For the Love of Color

The Liberty Park home of Jennifer and Clark Cross is a study in color and fun in an unexpected Hollywood Regency style. 

Written by Joe O’Donnell  Photography by Edward Badham

The love of color is obvious throughout the Liberty Park home of Jennifer and Clark Cross. Designed in a Modern Hollywood Regency style, the open-floor plan of the main floor is a particularly welcoming space.

Interior designer Mandi Smith T loves the expanse of an open-floor plan and the fact that no space is wasted in unused rooms. The main floor features family room, dining room and kitchen, along with the master bedroom and their daughter’s room. Additional bedrooms are upstairs.

“These clients are young and fun and their design style certainly reflects this,” Smith says. “I have had clients in the past say they love color, but these clients truly love color and lots of it. There are pops of unexpected color in every single room which makes it feel modern, while including pieces with an old fashioned Hollywood Regency design. Together it reads as fun and vibrant as these clients’ personality.” 

Smith has been helping the Cross family for several years and has been building a design aesthetic with the couple. They started working with the family room and have since moved to all the rooms on the main floor. Throughout the house there is a boldness in the layering of patterns and colors together. 

“The layers spark visual interest. I also love the use of pink throughout the home as the common unifying thread. It’s very rare a designer gets to use pink as the common unifying color in a home,” Smith says.

“I think color can evoke a feeling much like our other senses. Like when you hear a song from your childhood and it takes you back to that time. So, by surrounding ourselves with colors we love, we can evoke a certain feeling while we are in our home. I have some clients who want their homes to be calm, soothing and serene. While others want their homes to be fresh, cozy and vibrant. For this particular client, both husband and wife are in the medical field and their surroundings during the day are very neutral. So, when they come home, they are craving some color.”

While color helps define the aesthetics of the home, the furnishings are also important. “Many of the casement pieces are in a Hollywood Regency style, which is a throwback to that very glamorous era in Hollywood.  But the use of color punches it up for a more current take on this style,” Smith says.

The foyer is done in a metallic patterned grasscloth. The metallic is very subtle in this pattern but does a nice job of picking up the light from the front door. The pattern is also a fun design. “We selected a tone on tone color because we really wanted the rug and the chairs to be the first thing you noticed when you entered the room. The rug is an overdyed Oushak.  They take an Oushak rug and then redye it with a solid dye, in this case pink.”

From there the unifying thread of pink throughout the house begins. The chairs were re-upholstered in this custom fabric and they too have a metallic gold quality to them, as does the chest, mirror and table lamp.  

The mudroom is the informal entrance the family uses every day to enter the home so it has to also have durable finishes. The bench is done in a sequined pattern vinyl, welted in hot pink for again that unexpected pop. “We also added the glam of Hollywood regency with an ornate ceiling medallion and chandelier, but painted the medallion hot pink and contrasted it with the purple on the ceiling for the modern element. The wall hanging is a hot pink JuJu hat which is worn by royal dancers during Bamileke tribal ceremonies and symbolizes prosperity,” says Smith. 

The hallway is designed with another stretch of grasscloth, but without any pattern other than a hint of metallic thread. Hung in the hallway are favorite photos of the Cross family. The pillows on the church pew bench are repeated from the foyer, with added color in complementary patterns. The space is finished off with two metallic cowhide rugs layered and an antelope carpet (a Hollywood Regency element) on the stairwell.

The dining room is open to the kitchen and family for excellent flow. The family entertains a lot and hosts holiday celebrations. “When we designed this space, Jennifer told me she loved her china and really wanted to show it off.  When I saw the pattern (it’s called Imperial Leaf) and realized that it had the fun colors (and of course pink) that we had already incorporated into other areas of her home, I knew we had to show it off.  So, I found this vintage china hutch (in a rich teal color) and everything fell into place from there,” Smith says.

The kitchen is a hard-working area of the home. Light-toned faux leather covers the seats and backs of the counter stools which also feature a fun, cut velvet pattern. Island pendants add the glam.

The family room is full of personality. Layers and layers of pattern and color are what makes this room special.  “Notice when you are adding lots of color and pattern, it’s important to give your eye something to rest on and we accomplished this by upholstering the larger pieces in the room in neutral fabrics (both neutral color and patterns).  This creates a clean palette so you can then add pop with pillows, artwork, the rug and other smaller pieces like the ottomans.  And, of course, lots of accessories in the bookshelves,” says Smith.

Smith calls the master bedroom the most fun bedroom she has ever designed. The drapery fabric that is an unusual swirl/watercolor pattern of hot pink, pale pink, black and turquoise, soft velvets and a black and white geometric embroidery form a secondary layer.  “Once we had the fabrics established, we selected a bed with that old Hollywood style. The mirrored bedside tables are super practical with lots of storage but glamorous. The dresser in this room is done in a shagreen leather. It’s a soft tone but adds lots of texture.” 

The layered look came into play by adding an accent wall of black and white wallpaper, and plenty of pillows on the bed. The chandelier and mirrored side tables added that all-important Hollywood glam.

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