Dan & Sommer's Work-and-Play Family Home

Dan & Sommer's Work-and-Play Family Home

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Tamara Gavin
Nov 3, 2014
(Image credit: Tamara Gavin)

Name: Dan and Sommer Collier, food blogger at A Spicy Perspective, with Ava, 11, Carson, 10, and dog Kona
Location: Asheville, North Carolina
Size: 2,800 square feet
Years lived in: 9 years; Owned

As soon as Dan and Sommer walked through the door of this timeless beauty, they were immediately charmed. It wasn’t the high-elevation home with mountain views they were originally looking for, but this old neo-classical in town left them convinced of the memories they'd make there with their young family, and they knew they had found their new home.

(Image credit: Tamara Gavin)

The house boasts a classic Georgian floor plan with aged character and charm. Needing some repairs and updates, Dan and Sommer have made quite a few improvements over the years to accommodate their family’s needs and a growing family business—their most recent project was transforming their detached garage into an office and photography studio for Sommer’s food blog, A Spicy Perspective.

Last year, the kitchen received a professional-grade facelift, equipped to handle the hundreds of delicious dishes Sommer prepares there for her business and family—her mantra is “will work(out) for food” and believes in balancing health and the little pleasures in life—and you can read more about that makeover here. They widened the opening between the kitchen and the dining area which gives guests more space to move around during parties as they frequently entertain. The kitchen is a popular gathering spot, and now that the deck has gotten updated, it too has become a favorite area for family and friends.

Sommer’s style can sort of be described like her cooking: warm and familiar with an adventurous, colorful twist. “We like a little drama in our decor, not our lives, right Ava?” Sommer says with a wink to her daughter, 11, as we stand in her living room. The playful pillows on the sofa and a humorous dishtowel hanging in the kitchen hint towards Sommer’s friendly and fun personality. Like a good recipe, each individual piece in the space plays a unique part in the whole experience.

When they moved nine years ago from Oklahoma, they came with little furniture. Sommer went to outlet stores and found pieces that were discounted either because they were slightly damaged or missing pieces. The dining room table was marked down almost 50% because it was missing the screws for the legs, but for $4 she was able to locate the right hardware at a local shop—an easy fix for what otherwise would be an expensive Pottery Barn table. The fireplace mantel was a DIY project; Sommer found trim at Lowe's and simply had it cut to the size she needed to give her fireplace a quick upgrade.

Blue and orange are the guiding colors throughout the house, appearing subtle in some places like in the kitchen tile, and bright and saturated in other areas like on the deck. Sommer finished the walls in the dining room with a "Terra cotta" plaster product, and she's been happy with it and the warm color for many years. The art above the fireplace was painted by Sommer too, inspired by a piece she saw at a gallery, and is actually two separate canvases arranged together. She also painted the walls in the kids’ bedrooms; flowers and fairies for Ava and characters from "Where the Wild Things Are" for Carson.

Upcoming projects include creating a guest bedroom and updating the kids' bathroom. Sommer knows the stress that goes with renovating and she suggests taking your time so that you will be happy with your decisions for a long time.

(Image credit: Tamara Gavin)

Apartment Therapy Survey:

My Style: Eclectic

Inspiration: Color

Favorite Element: My kitchen, new office, and screened-in porch

Biggest Challenge: Keeping it picked up. Dealing with odd angles and warped floors in an 80+ year old house.

What Friends Say: That it looks inviting and cozy.

Biggest Embarrassment: The upstairs bathrooms and bedrooms are next on the remodel list. The paint is outdated, the fixtures need freshening up, and the kids have outgrown the style of their rooms. Ava's room is getting a remodel next month.

Proudest DIY: Our kitchen.

Biggest Indulgence: The office was a splurge, but will make working from home so much easier.

Best Advice: It's okay to live in an imperfect house. Take your time deciding what you really want to do with each room, because remodeling is costly and somewhat stressful. You want to make sure you are going to be (and stay) happy with the results.

Dream Sources: Four Corners Home, Goldsplinter

(Image credit: Tamara Gavin)

Resources of Note:

PAINT & COLORS

  • Living Room, Kitchen, Foyer: Valspar "Woodlawn Sterling Blue"
  • Powder Bath: American Tradition "Sea Song"
  • Office: Valspar "Gelato"
  • Dining Room: Behr plaster product in "Terra cotta"

ENTRY

  • Rugs: Pottery Barn outlet

LIVING ROOM

  • Sofa: Norwalk Furniture
  • Accent chair: Norwalk Furniture
  • Rug: Pottery Barn outlet
  • Media Cabinet: Restoration Hardware
  • Coffee Table: Pottery Barn outlet
  • Side Table: Pottery Barn outlet
  • Red Antique Wall Decor: Tobacco Barn antique store
  • Draperies: Smith + Noble

DINING ROOM

  • Dining Room table: Pottery Barn outlet
  • Draperies: Smith + Noble
  • Bar Cabinet: Local import store
  • Sideboard: Local import store

KITCHEN

  • Island Lights: Barn Light Electric
  • Bar stools: Viva Terra

DECK

  • Glider sofa and chairs: Grandin Road

OFFICE

  • Cabinetry: Shenandoah Cabinetry, from Lowe's
  • Lights: Barn Light Electric
  • Antique Metal Sieve Wall Decor: Tobacco Barn Antiques in Asheville

Landscaping by Gardens for Living

(Image credit: Tamara Gavin)

Thanks, Dan and Sommer!

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