South Park Magazine

Easy Elegance

Emily A. Clark has never shied away from great design to accommodate her family of seven. Instead, the interior design blogger tackles each project in her Belmont home with a point of view that nearly all parents of young children can appreciate—and learn from. “I go into [the design process] with an attitude that a piece of furniture, rug, whatever it is, is probably going to be destroyed,” laughs the Style Me Pretty at Home blogger. “I just sort of relax and go into it with that kind of attitude and then I don’t worry so much.”That approach has served Clark, an interior designer, and her family well over the years as they recently uprooted and moved to a new home (the Clarks’ previous residence had been featured in a national shelter publication). It’s in the family’s new 2,800-square-foot home that Clark has been able to shift gears from her previous home’s darker color palette of navys, tans, and creams to a more comfortable, relaxed array of hues in shades of white, light and dark greys, and even a dose of black for contrast. “This home is closer to the lake so I wanted that very casual feel,” she says. “I wanted this space to be a breath of fresh air.”While the neutral—and lighter—color palette might scare a mother of five young kids, ages nine, eight, five, and two-year-old twins, Clark embraced it. In lieu of pricier designer fabrics for her upholstered sofas and chairs, Clark opted for easy-to-wash slip covers and pillow covers, which can be swapped out depending on the aesthetic she’s trying to achieve—or how bad the stain is. Even the wall color throughout much of the downstairs is a chic white, which normally attracts scuffs and smudges from tiny hands and active tweens. “You can definitely use white with kids,” says Clark. “Most of the time, you know you’re going to end up repainting a room anyway. White is no different.”To make things pop off the classic white walls, though, Clark employed simple design tricks. In the foyer—a gateway to the family room and kitchen—Clark wanted an element of drama. The answer: thick black and white horizontal striped walls. “I wanted something really bold in that entryway,” she explains. “I didn’t just want the foyer to blend in. It was an easy way to use inexpensive paint and be creative and define that entry.”The remainder of the home is a collection of old and new pieces, traditional coupled with modern, which Clark often finds at flea markets, estate sales, and Habitat ReStore. “As long as I like the bones of something I’m not afraid to spruce it up,” she says. Such was the case with the family room china cabinet found at a flea market, which Clark painted a sleek white, or the IKEA nightstands in the master bedroom, which she accented with gold rubbing dust.