She wants light and pretty, he wants comfortable … sound familiar? Interior designer Lisa Gabrielson has learned how to please both wives and husbands with her gorgeous but practical designs. For this new house in Atlanta’s Chastain Park neighborhood, Lisa got input from both homeowners: “The wife craved fresh, youthful spaces,” says Lisa. “She loves airy rooms with lots of white mixed in with wood tones to add warmth, whereas the husband’s main request was for comfortable sofas to lounge with the family during his down-time.”
Lisa transformed a sitting room into the wife’s special retreat, choosing layers of white and neutrals for the elegant and feminine look. The light fixture made of glass beads and jute from Ro Sham Beaux is the showstopper in the room, and at night it creates great curb appeal through the windows from the street. “I wanted her chandelier to be both bold and dramatic, but also soft and feminine,” says Lisa. The white slipcovered furniture is joined by a see-through glass coffee table and airy curtains to continue the light and airy feeling, but with lots of texture mixed in, too: a seagrass rug, wood side table and furry pillows for contrast.
The sitting room off the kitchen may seem precariously light for a family space, but Lisa made sure the homeowners can put their feet up and relax. “All of our clients are looking for a lighter palette, but they also have pets and kids, so we like to use high-performance fabrics and slipcovers for a worry-free lifestyle,” says the designer. “Nobody wants to stress about a sofa.” The symmetrical sofas are slipcovered in a light gray brushed-cotton fabric, able to hide some wear and tear (and washable). The swivel chairs are slipcovered in a durable Perennials Fabrics indoor/outdoor fabric with the look and feel of textured linen. When Lisa was unable to find the right scale of coffee table or ottoman, she designed a clever combination of both. The indigo-covered cocktail ottoman with herringbone nesting tables at the sides gives the family versatility, since they can pull the tables underneath out to use — or slide them in for more room.
Lisa is happy to share her tips on incorporating white in a house. “I typically love a matte finish, but have recently started using eggshell finish in homes where there is a lot of traffic, or little hands touching the walls,” she says. Paneled walls and trim should always be painted in a satin finish, she advises. A few of her favorite whites for walls are: Benjamin Moore White Dove (always a winner and just warm enough), Benjamin Moore Simply White (for a crisp, modern, or coastal look), Benjamin Moore China White (for a more sophisticated space, and for those who are a little afraid of white), Sherwin-Williams Alabaster (similar to White Dove, but less expensive and a tiny bit warmer) and Sherwin-Williams Eider White (a gray white with a very modern vibe that doesn’t go cold).
A white base needs an extra layer of interest to make the design special, though, she adds. “Don’t forget to vary patterns, scale and texture when working with a white palette,” she says. Lisa likes to pick a stand-out fabric in a favorite accent color for pillows or an ottoman and then use it in other accessories and maybe even drapery trim.
In the end, Lisa delivered an amazing place to call home — offering both comfort and beauty for all!
Thanks to Christina Wedge for the beautiful photography.
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