Keep it Casual

To convert their home into a more functional, well-designed space, these owners turned to someone who knew them well: interior designer Jan Ware. A friend since school days, Jan was well acquainted with the owners’ personalities and overall sense of style. “They are very laid-back people so I knew they needed an organic space that was comfortable and easy, ” she says. “Nothing too dressed down or understated, but a place they could come home to at the end of the day that offered a serene environment.”

Before tackling the décor, however, the owners first had to rework the home’s impractical layout, which was very choppy and separated. “You couldn’t get from one side of the house to the other without walking through a bedroom, ” Jan explains. The homeowners worked with Jan and an architect to reorganize the floorplan. They also added three bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms to create a much more open layout that’s ideal for easy living.

With a more convenient footprint in place, Jan created the owners’ ideal setting for a comfortable, inviting home by establishing a soothing color palette. In the master bedroom, she focused on neutrals with white and off-white quilted bedding, taupe draperies, and an ivory wall color. “Mixing in different shades of white and cream creates a much richer palette while still keeping the look very calm, ” Jan explains.

The designer carried the same idea into the kitchen with white marble countertops and ivory cabinets. The home, however, isn’t without some pops of color to provide that unexpected element. Sea-glass green draperies grace the windows of the den. One daughter’s bedroom features a hot pink ceiling and the other’s showcases green and moss-gray bedding and drapes. “The home has a great fusion of soothing tones with just enough color mixed in to maintain a relaxed environment, ” Jan says. “By doing so, we kept everything upscale casual. Now it’s not only spacious and functional enough for the family’s everyday life but it is also comfortable and relaxing.” 

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The original structure not only had a tiny kitchen, but it was also totally separated from the rest of the house. During the renovation, the owners chose to utilize some of the original deck space to triple the size of the kitchen. In addition, they added numerous windows to create a bright, comfortable space. Soothing neutrals take center stage in the kitchen with ivory cabinets, white marble countertops, and varying shades of ivory and taupe subway tile. The hardwood floors and wooden beams around the stove keep the look clean and simple.


1. Natural Light Before the renovation, the kitchen was very dark with just a couple of windows. Now, a wall of windows above both the sink and the built-in banquette allows natural light to freely flow in. On a nice day, the windows and screens can be rolled out to let in even more sunshine.

2. User Friendly The proximity of the oven, sink, and refrigerator makes cooking a joy instead of a chore. Thanks to this new layout, the owners can effortlessly glide around the kitchen to prepare a meal while visiting with family and friends situated at the island or in the adjacent living room.

3. Old English Feel The marble countertops and farmhouse apron front sink are reminiscent of a casual English cottage. 

4. Wooden Elements Jan included natural wood accents such as the eat-in kitchen table and the cabinets underneath the island. The same wood used around the range creates the look of an old-fashioned cooking hearth. 

5. Old Meets New The kitchen combines favorite antiques, such as the Belgium chandelier above the island, with more modern pieces. “I love to mix it up and bring in newer elements to work alongside antiques, ” Jan explains. “Combining the two keeps the look from getting too heavy one way or the other.”

ABOVE With two teenage daughters, the homeowners needed a mudroom that could collect and store basic everyday items. Designer Jan Ware used pecky cypress paneling and pegs to create a wall where family members and guests can hang coats and handbags. Cabinets on either side of the paneling serve as catch-alls for other essentials.


ABOVE LEFT A favorite gathering spot in the house is the built-in banquette in the kitchen. “The table really set the stage for the entire house, ” Jan says. “We built so much of the rest of the house around it.” Large enough to seat at least 10, the table is an antique French piece with iron strapping. To counterbalance the table’s size, Jan chose to include it in a breakfast nook and add upholstered banquette seating around it.

ABOVE RIGHT In the powder bathroom, the rustic look of the paneled wood mixes with the timeless elegance of the Italian sconce, English soapstone sink, and Calcutta gold marble.

ABOVE One of the most beloved pieces in the home is the hand-carved Italian bed in the master bedroom. Dating back to the 1880s, the bed features the original owners’ wedding date carved into the wood. To offset the piece’s formal look, Jan covered it with casual quilted bedding and flanked it with modern marble side tables.

RIGHT With the renovation, the owners were determined to bring in natural light by adding more windows. In the master bath, the result is a serene and tranquil space.


Interior design: Jan Ware Designs, LLC,

Powder bath: Waterworks faucet: Kenny & Co.

Master bedroom: Duvet: Marguerite’s Conceits, 205.879.2730

Custom paint finishes: Paint Works, 205.296.5638

Love this look? Leave us a comment below or share these photos on your inspiration board on Pinterest!

text by Paige Townley • photography by Jean Allsopp

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Paige Townley

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