This 1940s Colonial-style house in Raleigh, North Carolina, was beautiful even before interior designer MA Allen got her hands on it. But with her keen eye and youthful touches, this home to a family of five (recent transplants from Kansas) now epitomizes traditional with a twist. “The goal was to integrate existing furniture and accessories the family already had, but create a fresh look for a new chapter in their lives,” says MA. “We needed to furnish the house on a budget while still achieving some new looks.”
The designer’s firm got to work on a variety of tasks, both remodeling and decorating-oriented; the new kitchen now includes custom cabinetry, countertops, tile and hardware. For other rooms, they specified furniture, custom window treatments, paint colors, wall coverings and floor coverings — but always mindful of the budget. “We made value-driven selections where possible to maximize impact, using bright paint colors, painted accents and recovering existing furniture,” says MA. “We chose wisely where to splurge.”
One splurge was the foyer, where the designer added lively pattern through wallpaper since the entryway didn’t have space for a lot of other elements. The wife also remembered a clever project MA had done previously with wainscoting as another custom touch, so MA designed custom paneling for the dining room. The modern, geometric wainscoting now complements the wallpaper in the adjacent foyer.
Since older houses are big on charm, often lacking in storage, MA looked for areas that could do double-duty — particularly in the kitchen. “We designed a number of multi-use areas in there,” she says. “The banquette table doubles as a working surface, cabinets include a retractable cutting board and pullouts on the hutch allow additional serving space.”
For high style on a budget, she turned to bold colors and clever accessories. The sitting room bookcase now sports citron-green paint as a backdrop as just one example, and the girls’ bedrooms are packed with bold color combinations. “We used paint as an inexpensive solution to make a major impact,” says MA, adding, “Although I always recommend adding pops of color in small doses in the primary spaces.”
Thank you to Jed Gammon Photography for the gorgeous photos.
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