Date: December 1, 2023 | Story: Tiffany Adams | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Stephanie Maxwell Newton |
Taking cues from its classic style, photographer Erin Wilson and her husband, Josh, update a Clarksville home
Josh Wilson was no stranger to the Clarksville home he and his wife, Erin, purchased and renovated in 2020. “Josh grew up in the River Valley, and this house actually belonged to one of his childhood friends,” Erin says. “His grandmother even lived just a few houses down.”
While memories spilled over during their initial visit, the home’s traditional floor plan and features as well as the potential for updates made a lasting impression. “We loved the classic bones but there were some parts that didn’t match up, and we had a vision for that,” Erin says. For example, during their remodel, the couple reallocated space from the home’s formal living room to enlarge the adjoining den and create a dining room. This allowed them to use the previous dining room as an office for Erin.
As a full-time wedding photographer who often travels to destinations around the county, Erin is exposed to new trends and styles continuously. However, she notes the furnishings here are a true blend of Josh’s traditional bent and her slightly more modern approach. “My mom taught me to decorate. I think a lot of my creativity stems from childhood and her nurturing those things into me,” she says.
Since this renovation, the Wilsons have relocated to Dallas but fondly recall holidays spent here with their family, which includes daughter Penelope and son Emerson. Erin points to her and Josh’s own childhoods as the inspiration for their seasonal décor. “Both of our families love, love, love Christmas,” Erin says. “Josh has lots of traditions with his family. Every room in their house is decorated with sentimental pieces that have been collected over the years while my mom has a more magazine-worthy approach,” she says. “At our own home, we want the holiday décor to have a cozy feel but still be put-together and pleasing to the eye.”
Warm, Familiar Feel
Custom shelving took the place of a brick fireplace surround that originally covered an entire wall of the living room. The shelves are filled with law books that were once a part of Josh’s father’s practice. “They had been sold to a local antiques store, and I went and bought them back,” Erin says with a laugh. A fresh-look garland from Silks A Bloom hangs on the mantel alongside the family’s stockings, while a tree filled with ornaments selected within the holiday palette complements the room’s everyday scheme. The mirror over the mantel was a gift from Erin’s mother, while the buffet was an antiquing find.
Chic & Streamlined
Erin worked with freelance designer Kylie Avaritt as well as Reveal Cabinet & Closet to achieve her vision for the kitchen. “The kitchen that was here when we first walked through the house was non-existent to me; we knew we would have to redo that space first,” she says. Staying true to their traditional tastes, the couple opted for light gray cabinetry and a practical quartzite countertop that continues seamlessly onto the backsplash. Photographs Erin took on a trip to Italy make for meaningful artwork in the kitchen’s adjoining breakfast nook.
Penelope baked this pistachio cake, a holiday favorite passed down from Erin’s great-grandmother. Visit athomearkansas.com/blog for the recipe.
Room for All
When Josh and Erin first moved to Arkansas almost a decade ago, they were in need of a dining table. “Someone had left this in a friend’s rental house. Josh stripped and stained it, and we’ve had it ever since,” Erin says. “We love to entertain, so even in searching for this house it was important to have a space where it would fit.” Warm accents like the green velvet drapes and vintage art help to give the gathering space an inviting feel.
“We want the holiday décor to have a cozy feel but still be pleasing to the eye.”
—Erin Wilson, homeowner
As a photographer who often works at client-driven destinations, Erin needed a dedicated space to host consultations and edit images. With plenty of natural light and a close proximity to the kitchen and living rooms, this space previously used as the dining room made the most sense. “I wanted it to feel like a garden,” Erin says. Retaining the wainscoting below the chair rail, she opted to wallpaper the top portion with a cheerful botanical print.
Kitchen design Kylie Avaritt Cabinetry Reveal Cabinet & Closet Accessories and furniture Jenifer’s Antiques Christmas decor Park Hill Home and Silks A Bloom Countertops and tile Alpha Countertops Fireplace Rick Richard Paint Sherwin-Williams