Simplicity and elegance pair seamlessly in this redesigned home in Greystone.
“Beauty” and “peace” are two words Ann Marie James uses more than any others when she talks about her approach to interior design. They surface with every detail about paint colors and bed linens, light fixtures and wall art. They’re essential terms in her vocabulary—in design and in life. They have guided her choices inside the Greystone home she and her husband, Brian, have revamped over the last several months, and they guide her choices in all of the homes she infuses with her design ideas.
“I like peaceful, serene décor,” she says. “I don’t need any color in a room to get excited about it. I just need architectural interest, textures and metallics. It’s simple and elegant.”
Ann Marie owns The White House Interiors, a home furnishings store that ties into the other multi-state residential companies she and Brian manage: Crown Properties and Silver Real Estate, for which Brian is the broker. The couple started a residential flipping company in 2008, before house flipping had become a widespread activity showcased on reality TV shows.
“We have 11 years and 200 projects under our belts,” Brian says. “It’s fun to take something old and transform it into something fresh, and give it a new life. Her design and decorating talent ties it all together. We’re a wonderful team.”
Prior to meeting Brian and starting their house-flipping venture, Ann Marie worked for nearly 20 years as a labor and delivery nurse, dabbling in design and specialty painting on the side. “I just fell in love with making spaces beautiful. I got into real estate in 2005, and by then, I was working full-time doing faux finishes.”
She and Brian met in 2006, and combining their backgrounds—hers in interior design, his in banking—to run their residential flipping company felt as natural as combining their families when they married. For Ann Marie, her work at The White House Interiors doubles as a route through which she shares her Christian faith with her clients. “I think beauty ministers to people,” she says. “A clean, orderly, balanced home brings peace. I’m a strong believer you should share the gifts you have with people in your life. My thing is peace.”
Ann Marie calls her personal design style a cross between Restoration Hardware and Aidan Gray, one of her favorite designers, but she says this latest home project with Brian has been a “team effort,” another chance to prove that “the little details are what make the magic happen.”
The couple added sconces and kept furniture and décor to a minimum in the entryway, creating a simple, clean atmosphere that sets the tone for the rest of the home.
It’s Ann Marie’s favorite room and one of the rooms that underwent the most changes after she and Brian purchased the home in October 2018. They painted the mahogany-stained wall paneling a soft gray, added wooden ceiling beams and large chandelier, and installed hardwood floors. “We lightened everything up,” she says. “It feels like a library to me. It feels timeless like it’s been there for long time.”
The most significant change the couple made in the kitchen was to replace the existing island with a much larger, rectangular white granite island, making the room more conducive to cooking prep and entertaining.
With neutral linens from Lili Alessandra and Orchids Lux, a soft shag rug and an accent mirror by Aidan Gray, Ann Marie created the peaceful atmosphere she was aiming for in the master bedroom.
A remodeled shower with marble inlaid accent tile and dual showerheads, plus new countertops and light fixtures, brought the serene ambience of the master bedroom into the spacious bathroom.
Updates in this spacious room consisted of painting the “butterscotch pudding” colored walls a lighter shade and changing out the marble on the two-way fireplace.
The grid pattern of the mirrors on the wall is Ann Marie’s favorite element in this room. She saw the grid idea somewhere else and knew she wanted to try it when she found one of the mirrors. “There is something so enchanting about them,” she says.
Ann Marie is quick to point to the pink and gold painting—from the Caress series—as the most interesting and stunning item in the room. “When I saw that at market, it stopped me in my tracks,” the self-proclaimed art lover says. “I couldn’t stop looking at it, which is a sign of good art.”
The other spare bedrooms upstairs feature what Ann Marie calls her signature look: “All tone on tone,” with luxurious linens and an array of textures giving the rooms interest while maintaining the calming effect that a neutral palette has on a space.
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BEHIND THE SCENES
Interiors: Ann Marie James + The White House Designer Team
Electrical Work: Ken Essig
Flooring: James Hill