French Decorum, Southern Sensibility

The fusion of French country design with southern hospitality created a casual and elegant home for a couple who upsized once their kids were grown.

For an empty nester couple who moved from their 1,700-square-foot home in Austin to this larger golf course residence, it was difficult to imagine their new surroundings. The homeowners discovered Daley Home + Design through Instagram and immediately brought them on.

A husband-and-wife team, principal designer Shelby Van Daley and company manager Kasey Van Daley began working with the clients at the framing stage, which gave Shelby plenty of opportunity for significant input and the ability to design specific elements such as cabinets and hardware, as well adding detailing in crown molding, custom millwork and wallpaper. “Having coordination between the builder, the architect and the interior designer brings all aspects of the design and execution together. We are able to look at the finer details such as room and window sizes, furniture placement, wall decor and so much more. If furnishings are not contemplated concurrently with construction, then it becomes much more difficult to create the complete curated look you see in this project,” says Shelby of the benefit of collaborating with all parties in the early stages of construction.

Daley was charged with creating an interpretation of elevated European aesthetic, particularly French country design stemming from the husband’s love of France, combined with a friendly Southern ease. It was important to the homeowners to incorporate their collection of treasured pieces, artworks and items gathered from their travels and acquired as family heirlooms. Shelby’s challenge was to carefully layer these elements with new furniture selections and colors shifting from shades of green to light blue and navy, making visual connections throughout the home.

At the heart of the home is the kitchen, its pale blue cabinets offsetting the displays of vintage cookbooks and copper pots. Countertops are quartzite with a simple, rolled-edge white tile used for the backsplash. Visual Comfort lantern pendants frame the space. Perfect for entertaining, it opens to the dining room where green and yellow Schumacher fabric drapes, one of many that were custom-fabricated through the designer, evoke a French country charm. The round table adds to a convivial and cozy atmosphere and the view to the golf course and pool reinforces the bucolic vibe.

In the adjacent living room, Shelby’s selection of two white sofas from Lee Industries, blue swivel chairs from Wesley Hall and custom-covered floral ottomans with blue and green accent pillows echo the cheerful scenes on the powder room wallpaper that is visible through the open door. Mirrors placed on the mantel reflect the chandelier as well as the ample natural light from the glass doors leading to the back yard and clerestory windows above. The carefully curated design blends new and antique pieces in a color palette pulled from the pastoral painting by artist Susan Harter to the left of the fireplace.

That painting reappears in the master suite where muralpaper, created by the artist specifically for the spot above the built-in seating, was a special client request. Simple and elegant in white, the bath features a generous walk-in shower and freestanding Kohler® tub. The chandelier was repurposed from the clients’ old dining room as bathroom lighting, and quartz countertops and high gloss tile as seen in the kitchen are repeated here, creating another connection that pulls the house together.

In the master bedroom, a handwoven navy rug with a subtle floral pattern was the starting point for the overall design. Shelby combined a custom-designed cane bed with simple ruffled bedding and a velvet quilt, toile drapes and pillows, choosing deep blue accents to invoke a peaceful atmosphere. A navy chaise in the window seat contributes to the color scheme and is a perfect spot for curling up with a book. French textured white nightstands provide storage but also bring a contrast to the other wood tones in the room.

A hint of coastal chic makes the family game room the best spot in the home to relax and watch a movie. The space picks up the light blue color from the kitchen with a custom pin-striped sofa and buffalo check drapes that pull in the French influence, and the family’s old kitchen table is repurposed here as a game table. “The table and chairs served as the family kitchen table for the homeowners in their previous home of 20+ years,” says Shelby.

But while pieces of the homeowner’s collections are displayed throughout the home, it’s in the study where many are highlighted, and a masculine design contrasts with the rest of the home. Built-in shelving and a glass-fronted gun cabinet anchor one end of the room with a cast stone fireplace on the other. The family’s long existing dining table was passed down from a family member. It was originally a law library table from UT Austin. It acts as the desk, rooting the stronger color range in deeper blues and dark browns. Photos where reframed to give them a cohesive look. An old trunk, a family heirloom that was retrieved from the Pacific Ocean floating near Japan during World War II, provides a table for the seating area under the watchful gaze of Winston Churchill.

Ultimately, Shelby credits the working relationship she developed with the homeowners to the success of the project, saying, “There was a fair amount of collaboration with the client, particularly in selecting fabrics and art. The client was very attuned to the feelings that the patterns and imagery evoked, so we spent a lot of time together to select the perfect ones for the space. Our clients put a lot of trust in our process to deliver a home they would love.”

Daley Home + Design
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