Feels like home
January 1, 2022
Interior designer Allan Chapman helps an art-and-color-loving couple update their Foxcroft home.
by Blake Miller | photography by Dustin Peck
Emily and Blair Shwedo had the itch. After a decade living in their Myers Park home, the couple was ready for more space, a bigger yard and a quieter street. So in January 2020, they set the wheels in motion and reached out to their real estate agent, who showed them a home just around the corner from their house.
“It was great — it had a pool, it had everything we wanted,” Emily says. But the Shwedos wanted to look at one more home in Foxcroft before committing. When Emily toured the home the first time, she knew the property was just what they’d been hoping to find. Its large, flat lot afforded their growing family room to play, entertain and relax, while the location of the home, situated on a quiet cul-de-sac, was a huge draw. “It’s on a quiet, really wide street, which we love,” Emily says. “The backyard, really, is what drew us in.”
The interiors, though, were also a draw for the couple, most notably the fuchsia dining room, which Emily immediately loved. “The home sat for a while, and I think part of it was because of this room and the color,” Emily says. “But for me, I loved it. It’s partially why I wanted this home so much.” The interiors of the circa-1980s home were, for the most part, updated and simply needed modernizing and more of the Shwedos’ personality.
“There were rooms I really liked and knew we could work with,” Emily says. “And there were others that I just couldn’t figure out how to pull together.” Having worked with designer Allan Chapman on their previous house, the Shwedos again enlisted her to design the interiors for their new home. “Emily had just signed off on the living room design in her old house in Myers Park when she called me up and said, ‘Surprise! We bought a new home!’” laughs Chapman.
Luckily, the design that Chapman had begun for their previous home seamlessly transitioned to the Foxcroft property. “It was a very pretty home to start with,” Chapman explains. “It’s a very inviting, warm home. It didn’t need anything structurally — minor things, if anything. It already had that bright dining room that was painted fuchsia, which Emily loved. But some of the other spaces were a little dated and things needed some refreshing. Overall, it was easy to update with some cosmetic changes.”
The designer began in the front of the home and worked her way back starting with the living and dining rooms and the foyer. “When you walk into the home, those rooms are immediately to your right and left, and Emily really wanted those to be beautiful,” Chapman says.
With its existing bright-lacquered walls and cork ceiling, the dining room already boasted a solid foundation for the color-loving couple. “Our previous dining room was a high-gloss navy, so everything we planned in that space transitioned so well to this pink dining room,” Emily says. Chapman balanced the bold hue with custom draperies in a Romo Seville Chalk fabric with Samuel & Sons Rhodes Epingle velvet detail and an area rug by Bridgehampton.
In the living room across the foyer, Chapman balanced the dining room’s drama with a more subtle but colorful aesthetic, with the Cowtan & Tout wallcovering serving as the foundation. “Emily really wanted a softer palette in the living room, so we kept it light and airy but not boring,” says the designer. “We brought in the purples and pinks with those pretty Rebecca Atwood draperies and tried to make it a little glitzy with the gold and the mirror.” The draperies hang elegantly from hand-crafted lucite rods, a subtle detail with a big impact. “Emily loves things that have something special about them like these Louise Gaskill finials. Emily is great about selecting things that you don’t see very often.”
The Shwedos’ art collection played a huge role in Chapman’s aesthetic, as well, inspiring the heavy doses of color throughout. “One thing Blair and I both love is art,” Emily says. “That’s truly what spurred the ideas for each room. I know a lot of times the designers buy the artwork. But Allan was so great at using our personal artwork that we love and working around that.”
Each room’s unique personality is a reflection of the artwork, Chapman says. “Around each corner is a bit of a surprise.”
Two years after deciding to look for a new home, the Shwedos are ecstatic about their move. “We didn’t walk in and say, ‘Wow, this is amazing, this is so us’,” Emily says. “But now, after working with Allan on the interior design, it finally feels like home.” SP