Interior designer Jessica Davis grew up in a creative household where all her classmates enjoyed coming over because of the fun vibe. “My mother, grandmother and great-grandmother all loved and celebrated the arts,”the Nashville, TN, designer says. “My friends always looked forward to sleepovers at our house because they knew my mother would have a fun craft for us to do together, like painting ceramic face masks or making decorative Christmas ornaments.” Jessica also watched her mother repurpose furniture and her father restore antiques as a side job, so not surprisingly, the designer’s own grown-up house has a hands-on — and playful — spirit itself.
Over in Atlanta, GA, Gina Sims also carries on the can-do attitude of her parents in her own house. “I come from generations of great style, house pride … and limited resources,” the interior designer recalls. “But I saw that having less to spend breeds creativity and ingenuity. If you want it, you have to do your research and figure out a way to make it happen. For my mother, that meant she learned how to sew the intricately beautiful window treatments she desired.”
For these two creative types, family life doesn’t hamper interior design; kids actually inspire a different kind of house style, as they’re finding with their own children. With both of these designers, houses aren’t just for show … all sorts of great family memories are made here. Enjoy our two house tours today!
Home Tour #1: The home of Gina Sims
Gina lives in a mid-century ranch in Decatur, GA (an artsy city right next to Atlanta), with Anna, 8, Caleb, 5, and her husband, Greg.
The laid-back town fits her approach to family living and design. “When I was growing up, our home was a source of pride, but never too precious to enjoy,” she says. “That’s the key. Many people think that when the kids are out of the house, then they can have the home they’ve always wanted, but why wait 18 years to enjoy your home?”
Her advice: Invest in good bones and durable upholstery to last for years. “If you are going to be constantly worried about someone messing something up, it’s not the piece for you at this time,” she says. “I like rustic wood coffee tables for homes with kids, for example. Dings and scratches only add to the character.” Also, she says, when children are small, it’s hard to keep toys from invading every space. “When my kids were old enough to pick up their toys, I moved toys to their rooms, but created play stations around the house,” says Gina. “The art table and display area in the kitchen is a good example of that.”
Home Tour #2: The home of Jessica Davis
Jessica was first drawn to her Nashville house because of the layout. The single mother to Valor, 3, and Lincoln, 2, saw potential in its open floor plan. “Since the boys are young and this plan has all of the bedrooms on the second floor, I’m able to be close to them,” she explains. “This house allows all of the ‘public’ space to be on one level for living, if you will, and the ‘private’ space to be on a separate level, which functions well for us.”
Jessica graduated from Watkins College of Art with both interior design and art classes, giving her the right amount of practical and abstract knowledge. “My fine arts background sets me apart from other designers in my approach and process, I think,” says Jessica. “I see a space very much like I view a canvas, incorporating the necessary elements: line, texture, balance, harmony in a seamless and passionate way.”
Playful design, whimsical accents and a carefree outlook are all easy elements any family can incorporate into their interior design. These are great starting points! Bottom line? (And this may be the only time you hear this when it involves children … ) There are no rules. Be creative, have fun with your space and make your home your own!