When it came to decorating her own home, Tulsa-based interior designer, Emily Davis, put aside trendy styles and décor to create a space that perfectly suited the needs of her and her family. The 1940’s colonial that she shares with her husband and son is chock-full of things they love, that make them happy and that tell their unique story. In addition to natural light all around (there are windows on every wall—what a dream!), the house has character built into it due to its age and the many vintage finds throughout (including an antique elevator door in the living room). Yet, it feels modern and clean due to its beautiful remodel and many renovations.
Step inside and feel the love all around, and take note of all Emily’s advice and tips on where to find the best home décor. We’re pretty sure you’ll be inspired to do some home renovations to your own space after reading this.
Your home is beautiful! As an interior designer, how much harder is it to design your own home than a client’s home?
Thank you so much! It is always especially nice to receive compliments on the design of my personal home, because I truly design it for myself and for my family. It is a collection of things we love, that make us happy and that tell our story. No rules or agonizing over design decisions! Bunny Williams said, “If you love something, it will work. That is the only real rule,” and I couldn’t agree more. We live by this rule in our home and I try to get my clients to do the same.
You live in a historic 1940’s colonial home in Tulsa. What drew you to that style?
I am an architectural traditionalist and it doesn’t get more traditional American than a colonial-style home. When we moved from our 1920’s bungalow, we were really looking for a family home with more space. We had a 1-year-old and were quickly outgrowing the cozy dimensions that a bungalow provides. But on the other hand, I also don’t prefer a completely open layout. We had lived in an open-layout home when we lived in Houston, and I always found myself wishing for a bit more separation. Our colonial provides a bit of both—coziness and space. Natural light is also hugely important to me, and our house has windows on every wall. Such a dream!
We love the layout of your kitchen. What features were important to you when designing it?
The kitchen layout decision was a risk that ended up really paying off. This space used to be separated into two rooms—a small galley kitchen and a dining room. We decided to remove the wall and have one open space. It has proved to be a great decision. The layout really works for not only family life, but also for dinner parties and entertaining as well. My husband and I can be working on dinner or making drinks in the kitchen, while our guests are relaxing at the dining room table—it is perfect!
You have some really amazing wallpaper in your home! Any favorite spots to shop for unique wallpaper that will make a statement?
Being an interior designer, I am partial to the profession. Designers know the lay of the land and what products are available, so working with one can really streamline the design process. But there are some great websites for those that prefer to take matters into their own hands! I love DecoratorsBest and WallpaperDirect. I definitely recommend getting samples of papers you are considering so you can ensure that the color and scale are right for you!
Tell us about the nursery. What vibe were you going for?
Designing a nursery (especially for your own child) is such a special and emotional experience. The wall color is Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze, which is my favorite paint color. It is a blend of brown, black and gray. And it is such a good jumping off point for the room. I am a huge fan of contrast, so bringing in white on the draperies and furniture provided the hit of contrast I was looking for. It is also particularly important to me that homes have a good flow from space to space. So there are things in Sam’s room that you will find in other parts of our home (blue-and-white china, brass accents, pops of red, etc.). Continuity and cohesion make sure each room feels like it is part of the entire home’s story and not a standalone space.
Since becoming a mom, have you discovered any hidden gems for children’s furniture or décor?
The Land of Nod (now Crate&Kids) is my favorite catalogue store for littles. It has such stylish and whimsical things! And I will always be partial to vintage/antique pieces in any space, and a nursery is no exception. Antiques lend a sense of history to any space they are in, instantly upping the style quotient—every room needs at least one!
Two things that we are absolutely crushing on are your light fixtures and hardware. Where is your favorite place to shop for those accents?
Both items you mentioned are amazing ways to personalize a home and should definitely not be overlooked. For new light fixtures, I love Circa Lighting and Rejuvenation. For hardware, House of Antique Hardware and Build.com are fantastic. But I always scour Ebay and Etsy for antique and vintage options as well! I am currently on the hunt for the perfect French crystal flush mount for our entryway to replace the lantern style that came with the house. It’s going to be such a positive change!
Is there any particular piece of furniture in your home that has special significance?
It’s funny that you ask, because I could tell you a story about almost every piece of furniture in my home! One piece that has really special significance to us is the brass door in our formal living room. It is an elevator door that has been passed down from my husband’s great-grandfather. He owned an elevator company, and this door used to hang on the elevator in Whitney Bank in New Orleans. It is such a special piece to my husband and me. Sadly, its counterpart is at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. The ship carrying it sunk on the way to one of my husband’s relatives in Costa Rica. I have dreams of retrieving it one day!
When you are designing a space a new space, what is your typical process?
First and foremost, I have to figure out the room’s function and layout. After those two things are nailed down, it is easy to narrow down the furniture pieces and accessories that are needed. When working with clients, I really need to get to know their vibe and personality so I can make sure the space speaks to who they are. The goal is to have each home look like it belongs to my clients, not me!
What do you always have on your bedside table?
I obviously wouldn’t move it, but I have the most amazing chocolate brown, faux shagreen table lamp. I love it and it makes me happy every day! Not sure my husband gets the same sentiment from his side, but he has one as well!
What’s your favorite way to take your coffee in the morning?
I allow myself one cup and having it is one of my most favorite parts of the day. Gevalia Dark French Roast, Stevia, almond milk creamer and GoldynGlow Happy Turmeric Superfood Blend. Life changing.
Photography by Kacey Gilpin
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