Moving is hard enough. Add a child under two, a major holiday, and a super-tight deadline, and you’ve got all the makings of a full-on disaster. “We sold our previous bungalow, and the buyer would not do a lease back,” recalls Houston, Texas, designer of her family’s transition from their 1920s cottage to a more spacious four-bedroom house in the same leafy neighborhood. “When we closed on the sale of our new house, we then had two weeks to make it move-in ready. We had crews painting on Thanksgiving to enable us to move in on time—bless their souls!”
Thankfully the 3,600-square-foot house wasn’t in need of all-consuming structural work—just an aesthetic overhaul to bring the circa-2000 construction in line with Sims’s penchant for traditional design with a preppy spin. (The kitchen, however, required a little more finesse: Once moved-in, Sims replaced the cabinetry, countertops, plumbing, and hardware to improve the room’s flow and make it more conducive to entertaining.) She painted the walls in the family room in Farrow & Ball’s Hague Blue for an elegant dose of drama, then carried the color from the lower cabinetry in the kitchen to the bar in the dining room to create a sense of continuity throughout the first level. “Varying the finishes keeps things from feeling too formulaic,” says Sims.
Another concession to the unpredictable: Interior doors throughout the house were painted in Benjamin Moore’s Palladian Blue, a hue Sims says is a “dead-ringer match to [her] wedding china.” She adds, “I always love to paint interior doors a contrasting color. It’s unexpected and adds architectural detail.” To make that bold choice more palatable for the rest of the home, she incorporated nods to the shade with fabric and wallpaper selections, including the palm-themed covering in the master bath and the bamboo chinoiserie in the entry. “I love what the color and pattern of wallpaper brings to a space,” she says. “I also think it speaks to the traditional architecture of the house.”
Much of the furniture on display follows suit, from the vintage Napoleon III side chairs in the master bedroom to the settee in the living room, a family heirloom that belonged to Sims’s grandmother and maintains its original orange upholstery. But there are also nods to modernity. The Lucite ottoman in a sitting room was a project for Sims’s furniture design studio class during college, and a plaster chandelier by Stephen Antonson hangs in the family room. The result is an eclectic mix that feels stylish yet approachable—and completely unique.
“This home epitomizes my personal style, because it’s full of all of my favorite colors and patterns, and also because of the sentimental objects it houses,” Sims says. One thing is clear: She won’t be moving again anytime soon.
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