If I could describe today’s home tour in one word: balance. With a classic neutral backdrop throughout, every room flows seamlessly with just the right amount of color layered in, to serve each space and member of the family. The design genius behind all the beauty? Whitney & Co., our newest creative on The List! Whitney is walking us through the home AND we’re hosting her for our weekly Haven Maven series. Her interview is so inspiring and a must-read. Let’s dive in!
From Whitney & Co.… Two words come to mind when I think about this home when we first saw it. Orange. Everywhere. Even though it was a 90’s cape cod revival, the inside felt like a log cabin. The wood floors, trim, doors, cabinets, railing, pretty much every wood surface in the home was stained a dark orange color. Mix that with a reddish-orange brick fireplace and tan walls, and what we had on our hands was a house that felt heavy and suffocating. We started off the renovation by replacing the wood and tile floors throughout with a European oak in a natural oil finish. Then the walls, trim, and brick fireplace got a fresh coat of white paint. This created a classic and clean backdrop to layer in furnishings.
Besides kids’ spaces, I like to keep a consistent color palette throughout a home so it has continuity. That doesn’t mean every space has the exact same colors, but maybe what is the dominant color in one room can act as just an accent in another. Here we went with blues and greens, soothing tones that people hardly tire of.
Plumbing from two of the upstairs bathrooms ran down through a kitchen wall we had originally planned to rip out, so we got creative and did a peninsula with built in shelves sitting on the counter. Instead of leaving the peninsula’s back side open like you would normally see, we decided to have back to back cabinets on the end under the open shelving, and left the other end open to tuck stools under. This way whoever is eating or sitting down can face each other.
The master bath got a full overhaul including a new vanity, new tile floors laid in a herringbone pattern, an antique claw foot tub, and a plastered shower.
Powder rooms are the perfect place to make gutsy design choices! They are small and you aren’t ever in them for a long time. We did horizontal wall battens here in a moody olive green and mixed with with black and brass accents for a rich feel.
What do you love about being an interior designer and how did you get your start?
I love being able to work with people and work in different design styles. I also love being exposed to all the creativity and craftsmanship out there from art, to ceramics, to furniture or cabinet making. There is so much talent that surrounds us and it’s fun to bring these pieces into client’s homes.
When my husband and I bought our first home, we renovated and I immediately knew I wanted to design. So I went back to school and took some design classes for a few semesters at my community college, and then did a brief internship. Afterward, my husband got me my first job through an acquaintance at his work, and word of mouth and social media helped out from there.
How would you describe your design style?
Classic with a modern edge. It’s all about the mix for me. I love the bones of a home to a lean a little more traditional, but have both traditional and mid-century/modern lines in the furnishings. And I’m a sucker for anything that is handmade, or has patina.
What is your favorite part of the design process? The most challenging?
This would have to be a tie between gathering inspiration for a project, and the final install. There is always so much excitement at the beginning of the design process, and I have a hard time sleeping during this phase because I can’t shut my brain off. Some of the excitement gets lost during all the minute details and hang ups you run into along the way, but when it comes time to install and see the whole vision come to life, the excitement is back!
The most challenging is definitely budgets. More specifically helping someone balance expectations with their budget. No matter how many great ideas you have or how much potential a space has, the reality is money talks and the budget sets the constraints.
Walk us through a typical day in the life of Whitney & Co….
Whew! I wish I could say I have a set schedule, but I don’t. I have 5 kids, and I still have 2 at home. Typically once the older kids are off to school I will check emails in the morning and make phone calls if needed to vendors/contractors. If I have a design meeting, I try to schedule those in the afternoons, and most of my design planning and drafting happens at night once everyone is in bed. Some days can be exhausting, but I love being able to work from home and I love that I am with my kids most of the day.
What is one thing you do to start your morning off on a productive foot?
MAKE MY BED. Seriously it’s a small detail, but once my bed is made I have completed one task and I feel ready to tackle another.
What is your number one tip for crafting a beautiful home?
Be true to your style and stay away from trends! Or at least keep the trends to things in the home that are cheap and easy to change out. Stick to what you love or are always drawn to and you won’t feel discontent. One piece of advice is to think about texture. I think this design element is often overlooked. When a room feels blah, bringing in a different texture will usually solve the problem.
What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned as a business owner?
Make sure people are respected and feel valued (including yourself). It’s so important to know your own worth so you don’t get taken advantage of. And don’t take advantage of other people! Everyone works better together when they know they matter. At the end of the day, a good relationship is what you want to leave behind.
Best advice you’ve ever received:
It will all work out in the end. I know it’s so cliche, but there have been too many instances in my life where I have been crushed by disappointment, only to look back and realize it was just a fork in the road that led to a better place. Or if not a better place, at least a place I can learn and grow from.
What is your proudest accomplishment to date?
This month marks my 11th anniversary! I’m proud to say I still am just as in love and have just as much fun today as I did on day 1 (if not more).
Besides that, I’m very proud that I ever got one client. It’s always scary to put yourself out there creatively, and the fact that even one person hired me to help them makes me feel so grateful.
If you could go to lunch with any boss babe in the world, who would it be and why?
This is a tough one, and I don’t know that I can choose! I will say as of right now, I want to meet Heather Bullard and go to one of her photography workshops. She holds one in France every year, and it’s on my bucket list. I have photographed all my own work thus far (don’t judge too harshly!) so I would love to learn from her styling and photography skills.
If you had to use only ONE paint color throughout a home, what would it be?
Benjamin Moore White Dove. It’s never done me wrong yet!
Instagram account(s) you’re currently crushing on:
@whittneyparkinsondesign, @parkandoakdesign, @jeanstofferdesign, @kaemingkdesign, @mckenziedove
Current favorite book and/or podcast:
Fiction books – I love anything by Kate Morton. Podcast – A Well-Designed Business
3 apps you can’t live without:
Instagram, Pinterest, Adobe Photoshop
Favorite beats usually playing in the studio:
Def Leppard, The Eagles, Journey, on repeat!