A small corner sink is inset into the butcher-block-and-marble island in a French Country-style kitchen in Connecticut. Owner Carole Lalli, former editor in chief of Food & Wine magazine, designed it for her family's love of cooking, "The really large island is because my daughters cook with me when they visit, and my husband is America's best prep cook." Round hammered nickel sink and its faucet by Waterworks.
Designer Robin Bell decorated this house in Florida with the tropical climate in mind. But in the plantation-like master bedroom, a stenciled arch frieze is an unusual motif for tropical decorating. "I'd have to say that the Moorish-Venetian thing seemed to have turned into a subliminal theme here," she says. "I like the contrast the bedroom carpet makes against the mahogany floor, too. Strong contrasts are always crisp and refreshing in hot climates. The pattern of the carpet is echoed on the master bathroom floor. Custom wall color is glazed and combed.
In a Michigan lake cottage, the living room is designed in blue and white with pops of yellow. Designer Tom Stringer found the yellow accents from an unusual source: magazines. A coffee table designed by Stringer holds stacks of old National Geographics. "They added the perfect yellow punch," he says. "They're so classic — just like blue and white. But we also knew they'd be great rainy day reading." Throughout the house, walls, trim, and ceiling are 's White dove.
Vibrant color and bold print give a tiny New Jersey beach house bathroom big personality. "Powder rooms are places where you can gild the lily," designer Mona Ross Berman says. "We used a loud geometric in a bright ocean blue to give it a slightly over-the-top feeling." Wallpaper is Recessed from .
Designer Gary McBournie opted for lighter, muted colors in this Palm Beach house rather than the eye-catching bright colors that are the norm in the area. "We wanted to keep it light and clean, so we used watery blues, silvery taupes, sun-bleach pinks, greens, and lilacs," he says. "I wanted to give it the mood of being away, someplace else. It feels a little like Italy or the Caribbean." Everything white, including a sideboard from and vintage Chinese Chippendale chairs, makes a crisp contrast to custom-glazed duck-egg-blue walls. Though new, the chandelier was found in a Palm Beach antiques shop.
Designer Vicente Wolf created a modern outdoor space with a white motif that flows from the interiors of the Southampton home. "White makes a strong foundation," he says. "It creates stability. Too much color and pattern feels nervous to me. I like my backgrounds clean — the space becomes about the shapes of the furniture, the light, and the pop of the objects." Furniture from . The filmy white curtain in Spinnaker from is more practical than decorative, filtering the sun's strong ultraviolet rays."
"It's so comforting to see blues and greens everywhere," designer Lynn Morgan says about the family room of a Connecticut farmhouse. "It creates such serenity and warmth." Morgan also made sure it was kid- and dog-friendly since the owners have four young boys. "The fabrics and furniture are indestructible," she says. "The room says, 'Come on in, everybody's welcome.'" Sofas are covered in Florian Plain in dark blue from . Throw pillows are Zig Zag and 's Gypsy in Bloom. Cobalt Porcelain lamps sit on rattan cubes.
Designer Kay Douglass added Belgian style to a Southern family home with neutral colors and European decor. "For me, Belgium is all about seeing that the most beautiful things are not always the finest," she says. "It's okay if things look old and used. And it's okay to keep things very, very, very simple." In the master bedroom, an antique door is the headboard, a trick designer Douglass often uses to add interest while taking up less space in the room. Ivy-patterned pillowcases are custom-made from fabric. The pair of Earl chairs are from . Walls are Seapearl by .
Designer J. Randall Powers used neoclassical, but comfortable elements in a Houston home. In the foyer, creamy marble floors and a pair of antique Italian commodes topped by marble urns are centered by a particularly noble Zodiac light from . "I wanted everything — even the antiques to be simple and plain," he says. "This is a grand house, but so unpretentious. It's fairly formal, but at the same time, it's very inviting. I was careful not to do anything that would make it feel like a hotel. It had to feel like a home."
In a New Jersey beach house, designer Mona Ross Berman decorated with vibrant colors like yellow, turquoise, pink, and orange. To pull it off, she made sure they flowed throughout the house, so she used quieter shades of her palette in the guest room. "Even when I don't use the same colors everywhere, I still like the rooms to feel connected," she says. "The bedroom should never feel like it's in a completely different house from the living room — the whole house has to make sense as one."