Renee and Russ Plumb had been content with their spacious East Cobb home while their two sons were growing up, but after almost 20 years, they decided it was time to update. “It had been a perfect fit while we were busy raising our family, but we were ready to exchange Legos for artwork,” says Renee. “The house had great bones, but our tastes had changed since 1999.”
Melanie Turner—twice named Southeastern Designer of the Year—arrived as a sort of style-savvy Mary Poppins for the makeover, toting fabric swatches instead of an umbrella. Priority number one: Erase the bland 1990s color palette, with its honey-colored floors and dark kitchen cabinets. Existing floors were sanded and restained a walnut shade; walls and kitchen cabinets were painted white for contrast. Marble kitchen countertops and an all-white master bath contributed to the crisp new look.
When it was time to select furnishings, Melanie had an inspiration: Let’s use the color plum as a motif throughout the house, as a playful reference to the homeowners’ last name. Renee was on board, though she admits, “I had to talk the male members of my household into it. They now see it’s not necessarily a feminine color. It’s a beautiful way to add interest here and there without being overwhelming.”
Shades of plum appear in window treatments, pillows, and upholstery. In the dining room, chair backs are covered in an elegant aubergine velvet, which complements a lavender-toned rug and purple drapery. Melanie ordered two plum velvet settees as focal points for the living room. An abstract painting and chunks of amethyst geodes bring in more purple tones. Elsewhere in the room, an understated linen sofa, brass bamboo coffee table, and sisal rug keep the look casual. “We dressed the room down but still kept it pretty,” says Melanie.
Melanie also helped the Plumbs expand their art collection. Where it made sense—such as in the two-story living room—Melanie chose large-scale pieces. But in other areas, they arranged collections of smaller works, such as a grouping of stylized face portraits in the front hallway, or an arrangement of nudes in the master bedroom. Because Renee is a former dancer, the master bath includes a collection of ballet-themed art.
“I always encourage homeowners to develop collections and compositions with art,” Melanie says. “Your art is what sets your house apart from others.”
This article originally appeared in our Summer 2017 issue of Atlanta Magazine’s HOME.