A sophisticated take on shabby cottage design, this home embraces white and pink with a grownup sensibility and style.
A sophisticated take on shabby cottage design, this home embraces white and pink with a grownup sensibility and style. The glossy, dark wood floors are anchor the  slip-covered sofa and soft silk curtains.

While most people seek out artwork that match their home decór, homeowner Christine Derderian had different ideas. Chris wanted a living space that not only made her shabby cottage dreams come true, but also showcased her 27-piece collection of artwork by painter Susan Brown. Enter interior designer Catherine Wiley, who was happy to take on the project.

“Chris has a very strong sense of what she likes,” says Catherine. “She knew what she wanted.” What Chris wanted was a home that was soft, feminine, and filled with flowers. Pink was a must.

A dining room table surrounded by white and dark-pink chairs
The secret to decorating with a strong color is moderation, variation and consistency. This dark pink hue shows up throughout the owner’s home, but never overwhelms. Here, two pink and black chairs make a strong impact against the white table and side chairs. The upholstery echoes the chair in the painting, but is different enough to make it interesting.

The 4,000-square-foot home was built in the the 1990s, but had already been through multiple remodels and additions, creating what Catherine calls, “extended cottage architecture.” She encouraged Chris’ ideas of filling the home with true cottage ambiance. “The house can become what you want it to be – in spite of itself.”

The multiple remodels actually helped them out. “It all seems to blend and flow into one another,” says Catherine. “We could get creative and make a cottage out of it because of all the remodels.”

An all white office is brightened up by the shabby bright pink desk
The distressed pink desk is the anchor for this all white home office – a dreamy space for grown ups.

The first step in the design process was deciding which paintings would go there. Once the artwork was placed, Catherine pulled colors directly from the artwork to build the color palette for each room. “I went from color to color, concept to concept, using the artwork as a guide. I pulled colors from the art for each room – pink, soft-green, gray, beige, rouge – so it resembled the romantic color palette of the artwork. That’s how all these soft colors came together.”

Custom paint colors was key to Catherine’s approach. “There wasn’t one paint color taken straight from the can. We mixed the colors tot get the desired effect. I haven’t used paint from a can in years.”

A chair and ottoman upholstered in dark pink sit in front of a large floral artwork
A piece of artwork can become the inspiration for an entire room. Here, the designer upholstered furniture pieces in colors drawn straight from the artwork behind. Set against the neutral walls and floors, the combination is dramatic and beautiful.

Hardwood floors replaced the carpeting throughout the house, stained to a dark and glossy hue to provide contrast the soft color palette. The effect is striking and sophisticated, highlighting the gorgeous colors and making features like the delicate pleating on the slipcovers and the breezy silk curtains really stand out.

Deep pink walls and a white bathroom sink
Don’t be afraid of strong colors, even in a small space like this bathroom. Here, the white paneling below the wainscoting balances the deep-hued pink and keeps the color from being overwhelming.

“People don’t know how to tell you technically what they want,” says Catherine, “but they say, ‘This is what I love.'” This, of course, the secret of true romantic design – enveloping yourself in all the things you love the most.

“With the help of Catherine,” says Chris, “This house is everything I ever wanted in a home. It is a very peaceful, welcoming, warm home, and I do believe I will never move from here.”

A black and white damask arm chair in front of a painting of a dancer by artist Susan Brown
Blank and white is the perfect counterpoint to the strong pinks throughout the home.