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Much more goes into a flawless and well-styled home than meets the eye. According to interior designer Rhea Crenshaw, it takes hours and hours (and hours!) of thoughtful planning to design rooms that inform (but don’t mimic) each other with repetition of color and texture. But before paint colors are chosen and furniture is ordered, the Memphis-based designer starts with an in-depth conversation with her clients, because, as she explains, “It is important to know how people live and to understand how they function in their home.”

She continues, “Your home should reflect you and your family, so you feel like you belong in the space.” A recently designed home in a palette of blues, oranges, creams and golds is a reflection of the designer’s ability to redesign an entire house, from start to finish, while celebrating the style of those who call it home. It was critical to creating individual spaces while maintaining a sense of continuity, and Rhea accomplished this by establishing a consistent color palette inspired by the homeowners’ personal art collection.

cohesive home design

Art encouraged the aesthetic, and this piece determined the color palette that interior designer Rhea Crenshaw applied to every room in the house.

The homeowners, who have occupied the home for a handful of years and haven’t made many (if any) changes to the design, have an enviable collection of artwork that includes pieces by Veda Reed, Anton Weiss, Freida Hamm, Chris Hayman, Kurt Meer, Matthew Hasty and Catherine Erb. Art was not only a major consideration when redesigning the home; it was the primary source of inspiration for Rhea. “We took different elements from the art and created a common thread,” the designer explains. A striking landscape in vivid hues of blue and orange that hangs on a wall in the dining room prompted the color palette and, therefore, the overall aesthetic. “The dining room was the beginning, and we carried the clay shades, blues and oranges throughout the house.” Echoing the vibrant blues of the Veda Reed painting, the deep shade of sea blue on the dining room ceiling makes you feel like you have stepped into the art. The colors recur throughout the home’s interior design in draperies, pillows and furnishes, which allows organic transitions between the rooms.

Even though all of the rooms share commonalities in color and style, the individual spaces stand on their own, Rhea explains. This was especially important in the dining and living rooms located just off the main entryway. There is little separation between the two spaces in terms of architecture, so Rhea delivered distinct (yet complementary) designs. While blue takes center stage in the dining room, shades of orange dominate the living room. Grasscloth on the walls gives definition and warmth to the room, and an orange sofa mirrors colors found in the art by Anton Weiss that hangs above it as well the landscape painting next door in the dining room.

cohesive home design — rhea crenshaw whole home makeover

Rhea paired existing paneling with a charcoal grey railing, warm walnut floors and art with shades of blue and orange in the entryway.

cohesive home design — rhea crenshaw whole home makeover

Large openings in the entryway lead to the dining room and living room, each of which introduce a distinctive style. The two spaces pull colors from this landscape painting into fabrics, finishings and paint colors.

cohesive home design — rhea crenshaw whole home makeover

Grasscloth wallcoverings give warmth to the living room, which displays shades of orange, yellow and red.

cohesive home design — rhea crenshaw whole home makeover

Clay shades and blues find their way into this space without competing with the orange tones.

cohesive home design — fireplace

Artwork by Freida Hamm hangs above the mantle in the living room.

“It was challenging to create singular spaces while creating a sense of continuity,” Rhea shares. When she set out to transform the house, art and color took top priority, but flooring, texture, a neutral background and scale are also key factors in redesigning an entirely cohesive home. For example, the original walnut flooring received a dark stain to ground the overall design and work in balance with the neutral color that coats the walls. The best example of texture is most evident in the study, where you’ll find velvet-covered walls in a deep shade of eggplant, and the proper use of scale is displayed in the den.

The velvet walls in the study came with the house, and Rhea kept them intact while introducing a design that fits with the rest of the home. “The walls are an unusual color, and I am not certain I would have chosen it on my own, but they were fun and challenging to work with,” she says.

Juxtaposing styles of furniture — from a Lucite table to a Victoria sofa — attract the eye, and golds and yellows soften the dark walls. While sitting on the sofa, you can see directly into the dining room and catch a glimpse of the Vera Reed painting that informs the use of yellow here.

cohesive home design — art

When redesigning your home, you don’t have to start from scratch. Rhea readily accepts the challenge of working with different elements of the home — such as these velvet-coated walls.

cohesive home design — rhea crenshaw

Clay colors dominate the design in the den, which is rich in texture and showcases a careful consideration of scale. Rhea chose Benjamin Moore Briarwood for the ceiling, and warm textures and tones offer depth. Custom-designed bookcases frame the fireplace and balance the height of the high ceiling.

breakfast nook

The den looks toward the kitchen and breakfast room where Rhea married modern chairs with a traditional English breakfast table.

back stairway

Find this Kurt Meer landscape above the back hall stairway that leads upstairs.

Rhea watered down the color palette and brought softer tones of clay, blue and cream into the downstairs master bedroom. The chosen art, not surprisingly, complements the paler shades. An oversized piece by Catherine Erb occupies an entire wall in the bedroom and is, surprisingly, the only piece of art that hangs in the room. The headboard, a custom piece crafted with an antique French gate, is another focal point. You’ll notice the repetition of scale, color and texture that lives on the first floor, but the muted tones make this room more serene.

cohesive home design — master suite

Softer shades of the colors found on the first floor fill the master bedroom. A velvet bed skirt, upholstered custom headboard, dramatic drapes and linen velvet chairs are only a few examples of the luxurious texture in this room.

cohesive home design — wallpaper and art

An oversized piece of art ties the room together. Peek into the master bathroom to see a playful wallpaper that works well with the bedroom design.

cohesive home design —

A mixture of antique and modern pieces in different sizes and textures add interest to the room.

“In designing a whole home, it is important to determine a common thread that carries through each room. We spend a lot of time finding fabrics, colors and textures that work together but don’t fight one another. It can be a challenge, but we work very long and hard to design rooms that blend together without matching,” says Rhea. “We meet the fine line of designing spaces that challenge your sense but leaves you at peace.”

See more of Rhea’s work at rheacrenshaw.com.

This article is sponsored by Rhea Crenshaw Interiors. All photography by Julie Wage Ross of Ross Group Creative.