Dark Paint Colors Add Unconventional Style to This Traditional Home
She loves pink. He prefers dark neutrals. Their designer kept them both happy.
Lisa and Matt Hall had a strategy when it came to decorating their St. Louis-area home: They agreed to disagree. He has a taste for dark, traditional decor; she delights in anything pink. Their interior designer Amie Corley took the unconventional approach of not meeting in the middle, instead giving them the palettes and patterns they each wanted.
Rather than have them seek mutual approval on every last piece, Corley showed the couple how some rooms could embody Matt's aesthetic and others could be all Lisa's. "Trying to get both parties to agree not only stalls the process but also waters down the design and results in nobody being thrilled," Corley says.
Matt has long admired the colors and style associated with fashion designer Ralph Lauren. The couple decided that the formal living areas and the master suite would overtly reflect those preferences. Corley combined rich, saturated colors like midnight blue, olive green, and cognac with sophisticated antique rugs and dark wood furnishings.
Their living room has a sense of drama and formality, with its moldings and curtains matched to inky walls (painted in Black Blue 95 from Farrow & Ball). Corley heightened the glamour of blue-black walls with a velvet sofa and Oushak rug. "The mossy green and dusky pink are muddy, almost dirty, so they feel sophisticated," she says. A bubble chandelier tempers the seriousness.
Lisa favors a Palm Beach look. She revels in a bright version of preppy, in which trellis patterns and palm fronds are executed in bold lines and color is crisp, clear, and preferably pink. "I get excited by things like hot pink pillows," she says. So Corley brought pink accents into every room. "Matt wouldn’t have picked pink art for the kitchen," Corley says. "But it’s OK for one person to have more of a say in one room than another."
The family appreciates the simplicity of the white kitchen, a neutral zone among the bold-color rooms. In the breakfast nook, the vibrancy of a painting by Sally King Benedict is pure Lisa; the subject (a tennis court) speaks to Matt.
Corley's approach means that each room has its own distinct character yet subtly threads the couple's tastes into a cohesive whole. "You get a wildly different energy in the family room than in the living room, but they don't feel like they belong in different homes," Matt says.
The floral wallpaper, walnut table, and glass chandelier signal a traditional dining room, but white furniture and a pale pink ceiling (Matt read that everyone looks better under one) supply unexpected breeziness. "Although the wallpaper is floral, the deep teal shade gives it gravitas," Corley says. Because it is the same intensity, nubby chair upholstery in salmon balances the walls. A midnight blue lampshade connects this space to the living room.
The light-filled family room that leads to the pool satisfies Lisa's appetite for zippy colors and preppy patterns with its blue sofa and equally bold pink pillows. China blue and aqua upholstery hint at the backyard pool and landscaping. Vacation memories endear Matt to its bright, beachy feel.
The Connaught Hotel in London inspired the navy and marble tile and brass fixtures, which were left unlacquered so the finish changes over time. Corley uses antique Oriental rugs in high-traffic areas because "they last forever and already have a ton of wear, so you aren't afraid they’ll get destroyed." A pink upholstered chair brings dressing room glamour to the moody-blue closet.