By: Brian Kendall
| photography by Alex Lepe |
Vivid color and natural light now pass through the entire Davidson home on Hamilton Avenue in Fort Worth’s Monticello neighborhood. An eclectic array of patterns engages each room in a conversation through the consistent use of colors. The concatenation of differing décor does not disrupt the effortless flow from one room to the next, and the eyes are never bored.
Rebecca Atkinson and Kelley Roberts of Beckley Design Studio in Fort Worth created a color palate from a pair of statement “bonnet” chairs homeowners Jordan and Adam Davidson purchased before they began making over their home of 13 years. The multifarious Schumacher Chiang Mai Jade fabric chairs have bold personality teaming with reds, greens, grays, and blues, all of which purposefully show up again in the rugs, breakfast room cushions and art. Roberts and Atkinson pulled some of Davidson’s favorite colors out of the chairs — peacock blue and poppy red — and threaded them through the handsome-yet-feminine home.
And while the style seems effortless and organic as if everything fell into place, every detail is intentional. I couldn’t help but wonder how the design duo imagined a black and white couch with an octagonal trellis pattern would work adjacent to bright multi-colored chairs with a Chinese-dragon and flower-printed fabric. But after seeing it, it’s hard to imagine it any other way.
“We lay them [the fabric and paint samples] all out and look at the entire house as one big room,” Atkinson said.
Davidson said her taste before the remodel was more traditional. The walls were a darker color, and some, now removed, blocked natural light from permeating the house. The rooms lacked in light fixtures to create more needed artificial light. While Davidson knew she wanted to brighten with color and light, she didn’t know how on her own.
She and her husband also wanted more space and initially shopped around for a new home. But the Davidsons had lived in Monticello for 13 years, developing close friendships with the neighbors, and Jordan grew up there as a child. So instead of moving, they hired Brent Hull of Hull Historical to add onto their home. She hired Beckley Design Studio to work with Hull from the beginning.
“We added a bedroom, playroom, more square footage downstairs, and my husband’s favorite — an outdoor living area. We moved walls and redid all windows, doors, and woodwork,” Davidson said.
Although the home was built in the 1980s, it is a neoclassical build with a historic look. Davidson felt the interior was stuck in the 80s with details like a mirrored wall in the formal living room. Brent Hull not only added onto the home, but also updated the interior to carry the historical feel of the exterior.
Schumacher Chiang Mai Jade fabric chairs
“Sometimes when you walk up to the house, it wants to be something. In this case because it was symmetrically designed, it read more as a historical and traditional home,” Hull said.
His team upgraded the moldings and the caliber of the molding throughout the home.
Poppy red swivel chairs in the main family room are made of a virtually indestructible polyester fabric by Kravet Fabrics.
“This house, even though it was built in the 80s, which can be a nondescript era, wasn’t a big challenge. You walk into the main entry hall, addressing that with the moldings and trims. When you put those details in properly with the right scale, then it works,” Hull said.
Davidson entertained the idea of a trendy metal stair railing in the foyer, but Hull didn’t think it would fit the style of the home. Sometimes the wrong touch can look like a rogue weed in a garden or the wrong shoes for the dress.
Master bedroom: Beckley Design Studio had the king headboard from Round Top recovered. The lamps are from Arteriors Home Accents. The designers updated the already-owned bedside tables from Anthropologie with new hardware.
Hull said the right railing brought the foyer to life. Roberts and Atkinson came in with artwork and a funky glass-blown chandelier.
Roberts and Atkinson worked closely with the Hull team from the beginning. Davidson turned to Beckley Design Studio to help her define her own style and update without severing the décor with the home.
“They both have an eye for style that I only wish I had. They can look at something or move a lamp that changes the whole room. They are a truly talented duo,” Davidson said.
The Beckley duo defined her style as “transitional.” Atkinson said it means traditional mixed with contemporary, yet comfy, colorful and eclectic. For example, in the front room the team incorporated black caned-back chairs she already owned that Davidson wanted to keep but updated them with a bright accented pillow and juxtaposed next to a zebra rug. A vibrant painting hangs above the fireplace mantle. Two antique ottomans just below in front of the fireplace are recovered with fabric that speaks to the colors in the painting. On each side of the fireplace, a collection of Baccarat crystal butterflies and Herend critters echo the colors in the fabric and painting as well. Make no mistake, nothing in here is “matchy matchy.” Rather, everything nods to other areas of the home. The patterns are never repeated, yet complement the home as a whole.
“We want the different rooms to coordinate without everything matching perfectly,” Roberts said. “The design should feel effortless.”
Davidson decided it was time to remodel their home last year because it felt outdated and her taste changed to a more contemporary style. Her three boys, ages 5, 9 and 10, are also growing up, so she is able to get rid of the baby gates, sippy cups and highchairs.
Although her boys are older, they have not outgrown the mud, dirt and swimming pools. Roberts and Atkinson kept this in mind when they picked tough and stain-resistant fabrics for the furniture. The poppy red swivel chairs in the main family room are made of a virtually indestructible polyester fabric. [Atkinson pours a drop of bottled water onto the fabric. It beads up and rolls away never soaking in or staining.] Meanwhile the chairs promise to hold the color and texture as her three boys tread throughout the house after sports practice with their friends.
The main living area is now an open space with furniture arranged into a family room, a sitting area by the back doors, a breakfast room and a kitchen. This area is one of Davidson’s favorite spaces because that is where she spends the most time with her family. Roberts and Atkinson brightened the space with white paint on the walls, added more artificial light, and replaced ceiling fans with light fixtures and artsy chandeliers.
Artwork and ornamentation from local caches like DH Collection bedeck the walls, too. Where the once outdated mirror wall was, a collection of radiant blown-glass bowls and plates now hang above the chair molding in the dining room. The antique chairs around the dining room table have new fabric. Roberts endearingly calls them the “mullet chairs." Where you sit is pale blue leather that one can easily wipe off, and in the back a rainbow of patterned fabric framed by the chair’s back engages the eye as if art in itself. So it is business in the front and party in the back on these dining room chairs. Those boys can spill spaghetti and no problem.
For this reason, you could say the entire home is functional chic. It’s brimming with style yet will survive the boys through their teen years. Raising young children is something Roberts and Atkinson know very well. They, too, are working moms with little ones at home.
At Beckley Design Studio lifestyle is the first thing they consider when they start designing. While it varies from client to client, they typically start with the family room and then work on the master bedroom. But this home was what they called a “two-part project” because they needed to pick out flooring, countertops, paint colors, tile for the kitchen and bathroom, faucets, showerheads, decorative lighting and hardware so the home could function first. They typically stick with a neutral palate, as they did in this home, so it easily complements whatever they bring in. It usually isn’t anything too trendy so reselling the home would not be a problem. And if they want to update a room in a few years, it would not clash with the home’s neutral base.
“Chances are they are going to recover their sofas before they redo their backsplash,” Roberts said. “The trendy can come in the hardware, pillows, lighting and rugs, which are affordably replaced.”
In this home they started “part two” upstairs in the boys’ room, which ended up being the designers’ favorite. They went so far as to pick out beds, custom pillows, custom window coverings, layered rugs and furniture before the remodel even started. Davidson shared each of her sons’ favorite colors and an item they are attached to. Atkinson and Roberts creatively soared after that.
At the top of the stairs, the first boy’s room, like the downstairs, has an array of patterns in the pillows, rugs, drapes and furniture, all in his favorite colors — navy, green and white. On the top bunk is a massive 6-foot-long green stuffed animal snake with navy blue and white rings on his fuzzy scales.
It’s a prime example of Roberts’ and Atkinson’s success. The Beckley team read the Davidsons' minds in style while keeping the lifestyle of a young family in the forefront.
Design Tips for Young Families
The Beckley Design Studio experts offer tips on how to keep a young family’s home stylish and put together.
Storage: Building cabinets into the space is a great way to hide and store toys. Cabinets with doors on the bottom conceal toys while open bookshelves above offer style to display your favorite trinkets.
Stylish bins and large baskets are good to have around. You can easily toss toys, balls, and games in the basket for a quick cleanup.
Durable fabrics: Try using outdoor fabrics in high-traffic rooms. So many of them are just as pretty if not prettier than indoor fabrics while still soft.
Accessories: Accessorize with books and items that can’t be broken such as acrylic bowls or metal objects. There is such a great selection of stylish children’s books that blend in well with pretty coffee table books.
Furniture: Incorporate stylish children’s furniture into the décor in family rooms so the children have their own space to color and play. A set of four mini ghost chairs and a little table fits right into a modern space.
Floor Coverings: Install hard flooring such as wood or tile and use area rugs that can easily be cleaned instead of wall-to-wall carpet. This is also better for a child with asthma and/or allergies as carpet can collect a lot of dust.
Pillows & Cushions: Have throw pillows and chair cushions made with hidden zippers so the inserts can be taken out and the pillows cleaned if there is a spill.
Artwork: Incorporate the children’s artwork into the decor so they feel a sense of pride and ownership in the project. Plus it’s free!
Beckley Design Studio
In 2011, Rebecca Atkinson and Kelley Roberts combined their love for all things beautiful and started Beckley Design Studio. Together they are creating eclectic and sophisticated designs for their clients—a style they share. In the homes they design, you will find vintage, antique, contemporary and mid-century modern styles with a mosaic of patterns and colorful accents. While their brimming residential clientele stays private, you can find their work in popular Fort Worth spots like the updated Lunch Box and Tokyo Café’s remodel, due to be finished this summer.
By: Brian Kendall