Traditional Blend

An update from the 80s gave this large family home’s interior a boost from rich, dark, and heavy to airy, bright, and light. “The house had been quite heavy and traditionally done with very dark colors. It had been in the homeowner’s family for a very long time and they wanted to make it their own,” says interior designer Ashley Ford.

Built in 1982, the home underwent a total remodel and is comfortable, welcoming, and filled with natural light. As a nod to the home’s view of downtown Chattanooga and the river below, a color palette of very soft neutrals with subtle pops of green and blue create a cool mountain air and water feel. Many of the existing furniture pieces were given a facelift, and original features such as marble floors and crystal chandeliers still shine, but are now incorporated alongside more livable pieces.

In the family’s dining room, a rustic reclaimed wood inspired dining table adds a well-worn feel and complements the chic chandelier hanging
above. Both new and old dining chairs flank the table, working together to create a relaxed atmosphere that is a far cry from the red and black oriental toil that once outfitted the space. Embroidered linen draperies soften the decor of the room and feature gray tones which are a common tie throughout the house. “There are deeper grays and browns in the draperies. The tones of gray are brought through the house by the marble, but it gets a little bit richer in here,” Ford says.

Just through the dining room is the family’s bright kitchen, which used to be separated by a swinging butler’s door. Now the open floor plan allows a hint of the kitchen to be seen from the dining area, blending the spaces together.

Dark walnut kitchen cabinets were replaced with creamy white ones, and a solid slab of white quartz serves as the countertop for the large center island flanked by three barstools. A light gray wall color called “crushed ice” complements shimmering white backsplash tiles. An existing kitchen table and chairs are painted a taupe color and covered with a neutral fabric for an understated yet graceful everyday dining space. Vivid orchids in terra cotta pots provide natural floral features in the room. Two large light fixtures above the island were stained by the homeowner to provide the specific deep finish that she wanted.

Keeping function and family in mind, two stainless steel refrigerators accentuate the kitchen – one for drinks and snacks and the other for food used for cooking meals.


Adjacent to the kitchen is a brand new family room. Light colored furniture and layered rugs add texture to this living area. A comfortable seating area centers around a modern fireplace with blue fire glass crystals and looks out expansive windows to a view of downtown Chattanooga.

Cozy Nooks

Although the home is large, it doesn’t lack cozy nooks. In the kitchen, a built-in area serves as a bar and pantry space. A unique wooden countertop and kitchen floors, which are original to the home, tie the area together. Mirrored pantry doors on both sides of the counter reflect light and add to the clear and airy feel the homeowner wanted.

Cocktail Pit

Another small space is created within the large front living room. Because of the room’s size, Ford says she wanted to create four distinct areas for a more intimate feel. A semi-circle couch underneath the main staircase serves as seating for the cocktail pit, making for a great conversation area. Nearby, an heirloom wet bar, which has been in the house since it was built, contains cocktail glasses and spirits.

On the second floor, the master bedroom serves as a serene oasis for the homeowners. Neutral colors and pops of purple and silvery grey run throughout the room, and ample pillows embellish the plush bed and upholstered headboard. Floral artwork decorates the walls, and above the bed a canvas painted by the homeowner adds a personal touch while bringing out the purple tones in the room.

Two white chairs face a white marble fireplace and hanging flat-screen TV for a cozy alcove. A light, fresh feel is apparent in the bedroom, amplified by large windows adorned with white velvety drapes. Symmetry is created by two silver framed full length mirrors on either side of the bed and matching lamps atop the bedside tables.

His-and-her bathrooms connect to the bedroom, creating a total master suite. Older dark wood furniture pieces are now a fresh white. As with other areas of the home, family antiques such as light fixtures are incorporated and reworked in new ways. As Ford puts it, “What makes this house so refreshing and feel so good to be in is that you really have a blend of what is old and traditional done in a fresh new way that is very livable.”