Vivid decorative touches bring historic Spanish-style to life.
For the sunroom, a long narrow space, Amy and Jenny chose a zebra rug for a space anchored by an antique baby grand piano. Both Allens grew up playing the piano. Finding the right one for the space required an extensive search until Amy located one on eBay and had it shipped from California. The shimmering silk curtains hanging from knobs aside the arched windows were Jenny's idea. The bold gold and orange chair was perfect in size and added the right pop of color.
photography by Jean Allsopp
As an accountant, Amy Allen knows how to factor in all of the variables to get to the bottom line. In a house hunt, the objective was simple, yet oh-so-difficult: getting their hands on a home they had admired for years—a Spanish-style home in the Hollywood area of Homewood.
“Finally, my husband just knocked on the door one day and asked if they were interested in selling,” Amy says. “They were. It was obviously meant to be.”
When they moved in 2006, the previous owner had remodeled, leaving no major structural changes to be done, but a significant amount of decorating for a transition from traditional to a more suitable setting for the Mediterranean design.
“We painted everything to make it very neutral, then spent our money on decorating instead of remodeling,” Amy says. “Our former home was a very traditional wood frame house, and I’m traditional at heart. When we moved in here, I felt like we needed to start over. I brought my favorite things with me, but really started from scratch.”
Amy contacted decorator Jenny Edwards of Jenny Edwards Interiors to restyle after receiving recommendations from several friends.
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“She’s very together and organized, and we worked well together—left brain, right brain,” Amy says.
The inspiration for both owner and designer was the home’s historic character and color. “This house has so much charm and beautiful old tile,” Amy says. “The fireplace has tiles with all different colors in it. As soon as I walked in the house, I knew that would be our palette. We planned everything around it.”
The bright fabric for the dining room curtains was the first color burst homeowner and decorator selected through an initial taste trial-and-error phase.
“Jenny brought hundreds of pieces of fabric, and I would say, ‘No, no, no,’” Amy says. “We were getting to know each other. We came to that fabric, and I said, ‘Yes.’ Then we planned the dining room around that. I’m good with filling in. Jenny would tell me to search for this or look for that. I would do the legwork and take things out on approval. She would swing by and look at them and let me know if she liked them. That was our system.”
An important issue in decision-making was finding pet-friendly fabrics for the Allens’ two felines, which Jenny and Amy factored in when making decisions, often using Schumacher, one of Jenny’s favorite fabric houses.
“Keeping in mind that she had animals, we wanted fabrics to be durable enough but dressy enough for a particular space,” Jenny says. One unique find in the decorating expedition was a set of antique needlepoint chairs, which Jenny located. “It’s unusual to find a set in such great shape with the needlepoint intact,” Jenny says. “These also had all the great colors we were working with.”
The final project is at once traditional with just enough daring touches—something both the homeowner and designer can live with.
interior decoration and all fabrics: JENNY EDWARDS INTERIORS 205.870.5100 • firstname.lastname@example.org dining room: needlework chairs: JENNY EDWARDS INTERIORS 205.870.5100 • email@example.com antique prints: ARCENAUX ART GALLERY • 205.824-5800 guest room: headboard and fabrics: JENNY EDWARDS INTERIORS den, second seating area: antique ottoman: MAISON de FRANCE • 205.699.6330 lamps: MCJ Interiors 205.458.2700 chairs: Interiors Market at Pepper Place 205.323.2817 • pepperplace.net marble-top chest: MAISON de FRANCE in Leeds 205.699.6330