Bold Hues Abound in This Project Built for Two

When designers Jacy Painter Kelly and Kerri Robusto were first approached by their home builder client to design the interiors of a model home that was about to be completed, the design duo jumped at the opportunity. For the last few years, the friends turned design partners (they founded 431 Designs) have completed the interiors for several model homes in North and South Carolina, so the task was nothing new to them. They were familiar with creating eye-catching designs that combine comfort and style while sticking to a budget.

But unlike the duo’s previous model home projects, which required designing for a potential family, this time the client requested the interiors appeal to an empty-nester demographic. “That was who their market research said would be the potential buyer, so that’s what we had to run with,” explains Kelly. Though it was a different type of homeowner they would be designed for, they knew they could easily create a seamless design that appealed to not only empty nesters but growing families, as well.
The first order of business: choosing a colour palette. “We really wanted to focus on [the] Sherwin-Williams colour of the year at the time: Coral Reef,” says Robusto. “It’s such a fun colour to use and incorporate into a home.” Without hesitation, the designers added bold doses of the colour throughout the entire home starting with the downstairs living spaces. “We fell in love with the drapery fabric in the family room and went from there,” says Kelly of the chinoiserie-inspired pattern. “The draperies have a lot going on in them so we wanted to balance them with fairly solid and neutral furnishings.” Organic materials coupled with semi-modern metallic accents throughout the home help balance the boldness of the coral such as in the family room where a wooden console and gold geometric fireplace screen anchor the space.
The kitchen exemplifies the designers’ coupling of these same materials with the coral. Chunky wooden counter stools balance the colourful valance above the kitchen sink and the rug in the dining area, while silver accents are strewn throughout in the form of stainless-steel appliances and pendant lights over the island. “This space is completely open into the family room so it needed to keep the same tone found throughout the rest of the home,” explains Kelly. “It’s a great mix of reclaimed wood with some glam pieces.”
Upstairs, the designers were more adventurous with the coral, painting the master bathroom walls in the vibrant hue while white subway tiles and counters offer a fresh, modern juxtaposition. In the adjacent master, Robusto and Kelly kept the base neutral and added in pops of colour with the geometric print rug, which anchors the bed and provides some interest and an additional layer to the design. Mirrored nightstands provide an instant glam factor to the aesthetic without overdoing it. “It’s a pretty casual room and design so those mirrored nightstands just really elevated the style of the room,” says Kelly.
The designers integrated coral via accessories and fabrics including the chinoiserie-inspired pattern on the living room draperies.

Not So Neutral
If working with colour sounds daunting, you may be inclined to ditch the colour wheel and keep it neutral. But remember that colour gives character. Here, Robusto and Kelly detail their interior colour pitfalls—and how to avoid them.

The Easter Egg Effect
Colour is fun. But too much of anything can be no good. “Having different colours in each room or too many different coloured accent walls can be very busy and overwhelming,” says Robusto. “Use different shades in the same family instead.”

Far Too Light
You jumped the first hurdle of utilising more than a single hue in your home. But you can always go a bit deeper—with your shade, that is. “Generally, most people are afraid of dark paint,” says Robusto. “But in the right room conditions and decor, a darker paint makes a bolder statement.”

Attention to Detail
Colour doesn’t always have to mean paint. “You can use pops of colour in textiles like drapery, throw pillows, and rugs, as well as the art,” says Kelly. “I think the trend is moving toward a bigger mix of neutrals now that there are so many textures being used on furniture and soft goods.”

The duo had the most fun decorating the entertainment room. A custom-made sectional with piping in the coral hue is the star of the room while the peacock feather patterned fabric on the window treatments really amplifies the colour in the space. “It’s such a fun room to relax in and entertain in,” says Kelly. “And who doesn’t love a zebra rug?” Throw pillows in various patterns and textures add yet another layer of detail to the space.
Overall, the designers—and, most importantly, the client—were thrilled with the result. “It really appeals to not only the empty nester, first and foremost, but it’s still a fantastic design for families,” says Robusto.