When it comes to interior design, especially for homeowners with kids, there has always been the age-old struggle: style versus purpose. This struggle of form versus function continuously plagues homeowners, but with the help of methodical, visionary interior designers, like Selena McAdams of Spruce, a family can have the best of both worlds. Selena helped transform this East Memphis home for a family of five that wanted a space to meet their needs in a cool, polished way.
“This house was purchased, fully gutted and renovated to meet the growing needs of this family in regards to style and function,” says Selena. “This project was so rewarding because the clients fully trusted the process by enlisting us — architect, designer and builder — for who they interviewed and hired. The home’s style is so intentional and proves a home can be stylish and still accommodate children of all ages, making both the adults and children happy.”
In addition to Selena, the team consisted of Jeff Edwards of Carlton Edwards Architects, RKA Construction, and Southern Shutter and Landscape, who were brought together to fully gut and renovate this colonial-style home. With four bedrooms, three full baths and two half baths, opposing forces are used throughout the home’s design — masculine and feminine, light and dark, classic and modern — to create an overall look that celebrates complementary themes.
The master suite is a prime example of linking two oppositional elements. The master bathroom plays off the classic combination of black and white — dramatic honed black nero marble makes up the vanity countertop, which plays off the soft gray, built-in linen closet with feminine Lucite pulls. The adjoining dark master closet exudes masculinity, playing nicely off the rest of the house’s bright white hues.
“[Architect] Jeff Edwards made the genius decision to convert the original living room space that the client never used into a master suite that could become their haven,” says Selena. “The home’s original fireplace then became that room’s focal point, and all the original dentil molding only helped further elevate that classic design feel. Everything in this space followed a concept of soft and classic — a retreat for the Mr. and Mrs. of the house.”
The play on feminine and masculine continues throughout the rest of the home, like in the powder room. The moody, dark floral wallpaper and warm brass hardware along the demilune vanity add a romantic vibe.
Luxe fabrics and design obviously impress, but it’s how these elements seamlessly intersperse together for a busy family with three young children that demonstrates what great design can truly do. The living room is usually the hub for an energetic family, and this Pidgeon Estates home is no exception. Since the clients already owned the neutral linen chairs, they served as a base to add pops of color in the form of a rich burgundy, mohair sofa paired with hot pinks and oranges.
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Another busy spot for families is the breakfast room. Although practical needs were addressed — like installing a long, floating walnut bench to hold lots of kids and using kid-friendly vinyl upholstery on the chairs — there’s also an eye to the beautiful. The paintings elegantly frame the gorgeous window and sleek pendant lighting.
“The client had the beautiful dining table and chairs prior to construction, so I was able to pull from its design style and pair it with a contemporary-styled buffet with antique hardware — that play of old and new,” says Selena.
Travel upstairs to all three children’s rooms, and the home’s celebration of form and function is indisputable. The hallways are painted a dramatic dark hue from trim to ceiling, lengthening the space’s height, leading into the sprightly bedrooms. The spotted stair runner, a necessity for little ones, continues through the upstairs hallway, installed like wall-to-wall carpet, to reduce noise. Not only does it quiet the house, but it looks incredible and stays in place.
“Every neutral needs a punch just like every classic element needs a pop,” says Selena. “It’s the play of those elements, along with working the old and new together. That is my favorite part of design; it is where the challenge lives. A neverending ‘a-ha moment’ around every corner would be my wish for every client as they transition in their own spaces.”
All photos by Sélavie Photography.
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