When it comes to interior design, especially for homeowners with kids, there has always been the age-old struggle: style versus purpose. This struggle of form versus function continuously plagues homeowners, but with the help of methodical, visionary interior designers, like Memphis designer Selena McAdams of Spruce, a family can have the best of both worlds. Selena helped transform this East Memphis home for a family of five that wanted a space to meet their needs in a cool, polished way.

“This house was purchased, fully gutted and renovated to meet the growing needs of this family in regards to style and function,” says Selena. “This project was so rewarding because the clients fully trusted the process by enlisting us — architect, designer and builder — for who they interviewed and hired. The home’s style is so intentional and proves a home can be stylish and still accommodate children of all ages, making both the adults and children happy.”

In addition to Selena, the team consisted of Jeff Edwards of Carlton Edwards Architects, RKA Construction, and Southern Shutter and Landscape, who were brought together to fully gut and renovate this colonial-style home. With four bedrooms, three full baths and two half baths, opposing forces are used throughout the home’s design — masculine and feminine, light and dark, classic and modern — to create an overall look that celebrates complementary themes.

The master suite is a prime example of linking two oppositional elements. The master bathroom plays off the classic combination of black and white — dramatic honed black nero marble makes up the vanity countertop, which plays off the soft gray, built-in linen closet with feminine Lucite pulls. The adjoining dark master closet exudes masculinity, playing nicely off the rest of the house’s bright white hues.

“[Architect] Jeff Edwards made the genius decision to convert the original living room space that the client never used into a master suite that could become their haven,” says Selena. “The home’s original fireplace then became that room’s focal point, and all the original dentil molding only helped further elevate that classic design feel. Everything in this space followed a concept of soft and classic — a retreat for the Mr. and Mrs. of the house.”

Master suite and bathroom in East Memphis home
The master suite is a celebration of masculine and feminine. The master closet is a showpiece and juxtaposes nicely with the more feminine bathroom.
Master bathroom in East Memphis home
“The master bathroom was inspired by a truly classic and timeless vibe, playing off of the black and white — which has never gone, nor will ever go out of style,” says Selena. “Because privacy was not an issue, all available light pouring through the windows was a necessity! Again, the master bathroom plays on feminine qualities to dance around the masculinity next door: the closet.”
Close-up of home's master bathroom
The master bathroom features honed black nero marble for the vanity countertop. Using a honed stone creates a matte finish, an unexpected detail for this spot in a house.
Linen closet in East Memphis home
The depth of the linen closet was built into the wall cavity, while still maintaining the look of furniture. It features a soft gray hue and feminine Lucite pulls.
Tile shower with gold accents
The master bathroom has a wet room where all wet functions are contained to one space for ease in maintenance and the feel of grandeur.
Dark-colored master closet
Interior designer Selena McAdams of Spruce used Sherwin-Williams‘ Iron Ore to create a moody, masculine vibe in the master closet space.
Master bedroom in East Memphis home
Jeff Edwards of Carlton Edwards Architects converted the home’s original living room space into a master suite. Everything in this room followed a soft and classic concept, including the custom bed and its matching bedding.
Fireplace in master suite
The home’s original fireplace became the newly transformed master suite’s focal point.

The play on feminine and masculine continues throughout the rest of the home, like in the powder room. The moody, dark floral wallpaper and warm brass hardware along the demilune vanity add a romantic vibe.

Luxe fabrics and design obviously impress, but it’s how these elements seamlessly intersperse together for a busy family with three young children that demonstrates what great design can truly do. The living room is usually the hub for an energetic family, and this Pidgeon Estates home is no exception. Since the clients already owned the neutral linen chairs, they served as a base to add pops of color in the form of a rich burgundy, mohair sofa paired with hot pinks and oranges.

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Dark-colored powder room with patterned wallpaper
Masculine and feminine come together in many corners of this house, including the powder room, featuring a bold, iron-framed mirror and dark hues, with a floral motif and metallic highlights.
Colorful living room in East Memphis home
Pops of color make this living room truly stand out. The burgundy mohair sofa with button tufting and sleek rosewood-stained legs complement the surrounding neutrals.
Burlwood coffee table
The coffee table is burlwood and was the final touch in the room. “It was so crucial to find the perfect combining element to the already selected items,” says Selena. “Sometimes being patient for the perfect piece pays off!”
Living room with a wet bar in East Memphis home
The design team completed the living space with a wet bar — amped up with fresh doors, gold plumbing and a dark grasscloth wall covering. The little jewel box pairs nicely next to the fireplace’s brick detail.

Another busy spot for families is the breakfast room. Although practical needs were addressed — like installing a long, floating walnut bench to hold lots of kids and using kid-friendly vinyl upholstery on the chairs — there’s also an eye to the beautiful. The paintings elegantly frame the gorgeous window and sleek pendant lighting.

“The client had the beautiful dining table and chairs prior to construction, so I was able to pull from its design style and pair it with a contemporary-styled buffet with antique hardware — that play of old and new,” says Selena.

Home's breakfast nook
“I think one of the most valuable assets a designer can give her client is a relation to scale,” says Selena of the breakfast room’s gorgeous table. “With any of the space, if the scale of furniture is off, it just does not work.”
Dining room in East Memphis home
The dining table and chairs existed before construction, so Selena styled the rest of the dining room based on the set. The team eventually added a vintage Hollywood glam acrylic chandelier (not pictured) to complete the room’s look.
Powder room with powerful wallpaper and metallic plumbing
The back entry and laundry area has a powder room inspired by the marble flooring pattern. A powerful wallpaper and metallic plumbing meld the space into one cohesive room.

Travel upstairs to all three children’s rooms, and the home’s celebration of form and function is indisputable. The hallways are painted a dramatic dark hue from trim to ceiling, lengthening the space’s height, leading into the sprightly bedrooms. The spotted stair runner, a necessity for little ones, continues through the upstairs hallway, installed like wall-to-wall carpet, to reduce noise. Not only does it quiet the house, but it looks incredible and stays in place.

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Front stairway in East Memphis home
Safe and stylish aren’t two words that intrinsically go together when it comes to upscale design. But Selena used a neutral stair runner that continues through the upstairs hallway, thus lowering noise and offering safety while raising the style level.
Custom front door on East Memphis home
This custom front door appears as a pair of smaller French doors from across the street. The warm tan tone plays off the dark grasscloth within the entryway.

“Every neutral needs a punch just like every classic element needs a pop,” says Selena. “It’s the play of those elements, along with working the old and new together. That is my favorite part of design; it is where the challenge lives. A neverending ‘a-ha moment’ around every corner would be my wish for every client as they transition in their own spaces.”

All photos by Sélavie Photography.


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Melanie Preis