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Starting Over: Victoria Daniel-Cape changes things up with "happy colors"

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By Gay Lyons | Ben Finch/Finch Photo

Victoria Daniel-Cape lived in a 6,000 square foot house in Oak Ridge for 18 years. “It was a mid-century modern with a Frank Lloyd Wright feel,” she said. “It had high ceilings and lots of windows. It was very white. The only color came from the art.”

In 2018, following the death of her husband, she decided to sell the home. “It was a very emotional time,” she explained. “The house sold in four days, and I had no idea where I was going. I wanted something smaller, but the condos I looked at seemed too small. I was looking for a place that would accommodate the things I wanted to keep.”

She found a three-story, almost 4,000 square foot condo in West Knoxville that “felt better than anything else I could find–and, right now, three stories are fine.”

In 2000, Victoria opened La Maison, a home decor, antique and gardening shop in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. In 2011, she closed the La Maison storefront and has continued to offer interior design under the same business name. With many years’ experience in design, Victoria now tackled a project close to home– her own new home. She recently contrasted the experience of designing for clients and designing for herself.

“I go into a client’s home with fresh eyes,” she said, “and I have a clear vision. It’s harder to do your own home. I don’t fret over mine as much, and my house comes last. My projects are always getting pushed back.” Not that she’ll ever finish completely.

“You’re always thinking of something else,” she explained. “I’m always thinking, but a house that has good design has longevity. The style of a home needs to evolve, but I’m not interested in anything trendy. I like a look that’s not too perfect, with a hint of elegance, a curated home, with things that have been collected.”

“Never buy a set of anything,” she continued. “Your home needs to tell a story and to evolve.” Having decided it was time to start over and “have some fun” with her new home, Victoria got to work making the space hers. Having had an all white home, she knew she wanted to “change it up.”

“I wanted happy colors,” she said. “Pink and red make me feel good.”

What others might see as a living room, Victoria conceived as a gallery with paintings and figurative art. The only new piece of furniture in the room is a cocktail cart in front of the sofa. “It’s my favorite room,” she said. “I love the art and the color.”

The gallery leads to the dining room where the only new pieces are the mirrors and a few pieces of art. The chairs were reupholstered in a Schumacher fabric. The kitchen and the keeping room, overlooking a deck and small yard with lots of trees, complete the first floor of the home.

“I liked the way the previous owners had opened up the kitchen and added the keeping room,” she said. “I felt like I could make it my own without gutting it. I painted the cabinets and changed the hardware and the backsplash. I kept the island, the countertops and the flooring.”

The focal point of the colorful keeping room is a long rustic table. The furnishings and decor illustrate the mixed style Victoria likes. Pieces of silver and white china sit in contrast with the dark navy walls.

The third floor of the home consists of two bedrooms and a large open media room which overlooks the gallery below. Victoria’s office and workroom, a workout room and “the children’s room” are on the bottom floor. Victoria designed the children’s room for the one-year-old niece–born during the pandemic–she’s not yet met. The room includes four built-in bunks and many charming pieces including a wicker rocking horse Victoria found at Mid Mod Collective.

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