Nestled in the heart of Riddleville, Georgia (population: 259) lies a sweet ranch house that packs a surprising punch. Inside the quaint home full of southern charm resides whimsical artist Elaine Burge, along with her husband and family. And if you’ve ever wondered what the inside of an artist’s brain looks like, wonder no more.
“I am so inspired—to the point where my heart literally flutters—by color,” Burge passionately tells Domino. “I’m drawn to both color and pattern so much, I rarely have a color scheme. I just know that there will be a way to make it all work.”
So, in an effort to “make it all work,” Burge enlisted the help of designer Whitney Durham Interiors. Another lover of color, the two initially paired off because of their similar style and shared love of art and decor.
Committed to turning Burge’s design dreams into reality—while also incorporating some of her husband’s love of hunting and the wilderness—Durham was instrumental in turning the eclectic home into a playful paradise that fit her artistic client’s vision.
“Her mind and her art definitely portray the same feel that the home does,” says Durham. “I was trying to mesh in her fun, colorful personality with her husband’s outdoorsmen accolades—including his deer head!” she laughs. “In the end, I think their home really describes both of them.”
Filled with bright patterns and bold color, Burge’s keen artistic eye and fun, colorful personality take center stage, while smaller details are an ode to her hunter husband’s outdoorsy nature. It’s a bit of an unexpected combo—but then again, there isn’t much that is expected or traditional about Burge and her work.
“There really probably is every color under the sun in Elaine’s house, but it all flows,” says Durham.
Instead of feeling overwhelming (as you might expect), there’s an air of relaxation that envelopes the living space. Natural light makes each room feel bright and open, while a balance between the home’s character and its lively inhabitants gives it a fresh twist. But while each piece, color, and finish may have its own flair, there is little about the home that feels cluttered or overdesigned.
The key to executing a bright, patterned space like this (in Durham's opinion) is to start with a solid, simple base and continue to build on it. In Burge’s home, neutral walls set the backdrop and make the space feel open and bright—as does most of the primary furniture, which is all blue and brown. Mixing and layering in pattern through rugs and colorful throws, as well as a bit of abstract artwork, gives it the personality that Burge was looking for.
But the enthusiastic artist’s eye doesn’t just apply to her vibrant color palette: Burge is also a bit of a flea market fanatic, scouring the roadside shops and markets in her area for antique and older pieces that speak to her. Durham suggests to all her clients that when they're designing a space, they need to look at what they have. From there, they must ask themselves what they love, what they want to keep, and what they’d like to incorporate. For Burge, utilizing her thrifted pieces was an integral part of completing the carefully curated, comfortable feel she wanted.
“I think the older pieces bring a sense of comfort and a breath of fresh air to the space,” Burge says. “Even though they’re often more rugged with rough edges, layers of paint, and wear marks, the area feels more lived in and warm—which I personally think makes it so much more interesting and inviting.”
Designer Durham agrees: “Mixing those in with a few more current, fresh pieces, and letting those coexist together in a space curates a cool story, and creates great conversation starters.”
A perfect example of this is in the eclectic dining area, complete with a mix of chair styles. Modern lucite juxtaposes the traditional bistro chairs, while a textured rug below adds a somewhat boho feel. It’s one of Burge’s favorite elements of the house, and exemplifies that intentional mix of old and new.
In Burge's daughter's room is another subtle ode to her hunting husband's love of the sport—vintage-looking arrows above the bed. It's an almost eccentric touch, but Durham and Burge expertly pull it off.
Meanwhile, in the nursery, a vintage rug lives on the floor in front of a limited-edition floral wallpaper that takes center stage. Here, the rug doesn't compete with the wallpaper: Rather, it complements it, and adds a bit of cozy texture to the room. The master is an eclectic mix of colors and patterns, once again tying in the hues of blue throughout the home.
Outside, Burge loves to sit on her massive wraparound porch and enjoy the scenic surroundings of her small town. "I love looking out across the street. It's so beautiful," she says.
The final result of the perfect pairing between Durham and Burge is a decidedly playful, artistic, curated, and earthy space that feels both styled, yet extremely homey. Burge gushes over how happy she is to walk by all of her selected colors and textiles every day—just as any true artist would.
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