Behind Closed Doors is an ongoing series highlighting local interior design from celebrities, design insiders and DIY’ers who create inspirational spaces.
By CATHI AYCOCK
Meryll Rose makes everything seem effortless.
I’ve watched her interview countless celebrities on her long-running daytime talk show, Talk of the Town on NewsChannel5, seen her in wife and mother mode where she pours into her family with such joy it always inspires me, and listened to her describe her deep friendships with members of her church and community.
But taking a home with a peach decor scheme, a jungle room and mirrors from early ’80s Panama City condo to elegant, fresh and modern? She admits it took some elbow grease and design inspiration to transform her recently purchased home from “off putting” to amazing.
“The house had been on the market for a while. But (husband) Dan and I have re-done over a dozen houses, so we could see beyond the problems,” says Rose.
The problems included peach painted walls, terra cotta tile flooring throughout a majority of the house, and a room painted with a jungle mural complete with palm trees and monkeys.
“So much of what needed to be done was aesthetic. But we also made the space flow by taking out a series of Doric style columns that separated the kitchen from the family room space and shifting some walls,” Rose explains.
With husband Dan as her “contracting partner” Rose also had the kitchen space updated with white cabinets and new countertops.
What was once a choppy kitchen and family room space became an open, airy multi-use space with a light filled kitchen, dining area and sitting room.
“I wanted a big kitchen table in a casual, but elegant setting. I could see my children and grandchildren all around the table at holidays. We made the dining space big enough for a big crowd and totally got rid of the stuffy, separate dining room,” Rose explains.
She smiles when she recounts telling her husband her dream table was one from Restoration Hardware.
“We always find the look we want and then recreate it for less. I showed him my dream table and told him we needed to start looking for a less expensive version. But he insisted on buying it for me. I know it was expensive, but thinking about all the family and friends that will gather around it is priceless,” say Rose.
As for that “stuffy” dining room? Rose said the room became a media room for Dan and the friends and family that often come to their home to watch football.
“We use the media room all the time. The recliners are push button, they are so comfortable. We actually built the risers ourselves and then installed the theater system we had in our previous home,” Rose says.
The formal living room needed TLC in the form or design inspiration. And Rose flexed her creative muscle to create a spectacular space.
“I actually went with a beautiful, saturated paint color for the back wall. A teal color that just makes the room seem rich. We have really high ceilings in this room, so we could take some chances with paint. It makes the room feel warm and elegant,” Rose explains.
For the guest rooms, Rose created spaces that are beautiful, and decidedly kid friendly.
“My granddaughter comes to spend the night with us often. I wanted one of the guest rooms to be feminine for her. But not too little-girl. I’ve always loved toile, so we used it in the room and added touches of red,” says Rose.
If the interior of the home needed vision, the gardens just needed maintenance.
“The former homeowner was a master gardener. There are literally “rooms” outside created from plants. We have a beautiful pond with koi, a little secret garden my granddaughter just loves. It is really amazing,” says Rose.
Even more amazing? The vision that Rose and her husband had to see beyond a jungle room and create a beautiful, warm and elegant home.
Click here to see Style Editor Cathi Aycock and Meryll Rose on NewsChannel 5 Talk of the Town discuss must-have fashion for spring!
All photos and video by Emily R. West