Text by Bethany Adams
When it came to decorating the Butler family’s Tennessee home, designer Paris Henry had only to look to the house itself for inspiration. Existing architectural features made it clear that the home was meant to be filled with European style, and Paris was happy to oblige. “It clearly wanted to go in that direction,” she says, “and we were lucky that that’s a direction my client loved.”
Spaces like the main living area are washed in serene colors and filled with the weathered elements, architectural notes, and elegant details that define French cottage charm. “I think finding the balance is the fun part of the design,” Paris says. “When you take problem areas and you figure out how to make them seem purposeful by adding something lovely or adding something rustic or whimsical . . . then the balance just comes into play.”
When it came to practical choices, many decisions were informed by the needs of a busy family. “She has four teenagers and a very active household,” Paris explains of homeowner Amy Butler. “We couldn’t do anything too precious; we couldn’t have any fabrics or floors or anything else that people couldn’t walk on. So, we needed to balance all of that with just making a pretty house.” Minimal updates to the kitchen served to make life easier, and choices like monogrammed slipcovers married utility and beauty to create a seamless style.
For Amy, it was also important that the house be a break from the “craziness” of the family’s hectic lifestyle. “I wanted to provide a place that was calming and just a place to relax and for people to always feel welcome,” she says. To that end, the home is spilling over with spaces designed to bring people together, including a back porch with retractable screens. Plenty of cozy seating options feature rich wood tones contrasted with handpicked bluestone pavers, and a barn door preserves privacy for the master suite while allowing Amy and her husband easy access to the outdoor oasis.
And when the family wants to enjoy the outdoors during the cooler autumn days, the pool house offers a charming solution. One of the most popular spaces on the property, the structure features a customized swing paired with a fireplace, perfect for gathering on brisk nights. A pair of sliding doors created from found French shutters is a great way to keep the warmth inside during the fall and winter while allowing easy access when the pool is in use.
But what truly sets the home’s style apart is the attention to every detail, from the carefully selected furniture pieces throughout to the antique patinaed copper molding that adorns an exterior door. While it took some time to decide where to use the element, once the decision was made, everything fell into place. “We designed the entire entrance around that find because it was beautiful,” says Paris. It’s one of many places where the home’s enchanting European style seems nothing less than meant to be.