Don’t let the front of this Decatur cottage deceive you. Inside, streamlined spaces accented with rich colors and imaginative details create a sophistication that belies the modest exterior.
“This was definitely an example of making lemonade out of lemons,” says architect/designer Ili Hidalgo-Nilsson of TerraCotta Properties. “The house had been in foreclosure, vacant for years, and had been renovated at least twice before—not successfully.”
Because of the house’s location in a flood plain, the remodeling firm had to work within the existing footprint. TerraCotta moved some walls to create a better flow, added new windows, and installed hardwood floors throughout.
The modern kitchen—with its indigo-blue island, glossy white cabinetry, and globe pendants—is the star of the house: a dramatic space where the family spends the most time. The designers convinced the homeowner not to fear a bold color, noting that “blue is such a soothing tone that it almost looks like the ocean.”
The designers also played with contrasts in the office, pairing glossy black walls with a white shag rug and table. “I give the homeowner a lot of credit because many people wouldn’t let us do a black office,” says Hidalgo-Nilsson. The spherical light fixture was special-ordered from the U.K. “That light is stunning,” she adds. “At night, to have the dark walls and the pinpoints of light from the fixture . . . it’s magical.”
Generally, the living and dining rooms are more understated. However, built-in bookshelves are backed with a turquoise zigzag wallpaper, with an adjacent club chair to match. “The bookcase is the first thing you see when you walk in, so it needed to stand out,” explains Hidalgo-Nilsson.
Stand out and recede are both important considerations in design, and both are well represented here.
This article originally appeared in our October 2014 issue.