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Breaking Tradition

While some may shy away from bold colors, texture and pattern, local interior designer Kate Hayes dives right in to transform a 1950s home into an eclectic escape.

Schumacher’s Taj Trellis Noir wallpaper made for the perfect pop of pattern in the couple’s teenage daughter’s bedroom. 

Hayes channeled colorful vibes in the powder room with this Graham & Brown wallpaper and art by Whitespace Gallery artist Amy Pleasant.

Complementing the designer’s contemporary-eclectic aesthetic for the home are glamorous accents throughout, including a metallic gold-footed coffee table in the living room and attention-grabbing gold-framed chairs in the dining area.  

Stark-white vases from West Elm add contrast atop the rustic wooden dining table snagged from Restoration Hardware.

“To me, this space is a great neutral palette to balance the rest of the wild color, and I love the waterfall island,” comments Hayes on the more clean, modern kitchen. 

The dining chairs were outfitted in custom fabric.

If you think less is more, think again. While that might be the traditional take on outfitting a home, today’s modern trends are embracing brighter hues, out-of-the-box patterns and unconventional textures—and we can’t get enough.

When it comes to spaces that feel fresh and original, designer Kate Hayes of Atlanta-based Kate Hayes Design is leading the charge. Recently, the Georgia-bred beauty tackled a 4,000-square-foot Decatur home built in 1950 with the intention of creating a comfortable space (a necessity for homeowners Jill and Neil, whose family of four recently added a fifth) that felt as lively as it did livable. “I mostly love bringing out the best of people’s own tastes,” says the artsy 37-year-old, who decided on a palette of white, citron, teal, gray and deep-blue—hues that separately invoke a sense of calm yet become bright and energetic once juxtaposed—for the five-bedroom residence. “With Jill and Neil, they were awesome and fun. I wanted to play up the playful, cool vibe of the couple who seem to be up for anything.”

In this case, “up for anything” translated to a medley of colorful furniture (think a vibrant yellow-green Como sofa from Design Within Reach in the family room, plus citron drapery and custom multicolor chairs in the dining room) and plenty of pattern play from the ground up. “We had lots of fun with rugs—they wanted motion on the floors and love graphics, so Tom Dixon from The Rug Company and Mary McDonald for Patterson Flynn Martin were perfect fits,” Hayes explains. To balance the contemporary-eclectic vibe, Hayes added glamorous accents: a sizable chandelier from Restoration Hardware in the dining area, a Jonathan Adler sheepskin chair in the living room, Lucite end tables and a coffee table found at Anthropologie, and a handful of modern artwork sourced locally. “We were realistic about how the family would live, but also pushed a bit for an elevated design,” she continues. “We have no sharp corners—all coffee tables are rounded—and all fabrics are, for the most part, fairly easy to clean or will hide stains well.”

If Hayes’ end result proves anything, it’s that so-called rules of design should be pushed more often. And the homeowners couldn’t agree more. “Kate’s incredible design aesthetic and infectious personality are what transformed our house into a home,” says Jill. “She fulfilled our desire to have a contemporary and comfortable feel in our home. We told her we loved color and texture, and she ran with it from the windows to the walls.” @katehayesdesign