Bold Strokes: A Transformation Inside a Myers Park Cottage
Designer Ashley DeLapp infuses bland spaces with flashy colors, vibrant patterns, and unique textures
Architect-turned-designer Ashley DeLapp has the rare ability to visualize a whole-house renovation as soon as she surveys a job site. “I look at things more as volume than as just the surface,” she says. “I can picture rooms with walls down before it ever happens.” If a client gravitates toward a particular color or palette, she’s already combed her mental catalog of fabric and wallpaper samples to design the interior.
DeLapp is the owner and lead designer of Ashley DeLapp Interior Design, and her style blends midcentury modern, Hollywood regency, and eclectic. She uses an audacious mix of bold colors, patterns, and textures—and it’s not for everyone. But her fearless approach is what prompted the owners of a 4,000-square-foot home in Myers Park to hire DeLapp to reconfigure their Karen Kettler-designed kitchen.
DeLapp describes the homeowners, who have two school-aged children, as fun and avant-garde. “The wife’s parents are from Portugal, so she had gorgeous rugs from Europe,” she says. “She wanted more personality in the house and was definitely not afraid of color.”
The homeowner loved a mustard-colored ILVE range she’d had custom made in Italy, so DeLapp built her palette around that anchor piece. She added a geometric tile backsplash, Regina Andrew pendant lights, and barstools with magenta faux leather cushions. To break up the monotony of the white cabinetry, she painted the kitchen island in Sherwin-Williams’ Rainstorm. “After that, she kept hiring me to do other rooms in the house,” DeLapp says with a laugh.
Over the next year, DeLapp tackled the primary bedroom, formal living room, landing space, home office, powder room, and their daughter’s bedroom. “(The floor plan) wasn’t very functional, and they didn’t use a lot of their spaces, so we blew the first floor wide open,” she says. She turned a small dining room off of the kitchen into a breakfast nook with built-in banquette seating and cabinets painted in the same color as the kitchen island. The Regina Andrew molten glass chandelier adds some drama, while the floral wallpaper, chair cushions, and pillow fabrics make it feel like a good space for a garden party.
For the primary bedroom, DeLapp used the homeowners’ upholstered bed with nailhead trim and a yellow bird painting as inspiration for the decor. She added a blue Stanton area rug and lavender drapes from Zinc Textile, punched up the wall behind the bed with purple Phillip Jeffries grasscloth wallpaper, and covered the ceiling in a textured gray wallpaper from Designers Guild. “(The homeowner) was hesitant about wallpaper on the ceiling,” DeLapp says. “They aren’t super high, and she was afraid the room would be too dark, so she needed a little convincing.”
In the corner, DeLapp created an upholstered bench out of a built-in armoire the homeowners wanted to remove. “Since they’d just refinished the floors, they didn’t want to redo them again,” she says. “I had a local company make a curved, upholstered back for it. Now it’s a glorified bed for their dog,” she says with a laugh. “But it was a way of using what we had without ripping it out and patching the floors.”
The home office, which had previously been a guest room, got Dura Supreme cabinets and a custom green lacquer countertop. DeLapp used taupe Phillip Jeffries grasscloth for an accent wall and an ikat-patterned fabric from S. Harris for the Roman shade. “People just want a pretty place to be in with plenty of natural light,” she says. “Nobody wants to work in a dark hole.”
At the top of the stairs, DeLapp turned an unused space into a teen lounge for their daughter. She installed a Dovetail pendant light and blue ikat wallpaper by Lindsay Cowles. “Most of the wallpaper I do is big, bold patterns,” DeLapp says. “Even if it’s grasscloth, it’s a bold color; not gray or beige. To me, wallpaper is a different way to give personality to a space that paint just can’t do.” An abstract black-and-white area rug from Jaipur Living complements the accent wall, and the turquoise velvet lounge chairs from Cove add another dimension to the blue motif.
The formal living room was the last part of the project, and DeLapp says it’s her favorite space in the home. “It was very dark, and now it’s full of light, and you can see through to the backyard,” she says. “Everywhere you look, there’s something pretty.” She mixed and matched patterns and textures, including the Zoffany drapery fabric; the stripe, flamestitch, and geometric chair pillows; the terra cotta Loloi rug; and the green velvet bench.
“There’s a lot going on in that living room, but it all works because the colors are harmonious,” she says. “As long as you keep a consistent palette and balance the scale of the patterns, it will blend well in the end.”
TAYLOR BOWLER is the lifestyle editor.