A Traditional House That Doesn't Feel Old Fashioned

Old-fashioned furniture doesn’t have to look stuffy. The proof is in this house from HGTV Magazine!

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

Photo By: Kim Cornelison

The House

Nina and Ryan Atkinson have a feet-up-on-the-sofa, eat-in-the-family-room kind of home. It’s nothing like the sit-up-straight household where some of their furniture started out — Nina’s grandma’s. “I’m lucky I inherited the beautiful wood pieces I grew up around,” says Nina. “But that doesn’t mean I wanted to copy my grandmother’s formal style in my house.” She and Ryan bought their 1970s ranch-style home in Greenville, SC, in 2010.

Four years later, they did a big reno on the living areas to open them up for easier entertaining, then updated one of the bathrooms the following year. Nina couldn’t wait to decorate. The trick: She wanted to use the passed-down furniture from her namesake, Granny Nina, but still create a casual, lived-in, color- and pattern-happy home. With the help of designer Amanda Louise Campbell, the Atkinsons came up with a perfect mash-up of formal and casual. Says Nina, “I think my grandmother would be proud of how I made her pieces work with my style.”

The Family

Ryan and Nina with Henry, 14; Corley, 17; and Larry, a Lab, 3

Family Room

Previous owners had converted the garage into this hangout off the kitchen. To make it homey, Nina and Ryan vaulted the ceiling and added a brick fireplace (both painted White Dove by Benjamin Moore) and painted the walls sky blue. The heirloom coffee table has a special history: Nina’s grandfather worked for Georgia Marble, where he got the top. A bergère chair looks fresh redone in an embroidered yellow-and-white cotton from Magnolia Companies. Nina found the sofa at an Anthropologie outlet in Augusta, GA. “It had all the right colors, so I wasn’t leaving without it!” she says. The polypropylene rug is from Jaipur Living, and the light is by Currey and Company.


It’s hard to believe this airy kitchen was once avocado green and black. “As much as I love color, I couldn’t commit to painted cabinets,” says Nina. “I want us to love these forever because we’re never moving! You can’t go wrong with white cabinets [painted White Dove by Benjamin Moore] and subway tile.” Geometric light fixtures — a pair of steel pendants from Ballard Designs and a brass one from Anthropologie over the sink — are a nice modern counterpoint to the Windsor-style barstools from Jason’s Furniture in Greenville. The traditional turned legs on the island jibe with the home’s older pieces.


“People always ask where I got my wallpaper,” says Nina. “It’s actually paint!” An artist friend of designer Amanda Louise created the paper lantern pattern with stencils. The door was the original back door; when Nina got a new one, she painted this one red on both sides (Gladiola by Sherwin-Williams) and hung it here.

Dining Room

Using Grandma’s dining set may have been practical, but hip it was not. So Nina re-covered the seats with a gray-and-yellow cotton-blend fabric from Braemore Fabric and had two host chairs she already owned reupholstered with a striped fabric on the front and a diamond print on the back. Other decidedly unstuffy touches: 10-inch-wide painted stripes on the walls; punches of blues — Nina’s favorite color — including the Bernhardt hutch (a found antique made new with a coat of color); and big floral pillows done in fabric by Home Accent Fabrics.

Guest Bedroom

A four-poster spindle bed can cross over to the frumpy side, but thanks to the room’s poppy colors and patterns, this one from Nina’s other grandmother, Margaret, looks chic. First came the graphic polypropylene rug from Jaipur Living, and the geometric comforter and shams from Target. A white nightstand from themine.com looks fresher than one in a wood stain that matches the bed, especially topped with a lemony yellow gourd lamp. Says Nina, “The room gets a stamp of approval from Corley’s friends, so it must look cool!”


The renovated bath is everyone’s favorite because it’s the biggest. “Ryan wakes up early to shower in here before anyone else,” says Nina. They built a new double vanity and painted it Gauntlet Gray by Sherwin-Williams. Vintage-style touches — including oval mirrors from At Home painted green, farmhouse sconces from Schoolhouse Electric and crystal knobs from amazon.com — are more nods to the home’s old soul.

Corley's Room

Nina used to lounge on this hand-me-down bed when she was a teenager, just like her daughter does now. The vanity was originally part of the guest bedroom set. True, it’s traditional, but paired with a pink bench covered in Trina Turk for Schumacher fabric, it’s part of a super-fun combo. Same goes for the woven elephant head (from Celadon in Mt. Pleasant, SC) “framed” in a classic gold picture frame. Corley helped choose the HGTV HOME fabric for the floral drapes and matching pillow.


To take their outdoor space from standard to chill-out central, Nina and Ryan extended the roofline to cover it, built a fireplace, and installed a TV. Here, too, they incorporated something old — a carpenter built the swing seat out of a vintage twin-bed frame. The Target sofa and chairs are topped with cushions in Sunbrella fabric and plenty of pillows. “Ryan likes to gripe there’s no room to sit, but I love them,” says Nina. The outdoor rug is from Grandin Road, and the orange lamp is from HomeGoods.

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