A Southern Family Home with Open Door Architecture

You may remember the last project we shot with local architects, Sean and Sara Martin of Open Door Architecture. We recently had the privilege to style and photograph another one of their incredible projects, this time a gorgeous, southern home in Maryville, Tennessee. Sean and Sara obviously did a wonderful job, and the owners have great taste which always makes for a great day of shooting! The owners have three kids, and Amber and I loved how they were able to combine their sophisticated taste with their lifestyle to make this a true family home. The couple has family ties to Charleston, which is evident through their brilliant mix of the traditional and comfortable with antiques interspersed throughout.


You know the house is going to be great when you walk into this! The foyer serves as a great preview of what is to come in the rest of the home. Deeply hued oriental rugs, beautiful lighting, and the perfect mix of statement pieces. The wall paneling is also beautiful and a perfect complement to the classic pieces the couple brought into the space. The wooden pew provides a place to settle at the end of a long day to take off shoes as well as a quick, durable place for kids to leave backpacks and coats. My favorite detail of the entry way is perhaps the bone inlay mirror that pulls the black from the door into the room.

At the top of the foyer staircase is this gorgeous, antique chandelier.

Living Room

The personality-filled living room feels fresh and inviting with classic pieces intermingled with bright, unexpected colors found in the pillows and the pink slipper chairs.

This chest was my favorite piece in the whole house. I love the marble top, the hardware, and the general wear and tear that shows the piece’s obvious history. Not to mention, Amber and I did not have to style the top of this piece a bit. That’s right, the owner had it looking like this when we walked in the door. Talk about great taste! The statement lamp is Kate Spade. You can find this amazing print of a Louisiana Heron here.


In developing a styling plan for the kitchen, Amber and I envisioned a space that felt vibrant and southern. We decided to incorporate mostly blue, white, and green for a consistent color palette. For that classic southern touch, we brought in a potted hydrangea, a boxwood topiary that I carved myself, and fruit like watermelon and peaches. We also used blue and white ginger jars, one to hold the magnolia blooms we cut from a nearby tree. We definitely wanted the space to read clean and sophisticated but also wanted it to be evident in the styling that the space is used and loved by a family with young kids. For that reason, we chose to keep some of the handmade pottery pieces in the window behind the sink. The family had some really fun ceramics of fortune cookies and a donut. You can see them in the last shot that I snagged at the last second as we were packing up at the end of the day. We love using personal items from that are already there to really showcase that family’s personality and character.

Breakfast Nook

Can’t you just imagine eating breakfast here every morning? The beautiful built-in’s provide great storage for a young family, especially to hide breakables that the family has collected over the years. Again, in our styling of this space, we chose to use some of the owners’ pottery in the most beautiful shade of light blue. I believe they said all the blue pottery was from Mississippi, yet another connection to the South. The table and chairs (authentic navy chairs) are both durable and stylish. The built-in banquette bench is painted white and beautifully tied in by the architects with the kitchen cabinets. I also love the design decision to carry the tile from the kitchen over into this space and also to take it all the way to the ceiling. With the possibility of messy kids at the table, tile is an easily cleanable and low maintenance surface. Brilliant decision by the architects, both functionally and aesthetically.

Dining Room

The dining room was definitely one of our favorite rooms in the home. The room feels light and airy while the pops of black around the room pack more of a punch. Again, the lighting choices are stunning, with the black lampshades picking up the black in the chandelier’s candle stems. Aside from the slipcovered end chairs that the owner covered herself, the chairs are covered in a rich blue leather, another smart, durable material. The china in the built-in shelves is a beautifully simple white with gold details. Had we had longer in the house, we would have loved to do a full place setting on the dining table and really go all out. Maybe in the future?

Master Bedroom

The blue is spread around this room beautifully, from the lamps to the greek key trim on the curtains as well as the great D. Porthault pillow with the tiny blue hearts. Another rich oriental rug grounds the space.

Master Bathroom

The architects designed the bathroom with timeless finishes in a bold black and white color palette. The marble shelves, subway tile, and dark grey penny tile all serve as timeless finishes that fit right within the aesthetic of the home. We chose to keep the styling of this space as classic as the bones. The white farmhouse pitcher packed with delphiniums packs just the right punch. One aspect of the room I feel is important is the penny tile floor. It is actually a dark grey as opposed to a true black, which, though I love a black floor, I think the grey really gives the room greater depth and interest.

Guest Bedroom

This room is such a testament that this is a well loved, lived-in home. The built-in’s are chic and practical. Also, I love any room that uses Schumacher’s Lotus Garden fabric.


This hallway is small but still feels carefully considered. The oriental runner ties in the feel of the rest of the house. The set of three unified pieces of art in the same frame always ups the classic feel and sophistication of a space. The eclectic fixture is fun and fits the family. Hallways are great spaces to use these types of eclectic fixtures.

Guest Bathroom

Through the hallway’s pocket door, we see the guest bathroom that the architects added to the home by taking away a bit of space from the master suite. A great compromise and one that fits in so seamlessly with the home’s layout, it makes you believe it was there all along. Though this bathroom doesn’t have any windows/ sources of natural light, it feels bright in the choices of materials as well as the owner’s choice of this Schumacher wallpaper. I love the border in the floor tile as well as the use of the marble subway tile for the outside of the shower. The subway tile on the outside of the shower really allows the contrast of black tile on the inside to shine. A streamlined marble shelf beautifully holds shampoo and other shower necessities while bringing the texture of the marble into the shower.

After a full day of shooting this home, we left feeling inspired by the architects’ work as well as the owners excellent taste! The home has a comfortable sophistication that will never go out of style and will grow with this family for years. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!









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  • Stunning! Can you share the source of the floral pillows in living room? Would love sources on everything, but those in particular are fantastic with the stools.

    • Lindsay, we love those pillows too! I wish I knew where the homeowner found them. Based off of some of the other pieces in the home, she may have made them herself.

  • These photos are absolutely beautiful! Do you happen to know what product line the refrigerator is from? We have a unique kitchen layout and it looks like it could be a good fit!
    Thank you!