A bold color scheme can be daunting, but the risk was well worth the reward for a Houston couple who had outgrown their previous home’s neutral hues. Moving into this new house, which they had built in the same neighborhood, allowed them the opportunity to explore how color could be used to boost the joy factor in their spaces. To aid in this endeavor, they sought the expertise of designer Hallie Henley Sims, who proved to be the ideal choice. “I have a love of color and pattern, so when the clients said they were ready to embrace that too, I was really excited,” the designer says.
Sims and her project designer, Sugei Medina, took the helm. They designed the millwork, cabinetry and interior elevations in collaboration with builder Minh Ly, with final plans drawn up by architect of record Donald G. Purser. Sims and the wife also shared ideas between each other via Pinterest. “That built a visual dialogue, which enabled me to quickly discern a common thread in her images,” says Sims, who noticed her client had an eye toward a modern, transitional style with thoughtful details and nuanced shades. The wife adds: “I do love color, but I didn’t know how to put it together by myself. This ability was the first thing that drew me to Hallie’s work.”
Beginning in the entry, Sims infused subtle moments of blue, pink and black as a hint of what’s to come. In the adjacent dining room, this palette deepens, with blush-colored walls and peacock-hued fabrics for the chairs and draperies, all pulled from a series of framed wallpaper panels. But it’s the blue room just opposite the entry that most surprises. The husband and wife have a passion for wine and, in lieu of a formal living room, they envisioned a more functional entertaining space, which they coined the “wine room.” Here, Sims incorporated temperature-controlled wine storage along with a banquette, sofa and plenty of handy drinks tables. Rounding out the assortment, matching armchairs upholstered in a geometric print reflect the project’s entire scheme: burgundy, blush, purple, blue and burnt orange.
“I love finding combinations we haven’t done before,” says Sims, who is quick to highlight the value of adding white. “When playing with color, it’s important that it comes across as nuanced, as opposed to saccharine. Expanses of white in this house serve to temper any boldness and help the rooms flow together.” To further ground the palette, Sims added black elements—in the form of marble accents and lacquered furnishings— as well as sea-grass rugs. “They create another connecting thread,” she explains.
Facing the home’s backyard are the family room, anchored by navy sofas, and an open kitchen and breakfast area brought to life using the lightest of blues. “The kitchen tile was one of our very first selections,” the designer recalls. “The clients fell in love with its sophisticated pale blue-gray hue, so we decided to paint the cabinetry to match.” Not only do these cabinets satisfy the wife’s desire to keep everything tidily out of sight, but they also include a buffet for easy entertaining. A powder room received special attention, too, with its blush wallcovering and gold-papered ceiling. “Like lavender, there’s a softness to pink, but it feels even more optimistic,” the designer says. And for the couple’s bedroom, Sims again took cues from a pair of framed wallpaper panels. “They feature all the shades of the house, but we went with a monochromatic seafoam,” she explains. Adds the wife: “It’s so soothing. I have a really wonderful response to my surroundings when I’m in that space.”
Upstairs, Sims outfitted the children’s rooms in variations of navy and pink (for the son and daughter, respectively). She continued on to the game room, appointing “a bold, emerald-green sectional to balance the peacock-blue cabinetry,” Sims notes, further accentuating the space with a pair of club chairs sporting blue-and-green stripes. “It’s so bright and colorful,” the wife describes, recalling how the children’s faces lit up when they first walked inside. And that’s exactly the reaction the designer imagined. “The palette we used in these interiors feels fresh, unique, happy and family-friendly,” Sims says. “This house is firing on all cylinders, and I hope that really strikes a chord with everyone who steps inside.”