Turning a 1960s home into a haven for a family of five isn’t an easy feat. But for Katie Bowling, founder of One Delightful Home, it was one worth doing. Over the past three years, Katie and her husband, Philip, have been working on transforming their traditional Southwest Virginia abode into a space that they can enjoy and use to host Airbnb guests. Built in 1963, the property features historical details, large wooden windows and an elevator they didn’t expect to work. While embracing the original designs of their Burlington home, the husband-wife duo weaved in modern, eclectic and rustic elements to turn this former student lodge into a bright, colorful and relaxing retreat.
Create an eclectic look with a gallery wall and mixed dining chairs.
“I wouldn’t consider my preference to be very traditional, but I wanted the house to speak for itself,” Katie says. This meant keeping the dining room’s original chandelier and wainscoting. Adding the gallery wall of vintage art and mixing the dining room chairs was Katie’s way of incorporating her personal preference. “I wouldn’t say I lean much into the grand millennial kind of thing, but I like a little more of an eclectic traditional home that adds a bit of color to make things more interesting,” she says. This is especially inspired by her grandparents who collected antiques, and her great-grandfather, who was a Virginia-based woodworker.
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Add a pop of color with a rug.
For Katie, the family room felt like a break from the traditional elements of the home. Along with painting the wood paneling white, she added in a neutral-toned leather couch and a semi-colorful rug as a statement piece. “I felt the freedom to create a comfortable space where we can sit around and watch a TV show,” Katie says. “It would feel very transitional in style without the rug.”
💡Katie’s Tip: Find a picture of someone’s space with a rug you like, then create a mood board to envision how it will look in your room.
Formal Living Room
Don’t be afraid of a dark room.
When Katie’s family purchased the home in 2019, she wasn’t sure how much she liked the original molding on the living room walls. After realizing how popular they’ve become over the years, she decided to paint them a dark forest green to modernize the space. “I also love our formal living room, because we mainly use it for music and enjoying the fireplace,” she says. “The room stays pretty tidy as a result and the dark walls make a huge statement right when people walk in.”
With three decent-sized windows, a marble fireplace and touches of white throughout, this is a special area they felt could be “out of the box” when it came to a typical living room design.
Paint the piano.
This family-heirloom was painted two times before Katie decided to enliven it with a vibrant pink shade. Once deemed a burden for its grand size, it was first painted white, and then yellow, before its current color. “My husband is musical and my kids are kind of learning to play,” Katie says. With its faux fur bench and stylish decor, it adds personality to the room’s overall mysterious aesthetic.
Make sure the space is practical.
When it came to her son’s room, Katie incorporated her personal style with elements that would suit a 10-year-old. This meant getting rid of the curtains (because he would continuously pull them down) and adding a basketball hoop behind the door. “You have to try to take some of what they like and incorporate it into the room and walls,” Katie says. “It has things that I like, but also my son’s Patriots helmet on display.”
💡Katie’s Design Tip: Think to yourself: “Is there a way to take their ideas and incorporate it where they’ll like it for a longer period of time and it’s more sustainable?”
Let wallpaper be your starting point.
The girls’ bedroom was completed last summer. Katie’s seven and two-year-old daughters appreciate the bright and adorably-decorated space. The room was designed around Chasing Paper’s puppy wallpaper. “The wall was white for a bit, but we really wanted to do a color that contrasted in a fun way,” Katie says. “I really like the way the pale blue plays with a coral orangey type color.” Tapping into her love of antiques and the home’s natural style, Katie kept the room’s original chandelier, added her family’s childhood bed and purchased the swing from Facebook Marketplace.
Mariah Thomas (she/her) is an assistant editor for Good Housekeeping, where she covers home and lifestyle content. Mariah has more than four years of editorial experience, having written for TLC, Apartment Therapy, Women’s Health and Avocado Magazine. She received her master’s degree in journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism and published her first book, Heart and Soul: Poems of Thoughts and Emotions, in 2019. She’s also the founder of RTF Community a platform for creatives of color to connect, learn and showcase their work.
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