Story: Laura Keech Allen |
When you arrive at the El Dorado home that designer Andrea Brooks shares with her husband Jay and their two sons, Jay Anthony and Evan, the first thing you notice is her canary-yellow front door. In fact, it’s drawn lots of notice from neighbors as well. “I’ve been trying to slow down traffic on Madison Avenue, and the door definitely did the trick for about a week,” she says.
The fun, whimsical feeling established at the front door is certainly carried throughout the home’s interior. “This house just had a very quirky feel to me when we first moved in,” Andrea says. “It has very traditional bones, but something about it seemed anything but.” The historic home is the ideal showplace for Andrea and Jay’s collection of antiques, some inherited from their families, and some collected from various spots they’ve lived or traveled. However, she maintains a lighthearted atmosphere by pairing classic and contemporary pieces against a backdrop of eye-catching color. “The color scheme doesn’t exactly follow any standard combination,” she says. “It dances around the color wheel but attempts to stick with hues of the same saturation and value.”
The first shade Andrea chose for the house was the foyer’s orange, Cayenne by Sherwin-Williams, and it quickly began to inform all her other decisions. In the adjoining living room and dining room, she kept the walls neutral but selected draperies, rugs, upholstery and art in bright, punchy tones. By alternating the focus between the walls and the accessories, she ensures that the eye always has a restful place to land, adding emphasis to her favorite elements. In the kitchen, Parakeet green walls are met with a glass tile and travertine backsplash, as well as modern red chairs and yellow barstools, while the den boasts Dovetail gray walls with colorful furnishings. Color combinations are also key, such as the master bedroom’s gray walls and citrine ceiling, which Andrea recently painted, and the pink silk bedding and draperies.
Collecting art was a natural next step for a color junkie like Andrea, and she and Jay have sought out pieces from a wide variety of Arkansas artists, including Beverly McClarty of Malvern, whose work they found at Backwoods Gallery in downtown El Dorado, and Sarah Merkle. “I’m also fortunate to have a close friend, Tela Webb, who is a talented photographer and artist,” she says. Oriental art also plays a major role in the home’s design, including many pieces inherited from Andrea’s paternal grandparents.
Though she works diligently to create complete environments for her clients, Andrea’s own home has been more of an evolution, with surprises around every corner. “I can honestly say I’m so proud of the way the house has evolved,” she says. “I am happier with it now than I’ve ever been.” Of course, there are always new projects on the horizon. “I’m sure my boys’ rooms will be the next things to change. Their tastes are beginning to grow and change with age.”