As a young married couple, Liz and Austin Kent faced a common predicament when they acquired their 1920s raised Craftsman home. It was renovated and ready to be lived in, but it did not reflect their artful, quirky personalities. They also had to find a way to combine each of their individual preferences for art, furnishings and flow.
Enter interior designer Penny Francis, owner of Eclectic Home on Oak Street. The Kents consulted with Francis, letting her know that they wanted to incorporate family pieces along with new items – and also incorporate fabulous flea market items that they had a knack for finding.
Says Francis, “It’s about play – playing with pattern, texture and color. Don’t be afraid to take the risk of reinterpreting the classics with modern finishes and touches.” The interior of the two-story, four-bedroom home was newly painted, and since the paint job was just done and fresh, they decided to make use of the neutral beige “envelope” by adding color through furnishings and artwork. Some newly painted walls did make their way into the design plan. Wide horizontal stripes of black were added to an accent wall in the living room; the dining room was painted a pretty shade of vibrant turquoise teal blue; Liz’s upstairs dressing room got ultra feminine pink.
The living room sets the tone of the couple’s point of view. The wide black horizontal stripes on the wall behind the exuberantly curved sofa make a bold playful statement. The elegant vintage curvy couch is a flea market find that Francis had reupholstered in black. A pair of monumental Hollywood Regency lamps also was highlighted in black by adding new shades. Vintage swivel chairs were found as-is, along with an iconic 1960s Arne Jacobsen Egg Chair. See-through elements in the form of the iron fretwork end tables, and the acrylic coffee table keeps things feeling open and airy.
The adjacent dining room features a sparkling modern glass chandelier with a Mid-Century feeling that Francis added. It complements the many vintage pieces found throughout the house. Francis paired a modern dining table with French-style chairs that have an antique look. The fronts and seats of the chairs are custom-upholstered in patterned velvet, while the exterior backs of the chairs are done in playful blackboard paint. The chair backs become “place cards,” or a place to write or draw something personal.
Moving from the dining room into the family room, one is met with the view of a large window overlooking the garden. A custom-made gray velvet sofa anchors a clever play of patterns. The white marble fireplace is original to the home. An old radio and an antique washstand complement mod acrylic and chrome pieces. A transparent desk and chair were placed in front of the large floor-to-ceiling window to add to the feeling of lightness.
Around the corner from the family room, and the kitchen is situated in the back of the house. Since it had been newly and totally renovated, they decided to keep it as-is, while injecting life into it by way of color and accessories. The red knobs on the stove were a jumping-off point for the red Italian barstools and other accessories. Francis changed the light fixture over the island to a playful chandelier made from old soda bottles. A pantry door was painted with chalkboard paint. A deck outside of the kitchen leads to a charming courtyard and garden. A covered pavilion houses comfy outdoor furniture with a collection of quirky pillows. Accents of red found in the kitchen are an element added here as well for visual continuity.
The bedrooms are upstairs. A luxe silk velvet headboard with nail head trim anchors the master bedroom. Faux fur pillows and throws add to the feeling of luxury. New nightstands made of reclaimed white-washed wood sport sparkly silver-leafed lamps. Other lighting in the room includes a custom-made chandelier made with metal leaf petals. The blue chair in the master bedroom is another fabulous as-is flea market find. The guest bedroom is a quirky mix of patterns and furnishings, combining Ikat, floral and geometric prints. A bedroom at the end of the hall and next to the master bathroom was turned into an office/dressing room. The vibrant antique turquoise chandelier is original to the house, and plays beautifully with the pink walls. The black shag rug, oversized ottoman and glamorous white lacquer desk anchors the room. The desk also serves as a vanity.
Both designer and clients are thrilled with the results.
“Invest in pieces you love, and that have multiple functions,” says Francis. “Collect pieces from various eras that will create an environment that looks highly evolved. Look for vintage pieces, and those you can modify with color and/or fabric. It’s OK not to like every hand-me-down that your parents or family gets rid of. Select only those that speak to you.” This proves to be solid advice for young and old alike.
A transparent desk and chair placed in front of large floor to ceiling window in family room lets in the light.
The antique wash stand is a family piece that serves as a bar in the family room; mod chair, lamp, and rugs from Eclectic Home; art work by Jack Cascione.
The family room features playful pattern anchored by a custom sofa form Hickory Chair; custom coffee table and mother of pearl side table from Eclectic Home
Red Italian bar stools and a chandelier made from old bottles add personality to the kitchen.
Homeowner collects ceramic pieces that have a perfect perch on the white marble mantle that is original to the house. Art work by Philippe Bertho.
Silk velvet headboard in master bedroom from Eclectic Home; photograph over bed done by homeowner Austin Kent; arm chair is vintage
A mix of patterns in the guest room.
The turquoise glass chandelier is original to the house and complements the pink walls in the office/dressing room. The white lacquer desk, black shag rug, and large ottoman are from Eclectic Home.
The dining room is painted turquoise. Custom French-style chairs with chalkboard backs, modern dining table and mod glass chandelier, all from Eclectic Home.