Some designers pride themselves on creating trendy, of-the-moment spaces. But Caroline Brackett, an interior designer in Charlotte, N.C., set out to do the exact opposite. \"I wanted to love my house for a long time to come,\" she says. \"I'd hate to look around in three years and say, ‘That's so dated!'\" Peek inside her 1952 four-bedroom home and you’ll see that every room has a traditional vibe, but that's not to say it's boring. And Caroline isn’t opposed to a mini makeover every now and then. As she says, \"Once you have the basics right, it's easier, and a lot less expensive, to make little changes.\"
Formal mixed with casual stands the test of time. A rustic zinc-top trestle table is surrounded by velvet-covered chairs and skirted seats at the head. The blown-glass chandelier is a classic — it could live in a bedroom or a living room, too.
\"A sofa frame that can be re-covered over and over and an antique rug are worthwhile investments that will last forever,\" says Caroline. For a furniture setup that always works, put a pair of matching armchairs facing the sofa, with a rectangular coffee table in between. The windows are covered with her go-to treatment: solid panels and a box-pleat valance with a band.
Caroline made a few changes in the kitchen, but she stopped short of replacing the raised-panel cabinets, since the shape is so classic. Instead, she just painted them ivory and replaced the knobs. Her new counters are polished granite, and the backsplash is marble subway tile. She also added an island with upholstered stools that scoot under the overhang.
Just off the kitchen sits a pedestal table where the kids do crafts and the family eats dinner. For seating, a pair of wooden wishbone chairs from Pottery Barn face a curved settee upholstered in metallic vinyl for easy wipe-downs.
Such a big sectional would be expensive to re-cover, so Caroline had hers made in thick herringbone chenille that can stand up to constant use. For the heavily trafficked room, she chose stain-resistant wall-to-wall seagrass, plus a small Persian rug that's an easy swap-out. Bamboo shades cover the windows and glass doors. The built-in shelves are painted Iron Gate by Benjamin Moore.
The master bedroom is centered around a cream-colored upholstered sleigh bed that can be reupholstered down the road. \"I'm imagining velvet one day,\" says Caroline. The orange wing chair is one of the most versatile pieces in the house: It's already lived in three different rooms. Neutral silk curtain panels can stay in place even if the paint color changes. Wall color: Pebble Creek by Benjamin Moore
\"I try not to be too ‘theme-y' in kids' rooms because they outgrow things so fast,\" says Caroline. When her son, Fin, wanted an airplane room, she compromised with easy trade-outs, like a vintage wooden propeller and a jet-pattern quilt. Wall color: Hudson Bay by Benjamin Moore
Josie's room has a daybed version of her parents' upholstered sleigh bed. The tree on the wall is an elaborate decal, which can be peeled off when it's overstayed its welcome.