helps define the dining space and adds more texture.
The kitchen is also open to the dining area and living room. Most of the finishes had already been selected when Lauren signed on to the job.
This area is in a transitional spot between the kitchen and dining area and is also viewed from the living room. “One thing they really wanted help with was styling these shelves,” Lauren says. Taking that into account, she chose art and other objects that unite the three spaces.
Dark wood pieces and black-and-white pencil drawings attract the eye. Lauren’s kitchen styling brought organic textures and personality to the space.
Here’s the view of the living room across the kitchen island’s quartz worktop. Lauren selected all the accessories for the homeowners.
“My clients really wanted a four-poster or canopy bed for their bedroom, but they feared the space wasn’t large enough to accommodate one. I had to show them that it was just right,” Lauren says. She knew the best place for it was in between these two windows. The canopy bed is black metal with an upholstered headboard – another mix of hard and soft as well as dark and light.
The designer anchored the room with a dark dyed oriental rug. The ceramic lamps also add dark contrast, while the bedside tables bring in light wood. Simple linen sheers soften the windows.
The homeowners already had the chest of drawers. It was in great shape and worked well as another dark piece in the room. “I updated it by giving it more modern hardware,” Lauren says. The minimalist black-framed mirror also adds a modern touch.
Finally, Lauren tucked a nice, comfy chair into the corner for late-night feedings with the baby.
The homeowners knew they were expecting a girl, but they didn’t want to go with the typical pink colour palette in the nursery. “They wanted a cosy space in soft neutrals that could grow with her,” Lauren says. “They loved the idea of mixing different textures and patterns in here.”
She used less dark contrast in the nursery than she did in the other spaces.
The homeowners requested a daybed in the nursery for naps, so Lauren found one with a caned texture. She brought in another woven texture with the glider chair’s rattan footstools. The rug has hooked detailing that adds pattern to the space.
Picking up on the texture of the rug, Lauren chose cushions with looped details, adding a range of patterns and textures to the daybed. She also knew baby animal prints would be a sweet addition to the nursery, and her clients loved the idea.
Thanks to Lauren’s hard work, the homeowners were moved in, settled and ready to welcome their daughter by the time she arrived.
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