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In Living Color

Marsha Malone Nautique

Photo by Richard Hilgendorff

The blues are countered by the kelly green found at the back of the bookcases—Sheeran says she saw color being used in that way on Pinterest, but still had to arrive at the perfect shade. She advises spending the time and patience to work through as many shades of a color as necessary to find the right shade. “We must have painted out six or seven different swatches, but when we got it right, I knew it immediately,” she says. “People just need to trust their response. Don’t continually second guess yourself. After all, it is just paint.” Now when people enter her home, they see the green in the back of the bookcases, and then their eyes move throughout the room where the green appears again and again. What might have been jarring in any other environment is explained to the mind and eye as the color reappears and validates its presence.

That validation is evident nowhere more than the back staircase, where Malone’s custom painter crafted a striped stair runner, drawing on the various shades found throughout the house. The kelly green anchors the paint treatment, and if visitors are suddenly shocked by the explosion of color, as soon as they turn to the right and enter the public spaces of the home, the deliberate use of color in such a deft and expert way subliminally puts their mind and spirit at ease. Translation: This home is about having fun. Sheeran says, “When you come in the mudroom and you see those colorful stairs, you either love it or you hate it, but it brings me joy every day. I walk in and I am just so happy.”

Malone not only helped Sheeran realize her vision for a vivid, vivacious home, but she also made sure it was family friendly. “Wherever possible we would consider fabrics from Sunbrella so that this busy family didn’t have to fret over spills or maintenance,” Malone says. For example, the sharp green and white fabric on the kitchen barstools is a Sunbrella, but to keep it unexpected and more sophisticated, Malone “railroaded” the fabric—in other words, she ran it horizontally.

The spacious kitchen transitions to an open dining area that is flanked on the other side by a comfortable living area, where the focus is on the fireplace and vibrant bookshelves that house years of framed family memories. The oversized round dining table was a custom design by Malone and is anchored by a perfectly proportioned rug, also custom ordered for the space. This great room sees lots of activity from this busy family, particularly during the warmer months as they access a comfortable deck and grassy backyard through French doors. On the other side of the great room, with a focus toward the hydrangea-laden front of the house, a more serene and mature sitting room beckons the adults to sip wine or consider all for which they are grateful as they are watched over by a fuschia buddha perched on a green lacquered chest.

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