By Amanda Wells | Photos by James Patterson
After moving into their newly constructed home, John and Cecilia McKee sought the help of designer Tawana Barnette of Interior Spaces to add the finishing touches. “Driving up to their lakeside home, I noticed that the yard was immaculate in the most natural, serene way,” says Tawana, who set out to bring the peaceful organic feeling indoors.
Before moving into this home, the McKees lived amongst earth tones and more formal surroundings, and wanted to make the switch to a feeling of open and airy calm. “More than anything, John and Cecilia told me they wanted a home where people felt comfortable,” recalls Tawana. Cecilia’s style is more French Country while John’s is a little more traditional Southern, so Tawana made it her mission to meld the two while bringing in a few more contemporary touches. The finished product is a tranquil and transitional home perfect for the McKees.
“They really wanted it to feel like a seamless transition from indoor to outdoor and for the whole house to really fit together,” says Tawana. First, she tackled the bookshelves, where the McKees had felt a bit stuck. “I brought in some things and moved some things around. Sometimes just doing that inspires the homeowners to dig deeper, reflect on their house, and what they love.” John, a civil engineer, incorporated a surveying instrument that reminds him of his years surveying as a young man. An antique radio John listened to with his mother was repurposed as a bedside chest in the couple’s guest room, bringing in special childhood memories to this space. A white painted root sits on the coffee table, further creating an interwoven connection between nature and home, as do the tree ring watercolor paintings hanging in a nearby hallway.
Pillows and fabric-two of Tawana’s favorites-were brought in to add warmth and comfort. The white and gray shades throughout the home add a fresh, cool factor, but the texture of fabric and warm woods tone it down. “I wanted to add a pop of color to the whites and grays,” says Tawana. “The blush and soft pink shades of the tree bark lumbar pillows in the Parsons chairs flanking the buffet were the perfect touch, and continue the theme of bringing the outdoors in. And, John was totally on board with pink!”
In the dining room, a custom-made Farm Table lends a warm spot to gather with family and friends on comfortable chairs and a plush rug. In the living room, an antique piano is flanked by vintage mid-century Thomasville chairs. Paired with fresh neutrals and new furnishings, the warm antiques give a transitional, and new Southern feel to the home. “We brought in art, including a piece by local artist Lynn Sanders in the dining room, and colors that were natural and soft to complete the home,” says Tawana. “It’s a comfortable and peaceful picture of Southern elegance that blends old and new.”