With A Colorful Transformation, This Cherished Home Is Ready For New Family Memories

Designer Allison Allen helps one family make a home their own.

Anna Robinson grew up just five doors down from her grandparents’ 1960s Georgian-style brick house, where childhood holidays were spent drinking sparkling cider from Waterford crystal or splashing in the front yard’s creek with her 14 cousins. Even so, she never imagined that the place where her father and his four siblings grew up would one day be where she’d raise her own children. “It was such a beautiful home, but I didn’t think it would ever be within reach,” says Robinson. However, after her grandmother passed away in 2019, she and her husband decided to take the plunge and bought the property from her father. The beloved house came with plenty of good features: classically scaled rooms, a rolling backyard bursting with azaleas , and her grandparents’ entire collection of antiques. But not everything was a keeper—it had a dark library, a cramped kitchen, and tired upholstery. So the couple brought on Atlanta designer Allison Allen , Robinson’s childhood friend, to revamp the house and create an easygoing haven that feels just right for the young family of four. Here’s how Allen pulled off a floor-to-ceiling transformation that honors the past and colorfully caters to the present.

Alison Allen Atlanta House Front

Brian Woodcock; Styling: Page Mullins

Allison Allen Atlanta Home

Brian Woodcock; Styling: Page Mullins

Focus on the Finish

Allen opted for a dramatic entry, covering the walls in Benjamin Moore’s Clinton Brown (HC-67). The secret to making the hue feel playful? A high-gloss finish, which summons light rather than smothering it. The look is formal but practical. “It’s so durable for cleaning off fingerprints,” says the designer. “You can just walk up the stairs and wipe the walls down, which is nice.” She floated a cobalt blue bell jar lantern from Meg Braff Designs overhead—a modern take on a fixture that Robinson’s grandmother once hung there.

Aim for Simplicity

The footprint of the kitchen was reworked to address the family’s needs. Allen ditched the original mustard wallpaper in favor of all-white everything, except for a few choice pops of blue in the pendants (by Mark D. Sikes for Hudson Valley Lighting ), the striped stool cushions, and the island. “I think kitchens should feel very clean,” she says. “I don’t like to have a lot going on.” The deep farmhouse sink tucked below the windows is both practical and pretty. “You can do just about anything in a big sink! Set flower arrangements in there, or bathe your dog,” suggests the designer.

Allison Allen Atlanta Home Dining Room

Brian Woodcock; Styling: Page Mullins

Don’t Mess With the Good Stuff

In the dining room, Allen left the table, the sideboard, and the crystal chandelier as they were. “I don’t think I would paint an antique dining table,” she says. “An English mahogany pedestal one is very classic and grounds a room.” Including traditional pieces gave the designer the freedom to embrace a riot of color elsewhere in the space. She cloaked the walls in an aqua pattern (Brunschwig & Fils’ Bird and Thistle), set the sideboard with a pair of chartreuse lamps, and wrapped the seat cushions in green faux leather that’s easy to clean.

Allison Allen Atlanta Home Living Room

Brian Woodcock; Styling: Page Mullins

Make Existing Pieces Work

Because the house was already full of furniture, the designer didn’t have to start from scratch. “Allison really helped me go through and decide what we should keep and make mine,” says the homeowner. “There are so many of my grandmother’s things that we painted and reupholstered.” In the living room, for instance, Allen re-covered the traditional sofa in a white stripe and wrapped a couple of ottomans in a cheeky animal print. New pieces—like the pair of skirted love seats and wicker urns from Mainly Baskets Home — provide a welcome layer of youthfulness. “It’s such a unique blend that reflects my family and me now,” says Robinson.

Allison Allen Atlanta Home Bar

Brian Woodcock; Styling: Page Mullins

Stock the Bar

The wet bar was a new addition to the house. Allen made the passthrough space a spot to gab over cocktails with fun touches such as Sanderson’s Ishi wallpaper and painted the cabinets in Benjamin Moore’s Buckingham Gardens (545) to mirror the lime green accents in the nearby dining room.

Alison Allen Atlanta Home Sunroom

Brian Woodcock; Styling: Page Mullins

Channel Old-School Style

Allen relied on throwback elements, like treillage, to ramp up the nostalgia in the sunroom. When a local craftsperson’s quote for creating this look proved to be too expensive, Robinson’s husband installed The Home Depot ’s ready-made lattice with help from a friend. Allen reupholstered pieces she found in the attic in an indoor-outdoor buffalo check and hung an oversize paper lantern. “The kids can wipe their cookie-covered hands on the furniture without staining it, but I can also have my friends over for a drink,” says Robinson.

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