Text by Bethany Adams
Before designer Shannon Hickok stepped onto the scene, this family home in Virginia was heavy on unused space and dark woods and short on color. Luckily for Jennifer and Andy Olson, Shannon was the perfect person to remedy that. “Most every project I do is lots of color,” she says, noting that many people have a fear of using it incorrectly. “So, I like to push the boundaries a little bit and get them to step outside of that and realize there are ways to infuse it in a room that make sense.”
In the Olson home, the palette took cues from the antique American flag that hangs in the family room. “I love that my client loves color,” says Shannon. She notes it took little convincing to get Jennifer to agree to a bold backing for the nearby built-in shelves. With Benjamin Moore’s Blue Jean popping against the bright white, all it took was a handful of pillows and throws to cheer up the space.
The shelving detail is echoed on the back of the kitchen island, but the other side boasts a deep blue that acts as a focal point in an otherwise airy space. “It was very dark and drawn in,” Shannon says of the original design. “It was dark wood, and the [goal] was just to make it lighter and brighter and happier.” To balance the redesign, the team added touches of texture in places like the tile backsplash and the aged brass pendant lights from Circa Lighting.
For the ever-important color element, Shannon used Roman shades finished with a Samuel & Sons trim that offers the perfect vibrant splash in the space—but it’s the banquette nearby that really shines. “They use it all the time,” Shannon notes of the cozy nook, where aqua tones glow in the flood of natural light. A custom table and practical faux leather on the seats make it ideal for the couple and their twin sons.
For more formal meals, the dining room becomes the star of the show—although, surprisingly to anyone who steps foot inside, it wasn’t originally on the list of rooms to be refreshed. Shannon, however, convinced the Olsons to tackle the whole floor at once, “and that ended up being the most spectacular room of all of them,” she adds. Despite the room’s small size, she and the team went bold, opting for a rich blue grass cloth that still serves as a neutral amid lime greens and cobalt blues.
When it comes to gathering as a family at the end of a long day, it’s the formal living room that’s the real draw. “We built the whole room around that fabulous pillow fabric on the swivel chairs,” Shannon says, pointing out the Emma J Shipley design that inspired the palette.
Formerly occupied by an oversize couch and used mainly for storage, the space found a better flow with four swivel chairs dressed in a Pindler velvet around an ottoman designed to facilitate conversation. Backed by built-ins housing Andy’s collection of antique books and pulled close to the fireplace, the new setup is tailor-made to bring together this young family and help them love their home even more than before.