muted and subtle while still achieving a warm, classic and timeless feel
Article by Tamara Day
Photography by Paul Versluis
Holy water issues! This French Provincial house built in 1969 was a bear. There were significant water issues that mainly caused problems in the basement but that resulted in settling and shifting throughout the house over the years.
Design-wise, this house definitely has much less color in the actual structure and finishes than our first two houses this season, and a more subtle approach to the design – but no less striking! I went with a fairly neutral pattern and palette because when I think of France, I think of very elegant spaces that aren’t overdone with color and pattern but more textural and over-the-top in style, without going over-the-top in color. A lot of my choices were about the fluidity of the design – making sure each space transitioned from one to the next. There is a lot of movement through the hardwood floors and the stone slabs used in multiple spaces. Maybe I was inspired by all the water issues in the house to have that fluid vibe – but overall, I wanted to be more muted and subtle while still achieving a warm, classic and timeless feel, and I think we accomplished that.
Art: Catie Radney | Light Fixtures: Wilson Lighting | Wallpaper: Thibaut Union Square Sage | Trim Pain Color: Snowbound (Sherwin Williams)
You see the traditional and elegant finishes for this home as soon as you walk in the door. The black handrails, the white spindles and the white trim work are very crisp and clean. The beautiful foyer was one of those spaces where there were cracks that had developed over time, so my design for that staircase wasn’t just decorative. The grid pattern trim work hid the issues while complemented the french chateau feeling. I think maybe my favorite element of this house though was the trim work on that staircase. It was so well done and so beautiful and made an otherwise boring staircase a true statement for the home. When I was designing this house, the exterior had a beautiful lattice-work pattern on the garage that I felt was very indicative of it’s French Provincial style so I tried to tie that into several different elements of the house including this grid work and the embossing pattern of the wallpaper and the squares in the light fixtures you see in the dining room.
The other big change you’ll notice is the gorgeous hardwood floor. Originally, we thought we were going to be able to save the hardwoods throughout the first floor but unfortunately when we started getting into the renovation, they were the thinnest hardwoods I’ve ever seen. It was like pulling up cardboard! It tore like paper and literally popped up, so unfortunately it was impossible to save, which meant that I had a hit to my budget. BUT it was definitely a win at the end of the day for style because we were able to install these gorgeous hickory hardwood floors throughout the entire first and second floor. This is the largest square footage change to the entire house that we made. I think it was well worth the splurge because it created a fluidity throughout the entire house so that every room moved together perfectly.
This formal living room off the left of the foyer really was a tiny closed off space before, and now it creates an open flow between the family and living room that makes everything more inviting. I do feel like we maintained a formal vibe with that beautiful halo light fixture. It was a bit of a challenge to find something that was wide enough and made a statement without hanging too low because the ceiling height is only 8 feet. This was the perfect fixture because it was the touch of elegance, a little bit on the fancy side but still flush with the ceiling.
I chose to do the four chairs in a conversation style sitting area that I think is fantastic and the beautiful leather ottoman is a go-to because it’s actually a slip cover so you can pull it off and do something different by season which is a unique versatility to find in a big piece like this. I love the blush leather for spring/summer and something like a charcoal for fall/winter.
The family room…oh goodness, so beautiful! The chairs are from my retail store, Growing Days Home. Then these built-in bookcases were a huge addition to the space. They bring a sense of symmetry and division between the family room and living room, and I love the Addison Weeks pulls we added to make a statement. Even though there’s a wall, this is one of those features that really anchors the space and draws your eye to the gorgeous quartz slab we used for the fireplace surround. The horizontal movement of this slab instead of a bookmatch pattern is very subtle and fluid, thus moving your eye across the room instead of splitting it down the center. The light pouring in really adds to the beauty of this entire first floor.
The other thing you’ll notice in here is that I did not go with an amazing light fixture in this space. We just did can lights because I didn’t want to interrupt the eye from the kitchen to the family room in front of that fireplace. The fireplace is wired for television – behind that artwork is all the wiring you could want and I imagine someone is going to put a TV on that mantle. But I always love a beautiful artwork feature as well. This is actually a very similar layout to my own living room – two couches, two chairs, with the fireplace in the center. And I love the way that flows for a living space!
Countertop + Backsplash Stone: Daltile® Natural Quartzite Slabs – White Macaubas | Bay Window Backsplash Tile: Daltile® Revalia™ 1 x 4 Picket Mosaic in Calming White | Light Fixtures: Wilson Lighting | Wall Color + Painted Cabinets: Snowbound (Sherwin Williams)
Wow, wow, wow! You notice no uppers on the wall with the prep sink. The stone was so beautiful, I didn’t want to interrupt the movement of that quartz with shelves. Originally we did have them planned there, and they were even installed but they were the wrong size. So instead we were able to cut them down and put them over by the main sink in the bay window, leaving the prep sink wall open so it actually makes the kitchen feel wider and bigger. With so much storage in this kitchen, it really wasn’t necessary to clutter it up with more stuff on shelves. Having the island in the center is also so nice because that’s where the kids gravitate and then they’re right in the center of it all.
One of the reasons I chose to do a valance over the kitchen sink was because obviously a slab of quartz isn’t that long so the seam is hidden above that window by the valance, giving the illusion of being a solid slab all the way across the kitchen. I chose to do the light birch cabinets because I felt it had a more French vibe but did a two-tone with white cabinets on the uppers and island and pantry. For a fun surprise: inside the pantry when you open it up is some beautiful wallpaper on the back wall and if I had a little bit more time I would have painted the interior doors and sidewalls with dry erase paint or maybe a cork board because that’s the perfect place to have great calendar system or organization for the family.
Side note – Weave Gotcha Covered did all the window treatments in this house and my favorite is this one in the kitchen, which I actually took home and put over my kitchen window – and it looks just as pretty!
Tile Floor: Daltile® Color Wheel™ 1.5” Hex Mosaic in Matte Arctic White + Daltile® Color Wheel™ 1.5” Hex Mosaic in Matte Architect Gray | Countertop: Daltile® Natural Quartzite Slabs – White Macaubas | Wallpaper: Thibaut Narragansett Beige
Mud Space / Laundry Room
The laundry room was one of those spaces that I wanted to have some unexpected design elements, but be calm and elegant. I think these light fixtures with the rivets and gold were really elegant for the space and doing two flush mounts in a small space really makes it stand out. Utility wise, we completely maximized the space with full-size stackable washer/dryer AND a prep sink AND a mud space! That killer tile laid out in a fun rug-like pattern really makes this a space that is interesting and fun. This blue door paint wasn’t done in time for filming, but was part of the original design and was able to be finished after the fact – I just love it! The blue really adds that French Provincial vibe and a little bit more personality. Lastly, we finished the space with the beautiful Thibaut wallpaper is a subtle khaki on white which looks fantastic with all the natural light coming in through the door.
Wallpaper: Thibaut Aster Soft Blue
This was a challenging space because of the header located on the one wall where you’d want to put the headboard. We went through a lot of versions of plans for this space. We contemplated whether to do built-in nightstands or not, but we knew we really wanted to do the sconces highlighting the nightstands. The final product turned out lovely I think – we’ve easily fit a king-size bed with beautiful nightstands, and by utilizing the sconces you have lots of tabletop space on your nightstands which is very practical. And then this wallpaper is one of my favorites! We’ve used it in the past in a different colorway, but this light blue really brings the room to life and completely changed the entire feeling of the main bedroom. The main bedroom before the wallpaper was installed was fine, but as soon as the wallpaper went in there was an instant calming effect because the paper felt so warm, inviting and subtly elegant. The other thing to notice – the circles in the wallpaper mimic the circle shape of the light fixture, and the cabinet pulls on the dresser beside the bathroom – there was an intentional repetition to that.
We topped the room off with this crown of raffia wrapped light fixture! It feels like something old and new all in one – like you might have found it at a vintage shop in Paris. Being able to do such a fun light really changes the vibe of the entire space. Overall, because it’s such a large bedroom, we were also able to have a nice sitting area and a bench at the end of the bed, and then over in the corner you get a peek into that gorgeous main bathroom.
Countertop: Daltile® ONE Quartz Surfaces® Micro Flecks in Morning Frost | Vanity Backsplash & Bathroom Floor: Daltile® Marble 3 x 6 in First Snow Elegance (Honed) | Wainscot on Walls: Daltile® Lavaliere™ Diamond Mosaic | Wainscoting Trim: Daltile® Marble ¾ x 12 Pencil Rail in First Snow Elegance (Polished) | Vanity Mirrors: Available from Growing Days Home | Vanity Hardware: Addison Weeks Hardware | Storage Cabinet Pulls: Addison Weeks Hardware | Vanity Paint Color: Silver Strand (Sherwin Williams)
Talk about a transformation! When you look at this dark, dated…overall just “bleh” bathroom you can hardly believe it’s the same space. Before the wallpaper made the room feel so dark and dated, but we brightened it up in a big way with this beautiful marble and brass tile, the soft beautiful paint color and bright white countertops. The marble throughout really lightens up the space and these gorgeous Gabby mirrors reflect all the light. I went with this full diamond pattern brass and marble surrounding the room because it felt elegant (like you might be in a fancy French hotel!) and then added even more wow factor with the Addison Weeks pulls.
The space between the vanity, the toilet and the shower was interesting because we wanted to create privacy but not close off the space. To solve that, we did a sliding frosted glass door that gives you privacy between the toilet and vanity but still let’s light through, and then a second door that swings into the shower creating three separate spaces in one.
Little side note in this bathroom, you can see several Mer-sea candles and hand soaps. Mer-sea is a local KC company with style, grace and beautiful products that I love.
Shower Wall: Daltile® Marble 3 x 6 in First Snow Elegance (Polished) | Shower Floor: Daltile® Marble 1 x 1 Mosaic in First Snow Elegance (Honed) | Shower Wall Trim: Daltile® Marble ¾ x 12 Pencil Rail in First Snow Elegance (Polished)
What a luxurious shower! I wanted to make the shower feel calm and neutral since we have SO much bold pattern on the perimeter of the room, but we still installed a splash of that diamond pattern tile in the little shower nook – what a great storage area that is with the cute little benches.
Island Countertop: altile® ONE Quartz Surfaces® Micro Flecks in Morning Frost | Light Fixture: Wilson Lighting | Ceiling Wallpaper: Thibaut Sakura Grey
This space was previously a bedroom that we converted it into a fabulous closet and laundry room for the second floor. What a selling feature to have a washer/dryer in the main closet on the second floor and stackable full-size set on the first floor! When you combine that functionality with the luxe wallpapered ceiling, brass light fixture and closet island with a quartz top – who wouldn’t want to call this their own? The light fixture is made out of unlaquered brass so over the years it will age and patina just like any old french light fixture would and give it even more character and charm.
Countertop: Daltile® ONE Quartz Surfaces® Micro Flecks in Morning Frost | Wainscot & Shower Wall: Daltile® Color Wheel™ 1 x 3 Herringbone Mosaic in Arctic White | Bathroom Floor: Daltile® Color Wheel™ 1.5” Hex Mosaic in Matte Suede Gray | Vanity Hardware: Addison Weeks
This beautiful hall bathroom with the gorgeous pink walls, white herringbone tile, gray hexagon tile and that gorgeous blue vanity – what a fun space! It’s definitely a space that has a little bit more of a feminine vibe but I felt like with a house like this you could go more feminine because it’s very easy to change this over to a more masculine feeling bathroom with just a little paint. All of the mirrors and light fixtures have more of a masculine vibe to them, and the tile can easily go with different color palettes.
Twenty20 need two images.
Basement Floor: Daltile® Saddle Brook XT™ 6 x 36 in Oak Trail XT
The basement was the biggest nightmare! Major water issues turned the backyard into a pond and cost a fortune in water mitigation, but at the end of the project we had a beautifully finished basement space. We chose to do the black trim work because it gave an anchor to the space, which we paired with a bright white paint on the walls and ceiling with no trim work on the ceiling intentionally so that the black trim anchored the space – giving it substance and then it really pops against the white walls which bring the eye up. We added an entire bedroom, full bathroom, a game space, a living room, storage and a work out room – all with beautiful hardwood-looking tile.
Countertop: Daltile® ONE Quartz Surfaces® Micro Flecks in Morning Frost | Vanity Backsplash: Daltile® Color Wheel™ 1 x 3 Lattice Weave Mosaic in Matte Black | Shower Wall: Daltile® Color Wheel™ 3 x 6 Beveled in Arctic White | Bathroom Floor: Daltile® Saddle Brook XT™ 6 x 36 in Oak Trail XT
We wanted to tie in the black from the trim work someplace so we painted the vanity black and did this gorgeous black tile on the backsplash wall. Unfortunately, the mirror didn’t get hung in time but on the bright side you can admire this unique tile pattern and contrast with the bright brass faucet.
In the end, throughout the whole house there is a vibe of movement from the hardwood floors flowing peacefully between all the spaces to the beautiful quartz countertops and backsplash and fireplace hearth having that very fluid movement in the veining, and even in the foyer having the beautiful fluid watercolor style valances – who knows, maybe all the water issues inspired me to creating a design with so much fluidity! Either way, I love how it turned out and I hope you did too.
Seeking to make the aspirational attainable for her clients, fans and the future homebuyers of her notorious renovation projects, Tamara Day specializes in large, neglected houses that would intimidate most.
A talented designer and host of HGTV's hit show, Bargain Mansions, and a busy wife and mother of four, Tamara's "laid back luxe" style is synonymous with blending...