Date: May 1, 2023 | Story: Tiffany Adams | Photography: Rett Peek | Styling: Stephanie Maxwell Newton |
Designer Stacy Sheid Epps helps a pair of Fayetteville empty nesters bring their classic, refined style to a smaller footprint
After raising their five daughters, Kellie and Trevor Lavy had considered moving to a smaller house when an opportunity presented itself. “Someone knocked on their door and wanted to purchase the house,” explains designer Stacy Sheid Epps, who has worked with the pair—as well as each of their daughters—for years. The timing seemed right, so they accepted the offer and began a house hunt of their own. As luck would have it, they found their next residence just around the corner. Not only was the new house located in the same neighborhood, it had also been designed by the same architect, Jack Arnold of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
“They wanted something that was just as nice as their previous house but with less square footage,” Stacy says. More than anything, they wanted their new home to be comfortable for them, their dogs, and their family, which now includes 13 grandchildren. The biggest challenge for Stacy came in figuring out what to keep and how to use it in the new spaces. “This was a major downsize; they went from a house with his-and-hers sitting rooms to a shared bath, but it all works so well for them,” she says.
While much of the home required only cosmetic updates to make it feel like the Lavys’ own, the kitchen was reconfigured to create a better flow and provide additional storage. Other spaces, such as the entry and primary bath, received a refresh in the form of updated paint, wallpaper, and lighting. Knowing their traditional yet fresh style, Stacy deftly weaved beloved antiques and heirlooms with bright, youthful patterns and aptly placed doses of color to tie the design together. “The Lavys are friends as much as clients. We know each other so well now—to the point that I can pull something and it’s exactly what they want on the first try,” Stacy says.
Give a Gracious Welcome
The foyer’s formerly pink walls were traded for a buttery cream that allows rich antique furnishings and a series of oil paintings featuring horses to stand out. “Kellie was a barrel racer growing up, so we incorporated an equine motif as a nod to this,” Stacy says. The chandelier was a purchase the couple made while living in Louisiana and has hung in every house they’ve owned since.
Use What You Love
In the living room, the light walls and stained beams were kept intact. The challenge was in editing down the couple’s furnishings and choosing only what they needed from their previous home as well as deciding how to use it here. “In any project, I’d rather use pieces they have and plug in additions—no one can get everything new all at once,” Stacy says. “Plus, it looks like their house.”
“Bringing in blue and green in the draperies gave their existing furniture a fresh look without recovering it.”
—Stacy Sheid Epps, designer
Conceal the Clutter
At the back door, Stacy created a drop zone with a mix of cabinetry and textiles (left). “All of the walls were wooden so I felt like we needed to bring in softness. Also, I am kind of obsessed with this Elizabeth Eakins orange and blue block print,” the designer says of the fabric that ties the space in with the rest of the home’s palette.
Make it Meaningful
The living room extends seamlessly into the dining space, which is just off the kitchen. Here, the table and chairs that once belonged to Kellie’s parents are as sentimental as they are practical. Blue and white accents, such as the ginger jars seen on the table and in the cabinet, unite the three areas.
Update the Flow
In the kitchen, an awkward peninsula interrupted the transition from the cooking area to the hearth room. Swapping that for a centrally located island created two distinct yet connected areas. The update also gave the couple more storage space both in the island and a newly built display cabinet. Making good use of materials, the soapstone counter that once topped the peninsula was cut and repurposed on the island, while the appliances and remaining cabinetry stayed in place. A tumbled stone backsplash was traded for V-groove wood to match the room’s fresh and classic appeal.
Bring In the Color
“Their style is traditional and timeless, and they don’t want anything that is overly bold,” Stacy says of her clients. “For example, the ‘Hydrangea Drape’ Schumacher wallpaper was definitely out of the box for them,” she adds, pointing to the bright yet timeless treatment that flows from the kitchen into the adjoining hearth area. Rather than a breakfast table, Stacy opted to recover a pair of chairs the couple owned and create a cozy conversation area. An antique butcher block serves as a side table below a collection of Kellie’s stoneware that hangs on the wall.
Highlight What You Have
The primary bath’s surfaces were covered in a pinkish, tan marble—a statement piece the Lavys did not want to remove yet was tricky for Stacy to work into a new design. To give the space an updated look, Stacy swapped heavy, French-style mirrors for shagreen options and added a cream-on-cream wallpaper. “Color was the hardest aspect because, ‘What will work with the marble?’” Stacy recalls thinking. “I felt like we needed to go with more contemporary options to freshen and balance the room.” New café sheers, sconces, and an alabaster overhead light fixture also speak to this decision.
Furnishings from the couple’s previous bedroom—which was in the process of being updated when they decided to move—fit seamlessly into their new space. Floral-patterned draperies and a feminine, ruffled duvet bring a soft sweetness to the room.
Contractor Tim McMahon, Tim McMahon Building Company Interior design Stacy Sheid Epps, Stacy Sheid Interiors Accessories, bedding, fabrics, fixtures, furniture, lighting, and wallpaper Stacy Sheid Interiors Cabinetry Collins Custom Cabinets Carpet and tile Tom January Floors Mirrors Art Emporium and French Metro Antiques Window coverings Selah Design Studio and Stacy Sheid Interiors