Pretty and Practical

Work with what you have, and then add to it over time to elevate your style quotient. That’s what designer Jennifer Reese did for a client who didn’t believe four boys and a pretty house could go hand in hand.

“I thought we should get rid of the coffee table, but Jennifer suggested we keep it—for now,” the homeowner says. “It’s been a great teether for the puppy. A new one would have been destroyed.” Photos by Mary Margaret Chambliss

Jennifer Reese

Jennifer Reese

It’s rare that a homeowner can completely start fresh. That’s not a bad thing, though, because there’s a lot to be said for the stories that follow our furnishings and finds. Jennifer shares tips for deciding what to keep, purchase, and toss as our families and budgets change.

“Invest in things that will last,” Jennifer says. “For this house, artwork, light fixtures, and custom finishes, such as the teak detail and bench on the fireplace, are statement makers that will stand up to, or be out of the way of, dogs and boys.”

“I added trim to ready-made drapery panels in the dining room to make them unique,” says Jennifer. She also gave a facelift to the head chairs at the dining table using upholstery. “I combined two fabrics so that I could insert the bold green stripe,” the designer says.

“My client needed a home where she wouldn’t lose her mind chasing after four boys,” Jennifer says. That meant keeping some of her existing items until the boys—and the dogs—get a little bit older.

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Accessories are an easy thing to swap out if you want to change up the look of a space. For the family room, Jennifer opted to use store-bought pillows instead of custom-made ones. She chose bright colors and lively patterns to keep the space fun and relaxed. “Because the pillows weren’t very expensive, my client will feel more freedom to change them out with the seasons,” Jennifer says.

Don’t shop until you know what you want. It’s easy to get caught up in the momentum of online flash sales, but if you don’t have a place for something, it will end up in the closet. — Jennifer Reese

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