As the Family Grows, Savvy Design Can Grow With It
By Sam Byrd | Photos by Melissa Fitzgerald West
Adjusting a home for living with children usually requires some flexibility to suit both the needs of the parents and the kids. Children will grow through phases where they outgrow the home’s design, whereas parents want something durable that still feels well-planned. That challenge is what designer Katie Davis kept in mind as she was working on a project for two friends in their Heights home. The couple was preparing to welcome baby number two to join their two-year-old son.
Davis helped layer the home in different spots – mainly the living room, dining area and children’s rooms.
“The artwork, side tables and pillows give the rooms more comfort. They’ll still be able to enjoy and lounge on their pillows, but you can spruce them when guests come over. It’s a real-life layer, and then there’s an elevated sense too,” says Davis.
The living room art — work by Jane Johnson sourced at the Bayou City Art Festival — made for a great fit for the lamps, pillows and rugs the team had suggested. The lighting, including a lantern, ceiling fixture and the dining room fixtures, were sourced at M&M Lighting.
Moving into the children’s rooms, Davis says, “We were transitioning one to his big boy room and transitioning a nursery for the upcoming baby. We already had a crib and glider to work with, but it had the same color pattern of the rest of the house with blue and gray.”
Davis mentions one of the standout pieces is the vintage dresser from Dallas-based THE CEH. The company does bespoke pieces, but they also restore vintage pieces. For the older son’s room, she added a blue Henredon dresser that he will be able to use into adulthood. She also added a custom headboard and artwork from Leslee Mitchell. She supplied rugs from Dash & Albert and Pottery Barn.
“They still wanted the space to have that finished elevated look, but still be kid-friendly. A lot of doing that is choosing fabrics that are durable,” she says. “There are also patterns that aren’t the scratchy outdoor furniture fabric that we’re used to. The headboard is stain-resistant. I keep the bedding kind of simple: I have two kids myself, so I make it easy for the kids to make the bed one day and for mom and dad too. They can throw that white quilt in the washing machine when the kid has Cheeto fingers.”
Knowing the new baby was also a boy, and that the clients were a fan of blue, Davis used that as a theme to create a flow between the rooms. “I like to have each space connect somehow so that every room flows and has a similar feeling but is also unique,” says Davis.
She used similar fabrics as well: There’s a ticking stripe in the nursery, a pattern that is repeated on the drapes, pillows, couch and living room pillows.
“It’s keeping that pattern to flow from space to space with a spin, like different colors, that ties them together. And it’s a great transitional pattern that works for little kids, big kids and adults,” she adds.
Davis says her approach is to design for real life needs, but she says there’s a reason people hire a designer: to provide a finished, tailored look. For this, Davis used elements like brass throughout the spaces to refine the look yet keep its warmth.
“It’s a young family, and they wanted to feel comfortable in their space. We gave them that look that they could lounge around with their kids, but also throw the toys in the closet when friends come over,” Davis says.
Davis also kept a slight enhancement plan for the home. In the nursery, a chair was strategically placed to block an attic door. In the living room, a play teepee keeps the children entertained. Yet, as the young ones grow up, both elements can be replaced with nicer furniture more appropriate for the maturing family.
“No one needs to live in bubble wrap. You can have designer pillows and custom pillows, but you don’t have to worry about putting them on a shelf,” she says. “Sometimes people get caught up in kids or pets ruining things, but there are so many options and solutions to using different fabrics that are kid and pet proof.”
At the end of the day, the client feels satisfied to have a home that fits the family’s needs but also has that cozy-yet-tailored look that appeals to the eye and the lifestyle.
Katie Davis Design
Annie Selke, Dash & Albert
Houston and Tomball
Bayou City Art Festival
346-360-1344, 5620 South Rice
713-627-8901, 4011 Westheimer
713-461-4057, 12850 Memorial
281-325-0200, 16535 Southwest Freeway, Sugar Land