A Slew of Hues Make This Renovated Farmhouse Pop

HGTV Magazine gives you an up-close look at how to decorate when every color is your favorite.

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January 21, 2019

Photo By: Alexandra Rowley

Photo By: Alexandra Rowley

Photo By: Alexandra Rowley

Photo By: Alexandra Rowley

Photo By: Alexandra Rowley

Photo By: Alexandra Rowley

Photo By: Alexandra Rowley

Photo By: Alexandra Rowley

Photo By: Alexandra Rowley

Photo By: Alexandra Rowley

Photo By: Alexandra Rowley

Photo By: Alexandra Rowley

The Family

Why use a few colors when you can use all of them? That’s been Kathryn O’Neal-Dunham’s motto for as long as she can remember. As a kid she dressed herself in rainbow tights and candy-color tops. After she got her own apartment in her 20s, one of her first purchases was a wood table with four chairs painted red, yellow, lime green and blue.

“I grew up in Oklahoma, where we’re not afraid of color,” she says.

Pictured: Kathryn and Gib with Reece, 12, and Rye, 9.

The House

Three years ago, Kathryn and her husband, Gib, bought an 1850s farmhouse in Irvington, NY, and did a big renovation—new kitchen, new bathrooms, new pipes and wiring, plus an addition. She knew the risk of going color overboard was real, so she brought in designer Denise Davies to temper her wildest instincts. They filled the house with punches of color and pattern, balancing each room with neutrals in furniture, tile and the walls.

“It never seems like too much,” says Kathryn. “It just always feels happy.”

The exterior had just been painted white by the previous owners, so the couple left it as is. They like how it contrasts with the bold colors inside.

Living Room

Decorating a new house means making one decision after another. But for homeowner Kathryn O’Neal-Dunham, the process is pretty straightforward: Go for color. That’s how she landed on a gutsy ikat pattern by Schumacher for the armchairs. Although she was initially dubious about the white sofas picked by designer Denise Davies, Kathryn says, “I decided I could do it if we covered them with bright pillows!” Done. The brass in the coffee table by Century Furniture and the light fixture by Currey & Company add a little glam. The chair paintings, by Christina Keating, have style and sentimental value: They were some of the first pieces of art that Kathryn and her husband, Gib, bought as a couple.

Dining Room

Pastels are equally welcome in this color-lover’s paradise. Doing muted hues instead of more saturated tones helped Kathryn pull off the pattern-on-pattern look—dusty purple and gray color-block fabric by Zak + Fox on the dining chairs with a custom striped rug below. Blush grass cloth wallpaper by Phillip Jeffries and a painting by artist John Beardman bring all the colors together. The space started with just one chandelier by Lambert & Fils, but it looked sad all alone, so in came another.

Kitchen

Shockingly, Kathryn never considered anything other than white cabinets. “I like kitchens and bathrooms to feel immaculate—plus white gives you freedom to switch up colors elsewhere,” she says. Once she chose Carrara marble for the counters and backsplash, things got interesting. The seats of the counter stools (by Gabby Home) are upholstered in a vibrant Josef Frank fabric and laminated for serious spill protection. Kelly green pendants by Shine by S.H.O pick up the green in the pattern. “Women say ‘Oooh, I love them!’ and men say ‘Hmm…’” says Kathryn, laughing. “They’re kitschy, but they’re also stylish.”

Nook

To keep the casual-cool vibe going, Denise had shades made with a green abstract floral fabric by Hable Construction. The family eats most of their meals at the round Saarinen table, so, like the counter stool seats, the cushions on the Eames chairs (also Hable Construction fabric) are laminated to shield against sauce, juice, and markers. Kathryn stumbled upon the big bubble light fixture, by Oly, online and bought it immediately. “I like lights with attitude,” she says.

Family Room

Kathryn had her way with extra color and pattern in this space. “It’s where we hang out for card and board games or to watch TV, and I wanted it to feel playful,” she says. Fun fabric by TylerGraphic on the custom swivel chairs plays off the rug by D2 Interieurs. Kathryn picked up the ottoman years ago at Calico Corners and has had it reupholstered three times, most recently in this sky blue linen by Quadrille. Her boys appreciate the mix of lounging options: “They’ll be on the rug, in the chairs, or on the sofa—with its long cushion, it’s like having a bed in the living room.

Guest Bedroom

When the door to this room is open, everyone walking up the stairs can see inside. That’s why Kathryn wanted it to be extra cute. A small-scale floral wallpaper and a white bed, both by Serena & Lily, and a dotted fabric by Hable Construction for the curtains make the sweetest combination. Denise found the vintage painting, which introduced a hit of orange to the room, and they matched some of the bedding to it. The nightstand and yellow lamp are from West Elm.

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Master Bedroom

Some people want less color in their bedrooms, but not Kathryn. “If we hadn’t used color, I’d probably spend a lot of time redecorating it in my mind!” she says. First up: a bed with a lively headboard. She fell for the brown-and-pink leopard fabric by Kelly Wearstler and the striped blanket from Voss, but she craved a few more pops. Adding a bench upholstered in blue Osborne & Little fabric and a desk chair re-covered in purple Romo fabric brought the room up to her speed. As in the dining room, Phillip Jeffries grass cloth wallpaper—this time in mushroom gray—grounds the palette.

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Master Bathroom

Kathryn went for an Old Paris vibe here, inspired by a claw-foot tub original to the house. Denise had the Restoration Hardware vanity painted a luxe blue (try Dark Navy by Behr) and paired it with brass—mirrors by Restoration Hardware, drawer pulls from ModShop, and faucets and sconces by Rejuvenation. The rug is from Overstock.

Laundry Room

Not only are the cabinets painted a minty fresh hue (Leisure Green by Benjamin Moore) but all the trim is, too. A span of graphic yellow wallpaper by Given Campbell makes a big statement. Combined with the retro-esque penny tile on the floor, “it’s the happiest little room,” says Kathryn. The family’s rescue dog, Mellie, gets a bit freaked out by the sound of the washer and dryer, but when they’re not in use, she’ll venture in for a treat from the jar on the counter.

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Reece’s Bedroom

The 12-year-old’s vision for his space: a wall tiled with green Lego pieces (he has one favorite color). “Knowing that Reece would be growing up and out of Legos soon, I won him over with bright green paint,” says Kathryn. The color emphasizes the quirky shape of the pitched roof, with matching shades made from fabric by Duralee. Since Reece is a big reader, sconces by Cedar & Moss were installed above the beds. Geometric bedding from The Company Store and an industrial chandelier by Barn Light Electric make the space even more fun to hang in. In fact, younger brother Rye (fave color: blue) often crashes on the spare twin bed.