Traditional Twist

Interior designer Amy Morris seamlessly mixes classic and modern in a Vinings house where style and relaxation prevail for a busy family of four

For designer Amy Morris, interiors projects begin with inspiration from the homeowner. “I design for the client,” says Morris of her approach. “I edit everything they like and incorporate the things they want.” When she met homeowners Polly and Keith White and their teenage son and daughter, the family had two requests for outfitting the house for their busy lifestyle: make it comfortable and conducive to entertaining.

“We have an open house policy,” says Polly of their house situated near the Chattahoochee River and within walking distance of the local high school. The White’s house is a revolving door for their children’s friends and families from the school. Morris responded by striking the perfect balance between sophisticated and relaxed, making the house formal enough for dinner parties, but casual enough for movie nights.

Known for harmonizing classic and contemporary interiors with a twist, Morris set the tone for this home in the entry hall, where fresh pops of blue and green mix with herringbone-patterned brick underfoot. “It’s casual elegance,” she says. “This space is an introduction to the color you see throughout the house.”

“The living room has a formal feeling to it, but it’s young and updated,” says Morris of the room that’s refined without coming off as too precious, thanks to a playful, graphic floral rug, colorful throw pillows, and a pair of casual benches. Meanwhile, the dining room exudes Southern charm, from the homeowner’s heirloom table and chairs to an antiques-topped sideboard. Morris counterbalanced these traditional touches with a soft blue gray on the walls and a chinoiserie-style screen for artful impact.

A more pared-down approach prevails in the family room, which connects to the light-filled kitchen. Here, Morris has capitalized on the need for comfort and low-key elegance in the family’s favorite room. “We’ll always end up here watching television,” says Polly. In keeping with the home’s traditional style, Morris updated the room with celadon lamps, chevron-print throw pillows, and warm, sepia-toned prints and photographs.

Upstairs, the craft room provided another opportunity for Morris to play with color. The room, which doubles as Polly’s workshop for photography cataloguing and a homework station for her son and friends, is painted black to complement the window treatments. “Against the black, the fabric feels more graphic,” says Morris.

In the basement, another high-traffic space, the designer didn’t skimp on high style. The media room’s laidback vibe, created by warm tones, cozy sectionals, and an oversize coffee table perfect for perching your feet, makes it a cozy movie room for family night. One of the designer’s favorite style secrets involves using outdoor fabric in busy rooms, like this one. “I typically use a polyester, which looks like natural velvet,” she says. It looks great and no one knows.”

Morris’s design philosophy and fuss-free style yielded a beautiful, inviting house that not only reflects the family who lives there, but also transforms this house into a home.

INTERIOR DESIGN Amy D. Morris Interiors, (404) 389-0628; ARCHITECTURE William T. Baker & Associates, (404) 261-0446;