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A Textural Story

Tactile features play a starring role in this family-friendly home

Written by Grace Rigdon
  • Photography by Sarah Shields Photography

    Located in an Indianapolis suburb, a lively family of five wanted their home to showcase their stylish yet approachable lifestyle. Their interior goal was to create a neutral and textural palette in a low-maintenance living spaces. To achieve their goal, they turned to Whittney Parkinson, a designer who grew up as a creative, with her father an architect and her mother in design. Since 2016, she’s operated her own business, Whittney Parkinson Designs. 

    Inspired to push regional boundaries, Parkinson’s vision started with the exterior. “I wanted to create symmetry throughout the entire home. We wanted to please the minds of guests by repeating the mood of the exterior throughout the interior," Parkinson says. 

  • Photography by Sarah Shields Photography

    The formal living room sets the tone for Parkinson's neutral scheme. “Not only is this the first room you see from the entryway, it also can be seen from several other spaces and vantage points,” the designer says. “The beauty of playing with neutrals is their ability to coexist with several different interior goals—it’s like the rooms are holding hands.” Towering windows flood the space with natural light, while the lowered light fixture makes the setting feel more intimate. 

  • Photography by Sarah Shields Photography

    Adjacent to the common areas, the formal dining room is meant to exude a moodier and more vibrant presence. Because the family entertains year-round, Parkinson intended this formal space to feel sophisticated and individualistic compared to the rest of the home. “Since blues and oranges are complementary colors, I chose to add two focal-point custom chairs with unique legs to draw the eye in,” Parkinson says. To incorporate textures with visual movement, Parkinson found a timeless Phillip Jeffries grass cloth and pulled a patterned Zak+ Fox drapery. 

  • Photography by Sarah Shields Photography

    The kitchen, the heart of the home, is a beautiful yet functional space. A top priority was making the large space feel right-sized for both family gatherings and busy mornings. 

    Details also were important. “I always try to incorporate brass and nickel together to integrate warmer and cooler tones,” Parkinson says. “All the cabinets were custom-made with a diamond overlay to create a focal point in a room with tall ceilings.” For functionality and low maintenance, quartz countertops were installed. 

  • Photography by Sarah Shields Photography

    For the breakfast room, a space that’s the family’s central gathering place, the view was essential. Filled with a circular Bernhardt table and woven chairs, this naturally lit and comfortable room is a beautiful place to start and end the day. 

  • Photography by Sarah Shields Photography

    Right off the kitchen, this space was created for the kids' homework and crafting projects. “The vision for this room was to build a selective area with no visual boundaries, a space where the kids could create a healthy mess and not feel bad about it,” Parkinson says. A mesh paneled door can disguise clutter, and quartz countertops and a fossil tile from Refin Ceramiche are easy to clean.

  • Photography by Sarah Shields Photography

    A white, clean palette keeps the room feeling fresh and bright. To help create a story, she added a vintage rug, along with brass hardware for a pop of color. 

  • Photography by Sarah Shields Photography

    The casual living room was designed purely for comfort and functionality. With the extremely tall ceilings and beaming natural light, it’s a welcoming place for the entire family. “I lowered the light, by Gabby, to allow for a more intimate feel in the room,” Parkinson says. Decorated with a vintage silk-based rug from Loloi, the room balances style with livability. Welcoming the idea that indoor and outdoor spaces can be one, sliding doors open to a spacious back patio with a fireplace. 

  • Photography by Sarah Shields Photography

    The overall goal while designing this space, used primarily as the husband’s office, was to play with darker hues and simple decor. “Because of the extremely tall ceilings and abundant natural light, we could get away with darker walls and ceilings,” Parkinson says. She added custom built-ins and pulled in playful Schumacher draperies to create a textural focal point. A stunning Circa “Bistro” chandelier tops off the large room with instant impact.

  • Photography by Sarah Shields Photography

    Parkinson carried warm oak flooring throughout the house for cohesiveness. Used to create a light and dark contrast, the warm oak instantly brightened up the office and instilled a beautiful, sophisticated balance. The family’s signature taste also was a consideration. “We displayed his favorite books to bring out personality,” Parkinson says. 

  • Photography by Sarah Shields Photography

    While shaping a home that’s livable for three children, Parkinson also wanted to create a spa-like oasis for recharging and resting—a space where the couple could continue to grow together. “The inspiration behind this room started with the Phillip Jeffries printed wallpaper,” Parkinson says. “I loved the balance between the feminine lavender hues and the darker, more masculine grays.” 

  • Photography by Sarah Shields Photography

    The couple wanted a clean and fresh master bath so they would feel rejuvenated—early in the morning or late at night. “This room was difficult to scale because of the extremely tall ceilings,” Parkinson says. She made large custom mirrors with oak rims to fill vertical wall space and to emphasize the room’s natural light. “We also designed a custom tile 'rug' in the center to create a focal point,” Parkinson says. 

  • Photography by Sarah Shields Photography

    “I used a four-poster and dropped the ceiling light to help create a sense of intimacy for guests,” Parkinson says of her design for this bedroom. Because the room is located in the basement, she paid close attention to the symmetry in this layout and used mirrors to maximize natural light. Use of several different textures and antique-inspired decor makes the room a timeless oasis for guests. 

  • Photography by Sarah Shields Photography

    Used as the guest bathroom, this farmhouse-inspired retreat features a dramatic vanity, simple lines, and contrasting colors. To work with a uniquely angled layout, creating symmetry was fundamentally important to show a sense of balance. 

  • Photography by Sarah Shields Photography

    “From a designer’s perspective, a powder bath allows opportunity to create something a little more daring while still speaking to the rest of the interior narrative,” Parkinson says. She chose a wallpaper from Cole & Son with a large-scale repeated print. It's a dramatic surprise that fits beautifully with the rest of the home, she says. Warm oak and gold accents contrast the room's cooler tones. 

  • Photography by Sarah Shields Photography

    “Designed around this beautiful wallpaper from Jolie Mural by Anewall, the daughter’s room has a soft and gentle feeling that plays into her sweet personality,” Parkinson says. “I wanted to create not only lots of places for her to play but hidden spaces for storage as well.” Like the rest of the home, this room employs a neutral color scheme, so all the tones live together cohesively. 

  • Photography by Sarah Shields Photography

    Parkinson wanted this kid-friendly space to be one they could comfortably grow into and enjoy, no matter their age. She focused on uniting different textures, patterns, and layers. Parkinson fell in love with this animated wallpaper from Schumacher and used it to enliven a neutral palette. To contrast cooler tones, she incorporated elements of the warm oak used throughout the home in the bunk bed railings. 

  • Photography by Sarah Shields Photography

    The goal behind the laundry room design was to challenge the notions tied to a space that's usually associated with undesirable tasks. “I wanted to create a more enjoyable experience with fun, energetic textures and stimulating colors,” Parkinson says. “I also wanted to design a space the family didn’t feel they had to close off if guests were over.” She incorporated multicolor cement tiles from Ann Sacks, navy cabinetry, brass hardware, and modern floating oak shelving to make this room a work of art. 

  • Photography by Sarah Shields Photography

    A second laundry, designed specifically for the kids is compact yet highly functional. Parkinson chose to incorporate mint green cabinets, warm oak floating shelves, and a large farmhouse sink. 

  • Photography by Sarah Shields Photography

    Right off the garage is a gorgeous mudroom—key for keeping the entire family organized. Seamlessly flowing with the rest of the interior, this space utilizes warm oak and gray tile to keep a bright and airy feel. A pop of emerald green balances the neutral tones in the highly trafficked space.