Photos by Rebekah Westover
Dismissing any notion of a stuffy decor, Jeff and Jenn Burke enlist a team of pros to treat their traditional Highland home to at-east elegance and fresh, lively style.
On paper, it has all the earmarks of a traditional décor: paneled walls, generous moldings, stately entry staircase, herringbone wood floors and black-and-white checkerboard marble. The list goes on. But any idea of formal rooms outfitted with a full-dress decorum evaporate once you step inside. Homeowners Jenn and Jeff Burke teamed with talented pros to infuse the couple’s new residence with upbeat elegance and a relaxed-yet-refined attitude. “We built this house to be lived in,” Jenn says. “Put your feet up, jump on the furniture, gather around with family and friends.” The design may be fresh and crisp, but there’s no starch in its collar.
From the start, Jeff was adamant that the house would have traditional bones. “He didn’t want to have to renovate it ten years from now because its style looked outdated. We could always change the lighting and furnishings down the road, but the house itself had to be timeless,” Jenn explains. She agreed wholeheartedly and considered the classic backdrop ideal for the lively décor she envisioned and was eager to create. “I’m super visual and don’t like anything plain. If it were up to me, every wall would be papered,” Jenn says with a laugh. With a wish list firmly in hand, the duo enlisted designer Joseph Ward to turn their ideas into tangible plans.
For months, Ward worked closely with the Burkes to develop their wants and needs before creating 3-D renderings detailing every inch of the home, from floor plans to furnishings, finishes and even fabrics. These elaborate plans set forth a cohesive design that helped simplify and direct the building and decorating of the home, a boon for Shelby Homes’ Mike Deuel and designer Stephanie Holdaway, principal of Gatehouse No.1. “Joseph created a beautiful and detailed visual before we even broke ground,” says Holdaway. She collaborated with Jenn as they used Ward’s plans to guide the décor’s furniture and accessory selections as well as styling throughout. Designer Chelsea Kasche helped Jenn choose and coordinate finish selections.
Set against a backdrop of warm white, a vivacious mix of feminine colors, shimmering metals, luxe fabrics and rich textures captures Jenn’s passion for all things pretty. It begins the minute one steps through large front doors painted in statement-making black.
A spacious entry instantly introduces the effervescent aesthetic that elevates the entire décor. Here, a colorful abstract painting hangs below a stately staircase and establishes the spirited color palette that flows throughout the interior. Dark herringbone wood floors, elegant black doors and white, richly paneled walls dress the space in classic beauty. Nearby, two black-framed glass pocket doors crafted with muntins in a classic X-pattern open to the family’s much-used music room. Chirpy magenta and olive pillows, a shimmering gold sunburst mirror and a sparkling tiered chandelier make the space sing. “Jenn is so bubbly and warm, and her personality shows in every room,” Holdaway says.
Beyond the entry lies the centrally situated great room—a generous open living-dining-kitchen space. There, a lofty two-story sitting area is anchored by a paneled fireplace wall elegantly framed by built-in shelves and tufted-leather benches. An enormous sectional and two four-foot-square tufted leather ottomans face this wall, expanding the room’s seating and livability. “We can comfortably seat 30 people here,” says Jenn, who frequently hosts large gatherings with Jeff. The soaring ceiling lowers to create a more intimate feel for the nearby dining area and all-important kitchen.
“I told Joseph I wanted a jammin’ kitchen and if there was enough money left over, throw it at some bedrooms,” jests Jenn, whose big parties and large-scale baking projects made this gourmet kitchen a priority. Broad countertops, a hidden butler’s pantry and generous work space provide practicality while sparkling tile backsplashes, white cabinets, brass hardware and jeweled orb pendant lights stir more than a little glam into the hard-working room. “Okay, I’m a little nuts about pretty light fixtures,” Jenn admits.
Memorable design elements dazzle throughout. Dark floral Ellie Cashman wallpaper and brass fixtures pour on the drama in the powder room. A custom antelope-patterned rug puts elegance in play as do gold-accented furnishings and soft blush and caramel tones in the master bedroom. The adjoining bath boasts wheat-toned, grass cloth-covered walls, champagne-hued draperies, a capiz shell chandelier and a shapely freestanding tub.
Thanks to the talented team, the Burkes couldn’t be happier with their home. “I had a clear idea of what I wanted from the start, but thanks to an amazing collaboration, it turned out even better than we had imagined,” Jenn says. From this inspired visionary, that’s high praise.