Blending Contemporary Design and Cottage Warmth in the Home

Tudor windows in living room
Photography by Lauren Rubinstein

By Lauren Eberle

Early on, Nikie Barfield had dreams of pursuing interior design. But life—and a law degree—had guided the accomplished attorney on a different path at the time she and her husband fell for their darling 1920s cottage in Decatur, Georgia. “The Tudor windows won me over,” Nikie recalls. “We couldn’t resist the home’s charm, even though we knew we’d have a lot of work ahead of us.”

breakfast table and French doors
Photography by Lauren Rubinstein

As it turns out the renovation was just the spark it took to re-ignite Nikie’s previous passion. “I fell back in love with the whole design process— the creativity, the textures, the fabrics, the styling.” Soon, her work was published in a national magazine, boosting her confidence and garnering client attention.

weathered table, farmhouse sink in white kitchen
Photography by Lauren Rubinstein

Her style is classic and natural; she chooses timeless, neutral backdrops and infuses a bit of color and a nod to nature. Take, for instance, the kitchen, where a weathered table and farmhouse sink balance crisp marble countertops and stainless appliances. “The mix of Old World and new world takes the edge off contemporary style and makes any space appear more approachable,” she explains. Well-curated accessories such as glass globe bottles and an antique scale add interest, while a simple background of blue makes glass-front cabinets pop.

elegant and neutral family room
Photography by Lauren Rubinstein

In the living room, a contemporary rug anchors an antique European coffee table, stone mantel, and structured chairs. “Hide is one of my favorite family-friendly rugs, since it’s natural, budget-friendly, and durable for children.” In the family room, slipcovers are stars, creating a conversational area that’s high on both style and comfort.

sunny master suite
Photography by Lauren Rubinstein

Upstairs, a formerly unusable attic was transformed into a sunny master suite with steeply pitched ceilings and a spa-like bathroom. “My favorite part of this space is the antique dressing table,” Nikie says. “Its classic patina balances the crisp, white beadboard and breathes new life into the whole room.”

beadboard bathroom with antique vanity
Photography by Lauren Rubinstein

Throughout the home, bowls, vases, and even antique crocks cradle apples, tulips, ferns, and other houseplants. “Styling is a big part of the design package. Fruit and flowers go a long way in establishing an inviting feel. They’re easy to change out with the season, plus they add so much pleasure,” Nikie says. “Often we’re so busy that we forget to enjoy our surroundings. But, simply put, our homes are made to enjoy.”

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