Home & Design

White walls contrast with pops of coral and aqua.

Bonnell transformed the kitchen with new white cabinets and granite countertops.

In the breakfast room, vibrant blue reproduction Shell chairs and window treatments in bold coral add playful touches.

Bonnell daringly juxtaposed color and pattern in the dining room.

A console painted bright coral draws the eye up to a series of fanciful floral prints.

Lively turquoise wallpaper in the powder room is by Thibaut.

Thibaut wallpaper in a lighter turquoise colorway sets a tranquil tone in the home office.

In the great room, Vanguard seating faces a fireplace showcasing artwork by Amanda Leffel.

Tropical Punch

Vibrant colors and bold patterns lend playful pizzazz to a traditional home in Warrenton, Virginia

If you’ve got a wardrobe full of bright, classic clothes, should your style carry over into your home? Judging by interior designer Erika Bonnell’s redo of a young family’s Warrenton colonial, the answer is a poppy-hued, preppy-meets-glamorous “Yes!”

“The wife is drawn to strong colors and a traditional aesthetic,” says Bonnell. “She likes things clean, fresh and very upbeat.”

That’s why the owners called on Bonnell during the summer of 2016 to redecorate the first floor of the house they had shared with their two young children since 2010. “I’m known for a bolder look, but I think the wife knew I could balance the strong punches of color she loves with subtler elements,” notes the designer.

The tallest order? Turning the dated 1990s holdover into an airy, personality-filled haven. “The kitchen was dark, and so many other elements were beige,” remembers the wife, a homemaker and volunteer. “The house wasn’t our style.” Bonnell’s solution was to liven everything up by applying candy-shop hues on furniture and walls, offset by strong doses of white in the kitchen and great room.

Out went the dark cherry kitchen cabinets, replaced by sleek white ones topped with frosty granite counters. The couple entertains frequently, so Bonnell and kitchen designer Heather Blelloch of Cornerstone Kitchen & Bath enlarged the island, replacing a built-in desk with a beverage station, mini-fridge and serving counter. “We used to have traffic jams when we had people over, but the bar area makes everything smoother,” says the wife, who stocks the fridge with LaCroix and juice for the kids and pours Champagne and white wine at the bar during grown-up soirées.

The adjacent breakfast room stays mostly neutral via Rove Concepts’ Lars table with a white lacquer top and ash legs below a dramatic white faux bois chandelier. Flashes of color—robin’s egg blue Eames-style chairs and window shades in Scandi-cool Fantuti Coral by Annapolis-based Victoria Larson—up the fizzy, fun vibe.

Next door, a great room with soaring ceilings and big windows sports the same crisp white on walls and moldings, while Bonnell’s playful mix of pattern and color headlines the furniture. “We were so badly in need of more seating, and it was dull before,” recalls the wife. “Now, it’s inviting for watching sports or sitting by the fireplace.” The kids rotate swivel chairs in a coral flame print to watch TV, while the husband, a technology executive, loves propping his feet up on a pouf upholstered in Brunschwig & Fils’ Les Touches Aqua leopard print. Bonnell placed a dreamy blue sofa under the windows, decking it out with custom pillows in groovy prints by Richmond fabric artist Lindsay Cowles.

Accents including a pair of fiddle-leaf fig trees and an abstract painting by Roanoke artist Amanda Leffel (a childhood friend of the wife) keep things jazzy and fresh. “Erika told me I could either have white walls and colorful seating or vice versa,” says the wife. “I like how it worked out.”

Just off the great room, a light-filled den holds both the owner’s glass-topped desk and homework stations for her kids. Thibaut’s Tanzania wallpaper in turquoise echoes the pattern on the pouf in the great room and links to other aqua tones throughout the house. “We pulled strong corals and aquas from room to room,” says Bonnell. “All of these colors are so fluid.” The aqua hue also carries through to a snug powder room off the foyer, which is covered with Thibaut’s reverse-toile South Sea wallpaper.

But the punchiest, most vibrant space in the house? The riotously bold dining room, where the designer channeled her inner Dorothy Draper via a combo of Schumacher’s jungle-green Zanzibar Trellis wallpaper and drapes made of Schumacher’s Chiang Mai Dragon fabric. When she was designing the space, recalls Bonnell, “I was thinking of Draper’s Greenbrier, Lilly Pulitzer and the idea of something vibrant.” The couple’s polished-wood table is paired with new Bernhardt side chairs in Kravet’s Tully fabric and host and hostess chairs in a subtle Thibaut tweed banded with Schumacher trim—in aqua, of course.

An existing dark wood console came brilliantly back to life thanks to several coats of glossy coral paint; it now holds heirloom china and glassware beneath a gallery of floral prints that belonged to the wife’s great aunt. High-gloss green paint on the moldings and trim, plus Hollywood Regency accents such as pagoda lamps and a Moroccan-style mirror, play off the festive surroundings. “We entertain so often in here; we put out pretty cakes and enjoy our family time,” says the wife, reflecting on the transformation. “And I wasn’t even thinking of wallpaper before this!”

Interior Design: Erika Bonnell, Erika Bonnell Interiors, Haymarket, Virginia. Kitchen Design: Heather Blelloch, Cornerstone Kitchen & Bath, Chantilly, Virginia.



Wooden Chair (red frame): themtcompany.com. Wooden Chair Fabric: sunbrella.com. Slipper Chairs: vanguardfurniture.com. Slipper Chairs Fabric: vanguardfurniture.com. Ottoman: vanguardfurniture.com. Ottoman Fabric: kravet.com/les-touches-aqua. Blue Sofa: vanguardfurniture.com. Sofa Fabric: kravet.com. Custom Pillows: lindsaycowles.com. Blue End Table: wisteria.com. Glass Side Table: homegoods.com. Curtains Fabrication: pauldaviddesign.com. Floor Lamp: visualcomfort.com. Table Lamp: curreycodealers.com.

Cabinets: ckbva.com. Countertops: unitedgranitemd.com. Pendants: visualcomfort.com. Faucet: moen.com.

Chairs: emoderndecor.com. Chandelier: arteriorshome.com. Window Shade Fabric: victoria-larson.com. Window Shade Fabrication: pauldaviddesign.com. Table: roveconcepts.com.

Wallpaper: fschumacher.com. Dining Chairs: bernhardt.com. Dining Chair Fabric: kravet.com. Host Chairs: leeindustries.com. Host Chair Fabric: thibautdesign.com. Chandelier: curreycodealers.com. Mirror: chelseahouseinc.com. Drapery Fabric: fschumacher.com. Drapery Fabrication: pauldaviddesign.com. White Lamps: bungalow5.com. Rug: fibreworks.com.

Wallpaper: thibautdesign.com. Console Sink: signaturehardware.com. Mirror: restorationhardware.com.

Chairs: ikea.com. Rug: greenfront.com. Wallpaper: thibautdesign.com.

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