Designer Allyson Runnels’ Modern Mélange

And although she loves living at the beach, you won’t find a seashell, nautical motif, or bead board anywhere. “There is nothing beachy about this house,” says Runnels. “It is more formal and European inspired with sleek elements as well—but it is still warm and homey.” Large tumbled-limestone slabs cover most of the floors—something Runnels encountered often in France, where she spent a lot of time in her late teens. The kitchen is also very European in design with no upper cabinets, a large dining space next to the action, and a built-in pizza oven. “When building this house, I decided to forgo a formal dining room. Everyone usually ends up in the kitchen anyway, so why not eat there as well,” says Runnels.

For the color palette, Runnels favored white, and it is used almost everywhere. “I tried a new white from Benjamin Moore called Vanilla Milkshake, and it is my new favorite. It’s a warm white without any yellow undertones.” The exception is the master bedroom, with its dramatic black walls, black ceiling, and black velvet window treatments. “I typically do one dark-toned room in each of my clients’ homes. At first they might resist, but usually it ends up being their favorite room,” notes Runnels. The black walls provide an ideal backdrop for the white marble fireplace, bedding, and chaise lounge. “With the sconces on and the fireplace lit, the room takes on a moody Old-World feel, but it still has modern elements.”

Even interior designers have to make concessions to other family members as Runnels did for her husband, Scott, and her daughter, Lily. “My husband’s favorite color is blue, so he requested some in the house. We put dark aqua-blue leather chairs in the living room. It’s a very subtle shade, and one that even I can live with!” Runnels added some deep pink fabric and other girly touches to Lily’s room. Now the entire family has a place they love to dwell.

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