Cozy color and sumptuous texture imbue a Nashville home with a cheerful glow at the holidays and every day.
Kids and Christmas go together like hot chocolate and marshmallows—all warm and wonderful. Ben and Jamie Rechter could feel that holiday magic long before a Christmas tree ever crossed the threshold of their new Nashville home.
“As they planned this house, every holiday was thought of,” designer Carolyn Kendall of Alcott Interiors says. “Family is very important to them. Their dream house had to be a cozy place to gather.”
To set the stage, Kendall and architect Ron Farris shaped rooms with timeless bones: coffered ceilings, fine millwork, mullioned windows. “The Rechters like a traditional look, so we gave them a very classic house,” Kendall says. Upon that timeless canvas, she layered a bounty of textiles.
Tactile upholstery covers soft furnishings, luxe draperies dress windows, and wallcoverings wrap both the walls and ceilings. “I love fabrics. I love texture,” Kendall says. “I love that wallpaper is back too. It’s becoming more important in design, and it’s different now with grass cloth, textures, large patterns. It adds so much to a room.”
In the entry, the Rechters welcome guests—and the holidays—with wreaths, garland, and sparkling gift boxes. Warmth radiates from the living room, where layers of textiles converge with venerable antiques, including a walnut trestle table and Italian chandelier.
Wallpaper carries subtle pattern up the spectacular height of a two-story foyer and texture across coffered ceilings in the living room and kitchen. In the dining room, the drama intensifies as a handcrafted paper wraps walls with overscale pattern and saturated blue hues that repeat on wool draperies.
“Ben and Jamie love blues,” says Kendall, who plied the color throughout the house in varying roles and intensities. “I wanted a good transition with the palette through each space. Some variety creates unique experiences as you move through the home.”
While blue is a constant, so are neutrals, which anchor the whole-house palette, leaving space for accents of greens, golds, and spice colors that dial up the cozy factor. Antique rugs serve as palette unifiers, artfully fusing the diverse threads of color.
At holiday time, wreaths, garlands, and a grand Christmas tree add more notes of organic green while ribbons and dried citrus ornaments supply extra slices of gold and cinnamon. Traditional “brown” antiques ground the scheme as the pieces ingrain the new home with a heartfelt collected-over-time aesthetic. The crackle of logs in a limestone fireplace offers the final touch of toasty ambience.
Kitchen cabinetry wears a coat of milk paint that’s tinted in Benjamin Moore “Castle Walls” and finished with a decorative wash. Taj Mahal quartzite on counters and the backsplash looks like marble but can stand up to any cooking marathon.
“Throughout the winter, we love to sit in the living room and get a fire going,” Ben says. “If there’s snow, it feels so good to watch it fall while we’re warm by the fire.”
The growing extended family—two of the Rechters’ three adult children have kids—arrives on Christmas Eve. “Jamie loves to have the house full,” Ben says. “We get up and open presents first thing on Christmas morning. The grandkids have really brought new life to the holidays.”
Joyfully scattering pretty gold wrapping paper amid newly unveiled toys works up an appetite. Luckily, the kitchen, created in collaboration with Design Galleria, offers plenty of eyepleasing inspiration for whipping up a yummy brunch.
“The paneled cabinetry, wallpapered ceiling, and soft window treatments make it feel like another living space,” Kendall says. Soft blues contrast runs of veined quartzite that give the appearance of marble with family-friendly durability. Antique French lanterns infuse character without blocking sight lines.
“Valmont” wallpaper in Delft by Arena Design provides a classic backdrop for an antique sideboard and gilt-frame mirror.
Old also mixes with new in the dining room, set for a memorable family meal. “We paired an antique sideboard and dressy ormolu chest they already owned with a more transitional table and chairs so it feels a little unexpected,” Kendall says. Glimmering brass carries through the palette’s strands of gold while cinnamon tones spice the antique rug.
Like the home’s gathering spots, private spaces abound with color, texture, and fabulous fabrics. In the homeowners’ bedroom, the mood takes a turn to the feminine with draperies and pillow coverings in large-format florals. “The happy colors—soft blue and apricot—make for a lovely retreat,” Kendall says.
“We went outside the box with materials,” says Kendall, who used patterned tile as wainscoting in the bath and created a “rug” of basket-weave tile. Colefax and Fowler “Sumela” fabric on draperies and shams sets a cheery mood in the Rechters’ getaway space.
The grandchildren, too, have a sanctuary space—a nursery that Kendall decorated with two wallpapers punctuated by a charming elephant-motif fabric treatment, animal art, and even a cuddly stuffed llama. And it’s all gender-neutral to work for all of the Rechters’ multiple grandkids.
A crib curtain in Kravet’s “Delmas” fabric picks up the soft blues and greens seen on wallpapers—on walls and ceiling—and chair upholstery. Animal paintings are by Anne Bohne Curtis.
“The nursery turned out to be one of everybody’s favorite rooms. It’s just such an inviting space,” Kendall says. “That’s what this house is about—comfort and coziness. It’s warm and welcoming when it’s just Ben and Jamie or when they’re hosting the whole family. You always feel at home.”