House Tours: A Home that Masters Pattern Mixing

Designer and homeowner
A northern Michigan home makes the most of its black, white, and tan color scheme by mixing and matching patterns.

Curb Appeal

It took more than a year to design and build Cathy and Brad Spanski's dream home on the banks of Michigan's Grand Traverse Bay. "We wanted a unique feel to the exterior," Cathy says. "The rounded dormers are one of our favorite parts." Inside, they wanted a decor that was fun and functional and highlighted the views of the bay. Cathy selected a palette of black, white, and khaki that could be applied throughout the home. Then she turned to friend and interior designer Kristin Lutz to help polish the look.

Mix and Match Masterpiece

Cathy had trouble picking the home's interior color theme until she took a peek into her closet. "I wear lots of black, and white is the perfect color to pair with it," she says. Khaki walls and yellow and pink accents complete the dramatic palette. In the living room, Cathy slipcovered the sofa and several comfy chairs from their old home in crisp white fabric. Then she added window treatments, throw pillows, and accessories in a variety of black and white patterns.

Traditional with a Twist

"I wanted to connect the rooms using overlapping patterns," homeowner Cathy Spanski says. "Even though the patterns are different, they work really well together." Oversize damask on the window treatments adds a fun twist to the formal pattern. A burlap valance adds tactile texture to the palette of fabrics.

Perk Up Patterns

Accent pillows are a great way to add spunk to a living room. Cathy blended contemporary with conventional by using traditional patterns in updated perky palettes. She personalized the setting by embroidering the family initial on one of the pillows.

Editor's Tip: When mixing patterns within the same color palette, choose patterns that vary in scale. This will add interest to the mix. Here the oversize paisley, small floral, and solids create a casual mix for the living room.

Pops of Color

Pattern packs a punch against khaki-color walls. Above the fireplace, three mirrors in graduated sizes add classic glamour to the room and expand the feel of the space. "Use neutral colors for the bones of the house," interior designer Kristin Lutz says. "Then pop it with color and trendy accessories." Yellow accent pillows and purple flowers are the splashes of color in this room.

Easy Wall Art

In a hallway, a gallery of family pictures shows off the family's interests and personality. The settee creates an inviting atmosphere, while the mix of accent pillows adds color and comfort.

Get the Look: Create this look by placing decorative scrapbook paper or wallpaper behind photos. Use black-and-white photos and frames to give the space a uniform look.

Add Personal Style

With a color combo like black and white, it's easy to make a space feel formal. But homeowner Cathy Spanski created the opposite feel with unexpected accessories, such as the zebra-print rug. To further personalize the dining room--and stay on budget--Cathy and designer Kristin Lutz revamped retail pieces to create one-of-a-kind accents. The chandelier received mod new shades, and the chairs were reupholstered in modern floral.

Initials as Patterns

The S monogrammed on white denim on a dining room chair back functions as an elegant pattern. It's also a nice contrast to the floral pattern on the other chairs. An easy way to re-cover dining chairs is to remove the seat cushion and wrap new fabric around them. Use a staple gun to attach the fabric to the seat and back.

Outdoor Dining

This porch incorporates the same burlap texture used on window treatments inside. The tablecloth creates a cohesive aura between interior and exterior spaces.

Kitchen Color Kudos

Golden yellow was a favorite hue from the family's former residence, so they decided to pair it with this home's black-and-white color scheme. The kitchen was an ideal space for a splash of cheery yellow walls. Cathy stuck with black-and-white countertop accessories, light fixtures, and linens. Even the upper cabinets and kitchen island maintained the black-and-white theme.

Texture-Rich Bedroom

Like fun patterns, a variety of textures will instantly update a room's ambience, interior designer Kristin Lutz says. In the master bedroom, the flokati rug, mirrored side tables, burlap drapery panels, and cotton bed linens combine to create a cozy feel.

Pattern Play

In the master bedroom, paisley dominates the walls, striped pillows rest atop the bed, and spots of yellow continue the home's theme. "Paisley is a more traditional pattern, but this one has a contemporary, oversize edge to it," homeowner Cathy Spanski says. The rich layering of pattern keeps what could be a stark color combination feeling cozy and intimate.

New Take on Traditional

Interior designer Kristin Lutz recommends mixing traditional and modern furnishings. "Using old and new items reads collected rather than stylized," she says. A vintage stool contrasts elegantly with a mod round mirror.

Brilliant Bathroom Decor

A splash of warm yellow and a large mirror above the sink open up the small bathroom. The black-and-white-marbled countertop is a clever way to continue the home's theme in this room.

Hot Pink Accents

Large-scale damask wallpaper creates a border around the home office. Using wallpaper only on the top half of the walls keeps the pattern from becoming overpowering. To make this space her own, Cathy replaced the yellow accents with sassy pink pieces.

Meet Cathy and Kristin

Cathy Spanski's (left) wanted to create an elegant home that was warm and inviting. She consulted her friend, interior designer Kristin Lutz (right), to help her. "Sometimes it helps to have someone else say, 'This is beautiful!' or 'What about this?'" Cathy says. "Bouncing ideas off of someone else often gives you the confidence you need to make decisions."

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