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You likely have a favorite spot in your home that speaks to you on a deeper level — a particular room or nook that evokes tranquility or offers some nostalgia or brings the family together. Since we’re spending so much time at home these days, those beloved spaces take on even more significance. Builders and interior designers not only have the luxury of creating the ideal space in their own homes but in their clients’ homes, too. We asked some of our local experts to share a favorite room or home feature they created of which they’re especially proud, and their responses may just get your creative juices flowing, too.

A Beautiful Family Billiard and Bar Room

Of all the stunning rooms created by interior designer Mark Simmons, of Mark Simmons Interiors, it stands to reason that his favorite space exists within his own home. While construction was underway on their permanent residence, Mark and his family temporarily lived in a house with an open-concept floor plan. In need of an appropriate locale for their billiards table, they decided on a spot next to the family room — and it became the focal point of family gatherings. Once construction was complete on their new house, it was clear the billiards table would need a similar place of honor. “We decided to incorporate the same feeling into our new build to create an inviting, fun space with lots of character for our whole family to gather,” Mark says of the billiard and bar room that is now the backdrop for all of their family festivities.

Billiard and bar room by Mark Simmons, an inspired room

Lighting plays an important role in Mark Simmons’ billiard and bar room, which was constructed by Lone Oak Builders. “After searching for the right billiard light, I stumbled across the brass finial from an old andiron we had at the office, and I drew up the custom light fixture for Randy Farmer to build,” says Mark, adding that he found the perfect lampshades at Lumen Lamps. Image: Caroline Sharpnack

Open bar cabinet showing glassware and triptych

Mark is particularly fond of the retractable cabinet doors on the bar, which allow him to display a collection of glassware, resulting in a fun and unexpected pop of color. Another of Mark’s favorite details is the triptych paintings above the bar shelves, created by local artist Roger Dale Brown. The paintings also inspired the interior cabinet color, a beautiful, deep blue. Image: Caroline Sharpnack

A billiard table in front of the bar with vintage glass windows — an inspired room

The bar’s antiqued mirror doors can be closed for a clean, elegant look. Image: Caroline Sharpnack

A Tranquil Built-in Bench

For local interior designer Marcelle Guilbeau, a favorite go-to feature is a built-in bench. Versatile in nearly every room of the house, it offers a charming resting place for reading, relaxing, having a cocktail, or even taking a quick snooze. “You can put a bench anywhere — even in front of windows,” says Marcelle, adding that the bench is an ideal solution for integrating architecture with interiors. The trick is to ensure your piece is lightweight and ‘floats’ off the wall a bit to give the illusion of depth. It maximizes seating, and it’s particularly beneficial along a wall or window that’s begging for a functional design element.

Dining room in Kentucky home — an inspired room by Marcelle Guilbeau

Marcelle Guilbeau installed a freestanding custom wood banquet in this beautiful modern home, turning a spacious, cold kitchen into a warm gathering space with a more approachable layout. Custom cushions and pillows brought in a new color palette, making the built-in feature even more eye-catching. “It anchored the breakfast area and made it the favorite spot in the kitchen,” says Marcelle. Image: Gieves Anderson

Built-in bench feature bathroom, an inspired room for interior designer, Marcelle Guilbeau

Updating this master bath, Marcelle added a built-in bench beside the vanities to create a sense of luxury, and to pull in the warmer finishes throughout the house. With exotic Mediterranean colors and patterns that reflect the client’s heritage, the custom pillows and cushion turn the bench into a showpiece. Image: Gieves Anderson

A Bright and Nostalgic Dining Room and Entryway

A dining room is a gathering place — a welcoming spot where food, family and friends come together to create countless memories. So, it’s no surprise that designer JoAnne Haynes of J. Haynes Interiors’ favorite project is a light-filled dining room and entry that belongs to her dear friends. “I loved this project because of the creative license,” says JoAnne. “I was involved in it from the floorplan stage and helped create a plan that meets their need for lots of light and a great flow for entertaining.”

Inspired room and entryway by J. Haynes Interiors

Though the rooms she was working with may not have been overly spacious, JoAnne Haynes, of J. Haynes Interiors, sought to give the dining room and entryway an open, airy feel. Introducing a coral color scheme, she chose a wall covering that boasts tiny coral stars, then picked up the color in pillow fabrics and even the dining room ceiling. Image: Gieves Anderson

A dining room table and chair in J. Haynes' inspired room

“The dining room is a jewel box of color, texture and contrast,” JoAnne tells us. “The use of a large antique iron urn as a table base allowed the glass top to not hide the hand-monogrammed, custom seat cushions. Two antique chests that are handpainted with garden scenes, and the owner’s collection of silver and crystal, contrast the stripped wood, canvas and woven texture of the chair backs.” Image: Gieves Anderson

RELATED: How to Style Your Entryway Table

A Modern and Masterful Wine Room

A vibrant pop of color in a crisp white room never fails to draw attention. A favorite project for Alan Looney, founder of Castle Homes, this stunning wine room brings just the right amount of pizazz to a serene, contemporary layout. The homeowners wanted to showcase their wine collection, and Castle Homes turned it into an architectural element that makes for the perfect room divider and a fantastic conversational piece. “This particular wine room is one of my favorite features in the homes we’ve built,” says Alan. “It’s stunning and pleasing to the eye upon entering, and it blends nicely with the overall modern architectural features of the home. The goal for the wine room was multipurpose — to be artistic as well as functional.”

Contemporary living room by Castle Homes

The vivid colors of the built-in wine room offset this bright, contemporary living space created by Castle Homes. Image: Reed Brown

Walls of wine

Walls of color-coordinated wine bottles appear suspended in mid-air. Image: Reed Brown

RELATED: How Does an Interior Design Virtual Consultation Work?

A Contemporary Home Office

Trace Ventures has spent a lot of time working on home office renovations in recent months, turning guest rooms, alcoves and even garages into functional spaces that encourage productivity and comfort. “In light of stay-at-home orders or people taking advantage of the opportunity to work remotely, we have started to focus on providing home offices that inspire creativity,” says office manager Amy Latham. Even without a ton of square footage, an in-home office can combine built-ins and a desk to create the ideal workspace. “This sleek and sophisticated workspace gives a dedicated work area to limit distractions and increase productivity,” she tells us. “And one wall of the office is comprised of floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Nashville’s skyline!”

Home office, an inspired room by Trace Ventures

Though minimal, this elevated office space created by Trace Ventures includes high-end features like a custom leather-topped desk, eucalyptus wood built-ins, textured walls, a recessed television and hidden storage. Image: Trace Ventures

Home office amenities such as a fridge and built-in espresso machine

Who doesn’t yearn for an office with a built-in coffee bar? In addition, this one offers a 24-inch refrigerator for snacks and a pull-out drawer for water bottles. Image: Trace Ventures

Perfectly Customized Family Bathrooms

Interior designer Beth Haley, of Beth Haley Design, has an affinity for delving into her clients’ lifestyles and personal tastes, then incorporating those details into her designs. Even family bathrooms can be inspiring when they reflect the homeowners. “Our long-time clients wanted to add a lot of personality into building their dream home, and that started with customizing a bathroom for each member of the family,” says Beth of her favorite design project. “Mom and Dad wanted a spa-like retreat, and the boys’ spaces were focused around function and green and blue, while their sweet little sister has the most feminine room in the house in a soft shade of pink.”

Beth Haley's bathroom design, an inspired room project

Beth Haley of Beth Haley Design brought in neutral colors and detailed accents for a tranquil bathroom space for the grown-ups. Image: Reed Brown

A young girl's bathroom in pink, from Beth Haley Design

“This cheerful room is certain to brighten her every morning for years to come,” says Beth of the pretty, pink bathroom designed for a little girl. Image: Reed Brown

An Outdoor Retreat

Van G. Pond Jr., founder and lead architect of Van Pond Architect, has us swooning over his favorite recent project, an outdoor sanctuary with a pool, screened porch, terrace, cabana, and fire pit — perfect for family gatherings during these homebound times. “We’re in a time where being able to get away from it all without ever leaving our nests is necessary — or required,” explains Van. “This would be one place where I would not mind being ‘distanced’ away during any season.” Helping to complete the client’s narrative, he transformed the undeveloped rear yard, designed some extensions, and modified the existing home to connect the redeveloped landscape.

From splashing in the pool and toasting s’mores over the fire pit to late-night movies while relaxing in the screened-in porch, the outdoor retreat is perfect for entertaining all ages. The pool cabana is even wired for sound and ready for live bands!

Van Pond's inspired project — a spa and pool

This gorgeous pool area by Van Pond Architect makes for the perfect summer night-in. Image: Chad Driver, Driver Productions

Fire pit in font of outdoor lounge area, with pool in the background

“The most unique feature of this project to me is the tucked-away fire pit area,” says Van. “Sitting there, you can look back through the pool cabana to this whole village of moments — from the pool to the side terrace to the circular spa and lantern-like screened porch addition.” Image: Chad Driver, Driver Productions

Van Pond's exterior living room

“The screens on the porch disappear into the headers and make that space seamless with the pool terrace,” says Van. “It’s wonderful for when the bugs aren’t biting.” Image: Chad Driver, Driver Productions

Whether it’s a reading nook or an outdoor lounge area, we hope these spaces inspire you!


Check out other inspiring spaces in our “Homes” section. Click HERE.

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