Floral Inspiration


Text by Ann Zimmerman / Photography by Scot Zimmerman

Attention to detail and colors drawn from photos of spring tulips create floral inspiration and timeless appeal for this new cottage home—without breaking the budget.

New homes often lack the charming details that cottage lovers yearn for, but the designer of this home, Niki Strebel Volle, creates interest and a comfortable, inviting environment on a surprisingly small budget. At the entry of this modestly-sized Utah home, one immediately recognizes that this is a special place. Here, botanical prints featuring colorful tulips fill the wall in a grid pattern around a sleek console table, and the petal design of the orange carpet plays on the botanical theme.


Niki says that the tulip prints were, in fact, the starting point for the design. “We found the prints in a book and cut them out and had them framed, and we drew from the colors in the prints to inspire the pale green of the walls and popped color from the prints into the accents and the other art. The goal of the design is to infuse color for vitality that translates into a warm and welcoming home.” The home also features unexpected architectural features like transoms that top both doorways in the sitting room.


In Niki’s design, a classic coffering is achieved inexpensively on the great room ceilings by using battens—a square pattern of wooden slats applied to drywall rather than an application of crafted woodwork. The fireplace wall enjoys the same coffering treatment with battens, and the framed round mirrors flanking the fireplace feature the batten grids for continuity of design.


In the great room, the raised battens form a square pattern on the ceiling similar to expensive coffering created with woodwork. Like a refrain in a musical composition, the squares repeat in the design both subtly and boldly. The geometric forms are offset by floral patterns in the upholstery and are repeated in the square-framed artwork.


In the kitchen, the pattern of near-squares repeats in the top row of the glass-fronted cabinets.The color scheme plays with cottage-white woodwork as well as the orange accents, tans, and browns that repeat the color splashes in the botanical art prints.


Drawing on traditional cottage design, simple materials and pieces such as the distressed red-painted stools and the woven dining chairs make this space approachable. The area also incorporates interesting collectibles, white-painted woodwork, cheerful accent colors, and lots of natural light.


Moldings serve a number of purposes: They separate planes, provide transitions, and dress up a space to be more formal. In the bedroom, the designer uses standard off-the-shelf crown, base, and fireplace moldings rather than custom-crafted woodwork for a beautiful effect that stays within the homeowner’s budget.


The carpenter achieved depth and interest in the bathtub base by framing four squares in a linear pattern repeating the interior designer’s concept.