The thought of interiors that’ve been untouched for 30 years might be daunting to some— but that wasn’t the case for Roxanne Hughes Packham. When she first surveyed the Santa Rosa Valley house that she and her husband would call home, she wasn’t intimidated. She saw the 1970s cabinets, the lack of woodwork or ceiling details, and even the walls in every room featuring various shades of orange paint as a worthy challenge. She says, “I saw through to the bones of the home … plus, the view was incredible.” It was the perfect canvas on which to paint her love of British Colonial Style.
Of course, as the owner and designer of Sunset and Magnolia Design, she had just the right credentials to turn the orange-hued home into the perfect empty-nester retreat. With a love for artisanal craftsmanship inherited from her grandfather, a passion for fabrics honed at the Paris Fashion Institute and years of traveling in Europe, she poured all her expertise into her home. “One of the things I love about design is the way we can incorporate things we love into the very essence of the building,” Roxanne says. “I did that in every space, and it’s now just the right home for my husband, our children home visiting from college and our very spoiled Shih Tzu, Samson.”
BRITISH COLONIAL STYLE
The home has a traditional British colonial feel. Roxanne says, “British colonial is a great design style because it can encompass things from all over the world.” The global touches allow her to share stories of her travels without saying a word. For example, the handmade South African chandelier hanging in the dining room. The chandelier was made by women and children suffering from AIDS. “The shipping was expensive, as you can imagine,” Roxanne says. “But my clients and I love that while we are making our homes beautiful, we are also making a difference in others’ lives as well.”
I love that while we are making our homes beautiful, we are also making a difference in others’ lives as well.
Along with the Ikat print drapes, the chandelier is the focal point of the dining room, which Roxanne specifically sought to make formal. “My grandfather was a silversmith who specialized in silver, so we always had ‘formal’ dinners growing up,” she says. “Mind you, it could have been canned peaches, but it was on china with good silver.”
She created an elegant British style dining room with Thibaut grasscloth walls, wainscoting and leather chairs. The result is a room that’s breezy yet communicates a sophistication that draws guests in. “I love the idea of honoring every person who joins us at our table,” Roxanne says. “I do this by sharing the beauty of slowing down and enjoying a beautifully set table.”
She also played with scale in other ways by artfully hanging the curtain rods an extra foot above the windows. “It makes the room feel taller.”
When Roxanne toured the living room, she noticed that the ceiling was “crying out” for a little detail. Painted faux beams were just the right thing and, while she was at it, she also painted the ’70s brick and wood-paneled fireplace white, which visually shrank it to scale with the rest of the room. “I think the huge fireplace scared and stumped the other prospective buyers,” she says. “But as soon as I saw it, I knew I would paint it white.” She also played with scale in other ways by artfully hanging the curtain rods an extra foot above the windows. “It makes the room feel taller,” she says.
One of the things I love about design is the way we can incorporate things we love into the very essence of the building.
When it came to styling, she followed her instincts, prioritizing her sense of art over any technical approach. “For the mix-and-match throw pillows and different patterns on the furniture, rug and ottoman, I am instinctual,” she says. “I make sure they feel good together, rather than matching colors. If I love the fabric, then I use it, which is always the same advice I give my clients.”
BREAKFAST WITH A VIEW
With the Santa Monica mountains on the horizon, Roxanne made sure her design decisions allowed for ample enjoyment of the view. “In our breakfast nook, we made sure the room was very open,” she says. “The doors lead to a large deck, and they are propped open most of the time.” When nature is a bit intense, lined drapes can be drawn for comfort. Roxanne also used open-back chairs to leave the mountain range unobstructed and continued the neutral color scheme seen throughout the home. For styling, she used an antique French table and chairs along with white cushions.
There’s a lot of wood in the breakfast nook—the doors, floors, table and chairs—yet Roxanne boldly combined it all together. “My secret is that I never match,” she says. “The melding of different patinas is beautiful. I always lean toward darker woods, with a brown or black tone rather than a warm tone.” Now, she and her husband can enjoy coffee in the presence of the mountains every morning.
British colonial is a great design style because it can encompass things from all over the world.
Want more simply beautiful ideas? Check out this post on a gorgeous yard with a similar vibe.