Happily Ever After

One family finds the perfect home for the next chapter of family life.

Written and Photographed by Graham Yelton

For many families, creating a gorgeous and cozy space that can withstand toddlers, canines and company exists only in fairytales. Messy boys and fine upholstery rarely coexist in harmony.

Well, once upon a time there was a real-world family of four living in the distant land of Liberty Park…

They loved their picture-perfect neighborhood, complete with sidewalks and parks, but with two boys and a dog, they had outgrown their current space. A freshly built home became available just down the street, and it had the potential to be a good fit.

“We loved the flow of the home, but, to be honest, it looked a lot like any other home you would find. It was built to appeal to the masses. We wanted the home to fit our family and our lifestyle a little bit better.”

Enter Dana Walters, interior design superhero.

Before the family moved in, Dana worked with them to add character and customize the home to suit their needs. The wimpy fireplace was covered with limestone, and a window was added on the left for symmetry. In the casual dining space, a custom velvet banquette was installed to soften all the hard surfaces in the kitchen. In an effort to give the house a more soothing and cohesive feel, every wall and cabinet received a fresh coat of a paint.

Once the larger projects were complete, the family continued to work with Dana to pick out furnishings and accessories. The two big priorities were comfort and style.

The entrance sets the stage for both. The double doors open to a velvet sofa (commercial-grade fabric for durability) and a wall of locally sourced art. Floor-to-ceiling gauzy curtains soften the light flooding into the foyer and create a soothing atmosphere.

The hallway displays dramatically hung sepia-tone photos of the two boys. The space opens up to the heart of the house: the kitchen, casual eating space and family room. Most of the living happens here, so all the fabrics are commercial grade and easy to clean, even the slate-gray velvet on the banquette. “We’ve had several birthday parties for the boys here. You can shove a million kids on there with frosting and ice cream and its not a problem. It just wipes right off.”

The family room is filled with cozy seating that begs you to lounge and stay a while. A small library of large books sit on the locally made coffee table. Other than the flatscreen TV hanging above the limestone fire place, there is no visible sign of technology. It’s cleverly hidden in the antique chest of drawers so that the boys can hone their gaming skills without cramping mom’s style. And perhaps the most interesting piece in the home is the giant steer horns which came from the family cattle business back in Texas.

Naturally, the home became the holiday gathering place for family and friends. A daunting and stressful responsibility for anyone. “Dana was really great because everything she helped us find is kid- and dog-friendly. I really don’t have to worry about a thing. And it’s been very easy for people to be relaxed in this home.”

Regardless, the general stresses of juggling work, Cub Scouts and football practices can get to a person. During such times the couple can retreat to their bedroom, an oasis of plush fabrics and comfort. The wall-to-wall curtains serve to soften the room but, more important, they hide two windows that aren’t quite centered in the room. The bedding and pillows are custom, but the mirror was a Restoration Hardware find. It simply needed a coat of white paint to set it off on the background of curtains. Double doors open up to a cozy office, where mom schedules, plans and coordinates.

As with every fairytale, this family is sure to live happily ever after. Yes, the dog might make a mess of the rug or wine will spill on the sofa; these things will happen. The age-old struggle between form and function isn’t going anywhere. But this Liberty Park family has found the sweet spot between fairytale and real life.

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