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Designer Meredith Ellis’ Colorful, 1970s University Park Home

The James showroom founder sets the tone in Sally and Ross Taylor’s art-filled abode.
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Designer Meredith Ellis’ Colorful, 1970s University Park Home

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Sally and Ross Taylor knew they wanted dramatic color moments in their 1970s University Park home, but they weren’t exactly sure how to achieve that goal.

Sally, an artist, deals in color every day, but that made it all the more important that they choose the perfect hues for their walls. “I’m very affected by color,” she says. “It matters, and it would matter to me if I got it wrong. I really needed help.” As Sally searched for inspiration, she kept going back to designer Meredith Ellis’ Instagram account. “I just loved her little squares—they were each so creative, colorful, layered,” she says. “I just thought it felt like me.”

Living room designed by Meredith Ellis
In the Taylors’ living room, designer Meredith Ellis coated the walls in Benjamin Moore’s Fairmont Green, then added her signature mix of patterns.

Sally sent the designer a few photos of their house, and Ellis felt an immediate connection to the space: “I love crown molding. I love casings. I love baseboards. I love detail. I want to work on spaces I can transform,” she says. Lucky for Sally, Ellis has always been a champion of color. So much so it inspired her to open JAMES, a textiles showroom with locations in Austin, Houston, and Dallas. “The thing I love the most is textiles,” she says. “That’s where I always start. From there they bring out the color.”

When homeowner and designer started to brainstorm, Sally gave Ellis pieces of art—some of her own oil paintings, others by favorite artists—as jumping-off points, as well as a few notes about her and her husband’s lifestyle as avid readers, creative homebodies, and parents to two young sons. After their initial meetings, Sally knew what she needed to do: let Ellis do her thing. “I thought, she’ll do something if I let her go,” Sally says. “She will come up with something that I couldn’t have thought of.”

Custom bunk beds for the Taylor boys
Ellis had custom full-size bunk beds built for the Taylor boys. “They need lots of room to wrestle and play,” she says. “So bunk beds made sense to not only give them their own space but also provide plenty of extra floor space for toys, games, and blocks.”

For starters? A green living room. The designer used the colors in the couple’s Virginia Beahan photo of Cuba that hangs above the fireplace to inform the palette. She added custom bookshelves to house the Taylors’ deep collection of books and brought in a TCS Designs sofa upholstered in green velvet from Schumacher, TCS Designs chairs covered in Lisa Fine fabric, and a round table with a Pintura Studio skirt. The walls are covered in Benjamin Moore’s Fairmont Green. “This was my biggest trust room because none of these things look like they go together to me,” Sally says. “It’s amazing, and I love it so much. It’s everyone’s favorite place.”

In the den, Ellis chose a lighter shade, Benjamin Moore’s Crystalline, to mimic the tones in one of Sally’s oil paintings, which hangs above the sofa. The room’s antique table and banquette serve as home base for the family—a spot for the boys to color, do homework, and eat after-school snacks. Upstairs, Ellis designed the master suite as another interpretation of the couple’s art collection. A lithograph of Sally’s favorite artist, Fairfield Porter, hangs above the dresser, and an oversized California landscape Sally painted lives on one of the walls. The cozy, coastal vibe Ellis created almost makes it feel as if waves are crashing outside the bedroom window. “It’s like in the movie, when Mary Poppins steps into the painting,” Sally says. “You just feel like it all belongs.” 

Interiors by Meredith Ellis
Styling by Jenny O’Conner
Florals by Haile Wossen

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