As soon as designer Chloe Redmond Warner met her client, Sarah Evars, she knew she was in for some fun. “Sarah is an incredibly friendly, bubbly person, and she wanted a house that was happy and bright,” says Warner. Known for her fondness of mixing bold prints, the designer found a kindred spirit in Sarah, a design enthusiast who shares her deep passion for textiles and isn’t afraid to take risks. “She rates high on the fearless scale for sure,” says Warner. “We had a great time.”
Sarah shares the single-story Colonial in Hillsborough with her husband, Brian, and their two young boys. When the couple purchased the house, which was built in the 1950s, it had never been updated and sported a cramped layout not conducive to family life. They worked with architect Rebecca Ivans Amato to expand and remodel the structure, and then called on Warner for guidance on the décor.
Sarah arrived at their first meeting armed with a collection of pages torn from magazines she had accumulated through the years, including one featuring Warner’s own home. “We have young kids, but I still wanted our house to be beautiful,” says Sarah. “Chloe’s style is casual and comfortable but also luxurious. I felt like that suited us well.”
Inspired by her client’s love of textiles and strong prints, Warner crafted an interior that combines high-end fabrics, non-precious antiques, naturally forgiving patterns and a mix of custom and retail pieces, such as the Restoration Hardware sectional in the family room she outfitted with tape trim and nailheads. “The added details make the pieces special but not so special that the boys can’t eat on them,” says Warner. “I wanted them to be able to enjoy everything.”
One of the spaces Sarah most enjoys is the dining room, where she requested a design that felt beachy yet unconventional. Warner didn’t hold back. Gray-and-ivory grass-cloth wallpaper with an Asian-inspired cloud motif provides the backdrop for a space layered with equal measures of delight and intrigue: Draperies with a geometric print in a juicy apricot hue play off caned side chairs with seats upholstered in a large-scale floral and host chairs slipcovered in a bird print with a cheery yellow ground. A Mastercraft table with a brass base centers the space, while an area rug with wide black-and-white stripes sits below. Pieces of pottery provide small bursts of bright blue. “The dining room is so alive,” says Warner. “It was so much fun to do.”
To make such moments of design exuberance more special, Warner strikes a balance with quieter counterpoints. “You can’t have all of the rooms turned up to a 10 or the house will feel chaotic,” she says. The living room, which sits between the dining room and the navy-painted entry, offers visual rest and restrained glamour with pale walls, glass shelving, neutral upholstery, and smaller doses of color. “It was designed to be a foil for the dining room,” notes Warner, who opted for rich texture over bold patterns when it came to appointing the master bedroom. A soft, light wool carpet and grass-cloth wallpaper create the starting point. “Sarah drove the lighter-hued carpet, which we never get to do because people are usually too afraid,” explains Warner. “It sets the stage for a cloud-like room.” She rounded out the subdued design with beige-and-ivory animal-print draperies, an icy blue upholstered headboard and a rattan chaise lounge. Cornflower blue glazed ceramic lamps and an alpaca blanket in a shocking citrine offer hints of the liveliness found in adjacent spaces.
The grounds were also given an overhaul with help from landscape architect Michael Callan and landscape contractor-designer Tim Weiland. The two collaborated on modernizing the exterior and maximizing the flat yard space to incorporate new patios, retaining walls, a swimming pool and a new entry stairway. “It was an old house on an ivy-covered hillside with no real access to the house from the street,” says Callan, who handled the overall hardscaping, permitting and plans. “Now they have a new path with lighting, safe areas for kids to play and space to entertain.”
Weiland installed the landscaping and worked closely with the owners to select the plantings, keeping things clean and refined. The grounds combine heavy repetition with a simplified palette: boxwoods, sculpted topiaries, white roses and white hydrangeas are used throughout. “We wanted the exterior to complement the architecture,” says Weiland, “and to appear as if it were designed at the same time the house was originally built, with a slightly modern twist.”
With the transformation complete, the Evarses are now happily ensconced in their home. “The house is chic and family-friendly,” says Warner, who was able to achieve that balance thanks, in part, to her clients’ willingness and enthusiasm. “The owners weren’t just fearless—they were trusting, which made it possible to achieve a house that is unique and layered and hopefully will make them happy for years to come.”
Styling by Miranda Jones