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Designed with Love

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Story by Gay Lyons | Photography by Ben Finch

One of interior designer Jenny Adams’ recent favorite projects is her own home.

“I learned a lot,” she said. “And it’s ongoing. Johnny’s afraid it will never end, but I’m eager for it to be complete so we can just enjoy it.”

Jenny, a designer at G&G Interiors, and John, a commercial real estate broker, met at UT through Young Life and married in 2003. The family now includes John IV “J” (12), Addalee (10), Cole (7) and a four-year old boy they’re adopting. They moved from Forest Brook to their current home in 2013.

“Forest Brook is legendary for having the small town/ neighborhood-you-grew-up-in feel,” said Jenny. “We knew if we were going to leave Forest Brook, we needed another family-friendly neighborhood. When we moved in, there were 52 kids in the 30 homes.”

Jonathan Miller designed the home which was built by Chuck Atkins. The Adams made a few changes. “We made the exterior more traditional and less ‘cottagey,’” said Jenny. “We made tweaks that made it function better for small children.”

Removing an exterior door made possible the mudroom, which includes a water fountain. They also turned the dining room into a music room.

“We don’t need a [formal] dining room in our phase of life,” said Jenny. “We needed a place for the piano.” “The egg chairs, an Arne Jacobsen design I loved for 15 years before I bought them, started out in the living room,” she continued.

“When we moved them to the music room, it opened up the living room and increased the seating in the music room, so, it turns out, we use both rooms more.” The Adams created an informal dining area adjacent the kitchen.

The glass-topped “liquid dining table” with curved metal legs and Louis XVI acrylic ghost chairs are all easily cleaned. The white kitchen has a large island with a one-basin sink; there are double ovens and two full-size dishwashers.

“With two dishwashers, you never have dishes sitting in your sink,” explained Jenny. “We use them both daily.”

In the living room, Jenny combined traditional sofas with contemporary coffee table and lamps.

“I buy art I like,” she said, pointing to two pieces in the living room. “I love the painting above the fireplace; the color changes during the day. I grew up on a farm, so I like the painting with the white farmhouses.”

For draperies and pillows, Jenny turned to a famous floral fabric, Pyne Hollyhock, which was reintroduced by Schumacher in 2010 and named after legendary socialite tastemaker Nancy Pyne who worked with Albert Hadley in the 1960s to create one of the most iconic rooms in the annals of decorating according to Jenny.

Jenny chose floral wallpaper in a different pattern for the foyer and the master bedroom. “This is my favorite wallpaper,” she said. “I had it in a bathroom in our old house. If we ever move, I plan on using it again. It’s very feminine. Johnny’s a good sport to go along with a floral bedroom.”

“J wanted me to paint his bedroom UT Orange,” said Jenny, “but I said ‘You do not want to wake up having that color assault you every morning.’ He had lots of input. We compromised with touches of orange.

I decided on blue for what we called ‘the adopted child’s room’ before we knew whether we were adopting a boy or girl. I figured I could make it ‘girly’ if I needed to.”

“I laid out some fabrics in Cole’s room,” she continued, “and she pointed and said ‘bunnies,’ the print based on art by Hunt Slonem. Addalee’s room has evolved. We’ve added a desk, and because she loves to read, we created a place for her to read.”

“Given what I do, we thought building would be fun,” said Jenny, “and it has been fun, but I feel like I see everything, and I like a lot that I see, so I have to figure out what I really like and what I’m going to like for a long time.”

“With a client I do the same thing,” she continued. “I figure out what they’re going to like. The choices can be overwhelming. You have to take the overwhelming out of it and narrow it down.”

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