This Couple Simplified an Ornate Home to Let Their Antiques Shine

A Dallas couple turns to antiques to keep the momentum of history alive and continue the story in their reimagined home.

Nikki Peterman loves a good story. So as she and her husband searched for a new home in Dallas, they decided to look for a place that already had a story to tell.

They landed on a property that checked a key box. The home was situated on a sizable lot in a private, gated community. But the house needed work: Better architecture to start and an updated design scheme with an authentic reflection of the couple's taste.

"We didn't love the house in the state that it was," Nikki says. "But I liked the idea of turning its page to a new chapter."

entryway with rustic table
Kerry Kirk

Enter designer Kristin Mullen, who lived across the street from the Petermans at the time. Based on the interiors Mullen had completed in her home, the Petermans knew their neighbor's style would translate beautifully into their rooms.

Step one was to strip down Italianate features, including elaborate moldings, lavish decoration, and cast stone on the exterior. A less ornate look suited the Petermans, especially Nikki, who wanted a simpler backdrop for her collections.

A self-described antiques enthusiast, Nikki says her affinity comes from the responsibility she feels to pass history along to a new generation. Informed perhaps by her French lineage and an uncle who was an antiques dealer in New York, Nikki loves the thrill of the hunt. She's always on the lookout—at shops and antiques fairs—to add to her array of discoveries.

homeowner portrait
Homeowner Nikki Peterman. Kerry Kirk

"I love that antiques have already lived a lifetime," Nikki says. "They are so much more to me than beautiful objects. I imagine who owned a piece before me and know that its patina comes from hands that transported it from one place to another."

To provide a pretty environment for every object and piece of furniture, Mullen carefully considered the palette. She aimed to take the interiors in a new direction from the muddy colors of terra-cotta, mustard, and dark wood that were in the Petermans' previous home. Now, creamy ivory and warm oatmeal welcome subtle interruptions of blue in pale and slate tones. White walls in a textural finish recall a sense of age matched by decorative appointments.

dining area next to stairway
Kerry Kirk

A zinc-top florist table nestles into the contour of the curved staircase. "I think the tendency of decorating a grand staircase is to avoid furnishing it so it maintains its presence," Mullen says. "Here, we made it emphasize the garden things that Nikki loves."

sitting area with brick fireplace
Kerry Kirk

In the living room, architecture, albeit grand, recedes into the background to allow the furniture arrangement to shine. A new plaster finish covers a travertine fireplace to celebrate its form without overpowering. Arched windows were left intentionally bare so the Petermans can enjoy views of nature. Caramel tones on reproduction commodes complement a pair of sofas covered in pale blue velvet. The commodes blend beautifully with true antiques—capitals from old columns that are used as cocktail tables, an old daybed, and Italian panels capped by gold-leaf crowns. The assembly of furniture is accessorized with shells and coral, which Nikki collects for their natural beauty.

The hint of blue in the living room was enough to make it a quiet star throughout the house. "Nikki likes color but wanted it to be calm," Mullen says. "The house glowed from the white walls, and there was so much warmth from the floors and doors that I had bleached. Adding blue brought in prettiness and nodded to nature, which was important to Nikki."

office area with large window
Kerry Kirk

Flooded with morning light, Nikki's office shows off the texture of a stone wall and natural-fiber shades.

dining area with vintage dining set
Kerry Kirk

In the dining room, a sisal rug banded in blue leather and window panels edged in decorative tape define the antique Swedish dining table and chairs. A tall mirror with a weathered finish reflects an elegant crystal chandelier, arched doors, and bleached-oak floors and ceiling. A nearby alcove supports the color with a chinoiserie panel hung above a Swedish daybed.

large blue cupboards
Kerry Kirk

Around the corner, an existing pantry cabinet was altered from brown to a chalky slate blue. Antiqued mirrors add a sophisticated moment of glamour on the pantry cabinet.

bedroom with thin bed frame
Kerry Kirk

The restful color also soothes in two bedrooms. The primary bedroom dabbles in the ethereal hue with a barely-there tint on a striped linen fabric that upholsters the Swedish bench at the foot of the bed. A graceful and lyrical bed's lines are softened with sheer linen panels and a curvy headboard. An antique child's bed from Belgium reigns in the alcove.

"I spend a lot of time in the bedroom," Nikki says. "I'll be in there on weekends shopping on my computer and relaxing. Plus, it has wonderful views of the outdoors, and nature speaks to me."

bedroom with patterned artwork
Kerry Kirk

A guest room uses blue in a deeper value. Nikki's passion for organic and low-key living emerges in this room, where natural linens flow with ease. A pair of panels that lived in the entry of the Petermans' former home found new purpose as a dynamic headboard.

sitting area with rustic elements
Kerry Kirk

The most intense display of blue crescendos in the family room. A sofa, comfortable for TV viewing, wears a vibrant blue linen and is made extra cozy with an assortment of coordinating pillows. But the real wow factor comes from two pieces aged to decorative glory: A bright blue credenza boasts a finish that adds depth through its imperfections, and an arresting fireplace surround from Belgium trumpets its age through layers of crusty concrete that reveal bolts of Prussian blue.

island and table in kitchen
Kerry Kirk

While the kitchen forgoes any moments of the home's accent color, it continues the theme of antiques and, thus, warm texture. Casement windows from France work as doors in upper cabinets. An old draper's table serves as a second island. Beams add charm on the ceiling and frame the nearby breakfast nook, where a custom banquette offers a cozy spot to look out to the pool.

dining area with large window
Kerry Kirk

Outlined by old beams and corbels, the breakfast nook glows with natural sunlight that streams through a wall of windows. A custom banquette with a gathered skirt and reproduction dining chairs offer seating at the antique table.

homeowner Nikki Peterman

The antiques came to me with history. I want to add to their stories.

—homeowner Nikki Peterman
outdoor pavilion next to pool
Kerry Kirk

The backyard features gardens and a calming pool.

The Petermans' tenure at this house has just begun, but the interiors proudly wear centuries of beauty.

"Antiques are timeless to me," Nikki says. "I love the idea of heirlooms, and passing down something that is antique to begin with is extra special. It's important to keep history alive."

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles