Color Me Happy

Cape Cod Home  /  Spring 2022 /

Writer: Allyson Plessner / Photographer: Sean Litchfield 

Color Me Happy


Cape Cod Home  /  Spring 2022 /

Writer: Allyson Plessner / Photographer: Sean Litchfield 

Curators of space and color, Evolve Residential designs an effervescent home fitting of its moniker: “The Happy House.”

The anatomy of a home is made up of so many distinct, personal elements. Your grandmother’s vintage end tables; your favorite overstuffed chair you haven’t been able to part with no matter how worn it gets; the dishes you bought the first time you went antiquing; together all of these things are crucial parts of a larger whole, but what is it that brings them together? In other words, what makes a house a home? If you asked the team at Evolve Residential, they would likely tell you that the answer is simple: color. 

A well thought out color palette is the difference between a design that flows effortlessly from room to room, and one that feels choppy and disjointed. It’s the guide that takes you on a sojourn from that beloved chair to those treasured end tables down the hall. Most importantly, color represents an opportunity—a chance to let your personality literally effuse itself into the space around you. And what better place to make so completely and inarguably your own, than your home?

It can be daunting to know what palettes best represent one’s individuality. Are you a classic beachy blue, or a calming, inviting neutral? With a team like the one at Evolve Residential color is never something to fear. Instead, the uncertainty of finding that perfect hue or selecting a daring wallpaper is something to be embraced. Evolve harnesses the indecision and hesitancy that can come with color and turns it into a tool of the greatest expression—it’s not about getting it perfect but rather about having fun (personality, remember?) Evolve takes that fear and transforms it into something brave and vibrant: the knight poised to slay the dragon, the father checking under his child’s bed for monsters. There is no room for timidity, only vivacity. And with this home, Evolve found a homeowner just as passionate about color and patterns, and just as ready to effuse light, energy, and exuberance into her space.

“I’ve always loved color,” explains the owner of this Marion home, who herself has a background in design and an aptitude for gathering inspiration from her travels. “It doesn’t always have to be about bright, in-your-face hues. Sometimes, it can just be using different shades of white or neutrals. But here, well, we’re in a beach community—it should be bright!” 

When the opportunity arose for the homeowner and her family to purchase a property in the coastal town of Marion, they couldn’t pass it up. “We’ve been part of this community for a long time, and we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make this house our own,” she says. “It was such a well-loved home, and we enjoyed tweaking the inside to create something inviting, cozy, and full of personality!”

Turning to Evolve Residential, who the homeowner had worked with on many projects before, was another easy decision. “Tom has such an incredible sense of design and space—he’s the space whisperer! And Josh has an amazing eye for color, all while working fabrics, wallpapers, furniture, and all these different shades into a project” says the homeowner about Evolve owners, Thomas H. Egan and Josh Linder. “Everything they do just makes you stop and say, ‘Wow.’”

Making this house a home, of course, started with choosing a color scheme. “The client has a passion for turquoise and green, and our main challenge when it came to this home was to bring in new colors to distinguish this project from her others. Pinks and yellow play a big part of this evolution,” says Linder about the project. “I tend to lead toward blue in our other projects and wanted to use yellows, pinks, oranges, and greens this time,” exudes the homeowner. “Of course, there’s blue and turquoise as well,” she adds with a laugh. 

The result is both completely unexpected and still, miraculously, feels like a true representation of the lively town in which it stands—though maybe miracles have nothing to do with it. “As with our other projects in the area, we want to develop a new concept for how contemporary coastal is interpreted and presented in peoples’ homes,” explains Linder about the focus of the project. “The client loves pushing these boundaries and challenging people’s tendencies toward the expected.” 

“There is nothing more freeing than a client who really wants to go for it,” he continues. “We love pushing the limits and working with this homeowner is incredibly exciting and fun. She is continually challenging us to strive for something new and bold, in a way we had not pushed ourselves in previous projects.”  

The scope of the project included a major update to the layout with a new kitchen, in a new location, as well as new bathrooms throughout and the addition of an impressive first floor master suite. Plus, this home wouldn’t be complete without new skylights to let in the afternoon light and show off the many shades of yellows, greens, oranges, and pinks that color the space. The goal, as Linder puts it, was to create a modern home that lends itself to ease and entertainment, without losing the charm of the old Cape style that the homeowners first fell in love with. 

To achieve that, the Evolve team paid particular attention to the flow of the home, ensuring each space was bright and lively on its own while still making an easy transition to the next area. Think: open concept floor plan, but with effortless shifts into the new and unexpected—for example, a vestibule leading to a much-needed greeting room with a quaint opportunity to tuck around the corner into a powder room colored in shades of bright blue and rich green. 

“The living room, dining area and kitchen are all open to one another, but each still has its own distinctive ‘moment’ in the overall design and flow of the space,” elaborates Egan. No corner has been overlooked, and each element of this home has its own distinct vibe while still feeling part of the greater whole. “I love that around every corner there’s another surprise,” adds the homeowner. Plus, who wouldn’t want to do laundry surrounded by lime green walls?

The angular staircase is highlighted by a deep navy coat of paint and a rainbow striped carpet, leading visitors upstairs where the homeowner’s favorite room awaits: a guest room in floor-to-ceiling pink and orange geometric wallpaper. “The wallpapers are everything,” gushes Egan, and the homeowner agrees, pointing out that almost every room has its own unique patterned walls: “There’s wallpaper everywhere. I love how much detail went into the design.” 

Of course, this home isn’t all patterned. Evolve expertly grounds each space with important splashes of neutrals and solid colors. Take the main living area—a bright yellow couch sits against a solid neutral backdrop with pink and green window treatments. Accents of blue appear on the walls in the form of custom prints by local Marion collector and dealer of antique and vintage prints, Lisa Whitney, grounding the space and bringing a critical element of hometown charm. The living room flows into a dining area accented with a cheerful pink and green couch, and then on to a kitchen with a spectacular turquoise backsplash (a fitting nod to the many changeable hues of Buzzards Bay, just steps from the home). Color abounds, but the accompanying neutral tones make each accent feel purposeful rather than superfluous. “Don’t forget the power of natural elements to balance out the bolder colors,” advises Linder. Evolve balances color and bold patterns, in a way that is exquisite without being overbearing, daring without forfeiting the coziness of being in one’s own home.

When asked to speak on the standout details of the home (a tall order considering the clear attention and colorful passion that went into every aspect), Linder points to the ceiling beams in the main living area. “It might seem counterintuitive in a space with such a low ceiling,” he explains, “but their presence helps to maintain a lot of the charm we loved from the original space. We always love to play up something unexpected, and in this space, it is the low ceiling height.” Between the beams, a splash of pale blue draws the eye upward. “What I love about the house is that it looks small on the outside, but there are so many unexpected things when you walk in,” says the homeowner. “It was important to us that we keep the original structure intact and Evolve was able to help us do that while still creating this cheerful space that just feels like our own. My aunt once called it ‘The Happy House,’ and since then, the name has just stuck.”

Linder’s advice for capturing the elusiveness of a well-thought-out color scheme? Push your boundaries. “To ‘pop’ a pillow is easy,” he says. “What are your next steps? How can you test your limits? If it’s a small accent chair, push yourself to go for the large lounge chair. If you’re comfortable with a bold lounge chair, go for the entire sofa. This is where you will truly have the most impact in the overall vibe. And, if all this terrifies you, buy an inexpensive bolt of fabric and drape it over a piece or two. Then live with it for a bit to expand your comfort zone.” And his biggest tip: “lighting fixtures can always be larger,” he laughs. 

“I could live in the master hall desk nook,” says Linder about his favorite room in the house. Energetic green patterned walls give the space a bubbly feeling, and a window in front of the desk (with a cerulean blue frame, of course) looks out on the scenic yard. “The color and the connection to the outdoor space is a perfect spot to find inspiration.” For the landscape, the homeowner turned to landscape artist Dan Solien of Falmouth’s Solien & Horiuchi. “He’s terrific, and for us it was so important to have a passionate team working together on this home.” 

When asked about the importance of color in this project, Linder responds, “Can you even imagine this house in all neutral tones?” He jokes, “It wouldn’t be the same.”

“Our client has a bold personality, and a passion for design,” he continues. “The project uses color and purposeful design to capture her fearless approach to life and living.” That ability to encapsulate a homeowner’s personality in a stroke of paint, a well-placed wallpaper, or a bright accent table is what sets the Evolve team apart. It’s that keen sense of color and space that truly makes a house a home, the team’s talent for taking all the homeowner’s personal effects—that well-loved lounge chair and vintage end tables—and bring them together in a space that is at once cozy and filled with effervescent personality. As this Marion homeowner puts it, “This home is truly ‘The Happy House.’ It makes me smile every time I walk in.” What is more important than that? 

Allyson Plessner is a contributing writer for Cape Cod Life Publications.

Allyson Plessner

Allyson Plessner is a former editorial intern for Cape Cod Life and now works for the publication as a staff writer and digital media coordinator. Born in Florida, Allyson has been a lifelong summer resident of the Cape. She is a recent alumna of the College of Charleston, located in Charleston, South Carolina, where she completed bachelor’s degrees in both English and Spanish. In her free time, Allyson is an avid sailor, beach-goer, and—like her fellow Cape Cod Life colleagues—a dog-lover.