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Yes, You Can Have a Beautiful and Kid-proof Home

A mid-’90s tract house in Coppell gets a top-notch makeover to suit interior designer Janelle Patton’s family of five.
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Janelle Patton's Kitchen
Patton reconfigured the windows in the kitchen during the renovation, and now the space is flooded with natural light. Nathan Schroder
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Yes, You Can Have a Beautiful and Kid-proof Home

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Janelle Patton has a message for design-minded parents in North Texas: You can have nice things. For proof, look no further than the interior designer’s own Coppell home. With three kids who have been known to rollerblade and do cartwheels in the house, the founder of Lark Interiors made it her mission to create a home that is as beautiful as it is durable.

“Through owning this business and working with a ton of families, I know what works for families,” Patton says as she rattles off a list of family-friendly design tips. (Wool rugs are easier to clean than polypropylene rugs, for instance, and heavy patterns are great for hiding stains.) So when it came time to renovate the house she shares with husband Chris, 15-year-old son Elliot, 12-year-old daughter Harper, 9-year-old daughter Emersen, and a Cavapoo named Scout, the designer was ready and able to take on the project.  

 And a big project it was. “We found this home five years ago and bought it because it’s on a big lot and everything in it was original,” says Patton, who describes the residence as “a 100 percent mid-’90s tract home,” complete with sea-shell sinks in the bathroom, dated tile flooring, and ceiling fans with glass flower shades on the lightbulbs. “That’s what I wanted because I didn’t want to pay for someone else’s upgrades that wouldn’t be to my taste.”  

 But Patton didn’t start tearing out sinks and replacing floors right away. She and her family lived in the house for about four years before starting to renovate. “We got a feel for how our family used the space and what it still needed and then tried to tackle that all at once in this huge renovation,” she says. “But, ultimately, I wanted our home to be lived in, to make it really pretty but also really functional for our family.” 

 Patton’s first order of business was getting her business space in order, which included building an addition above the garage that would house an in-home studio for Lark Interiors. She also gutted all the bathrooms, remodeled the kitchen, and expanded the laundry room—the latter move resulting in a storage-heavy mudroom with a cubby, drawer, or cabinet for everything the family of five might need. “We didn’t even have a coat closet before,” Patton says. “That’s an advantage of living in a space before you renovate it because you realize things like, oh, we have nowhere to put our coats!” 

 Once the new floor plan was finalized, thanks to architectural drawings by Lark senior designer Ali Ames, Patton set about decorating the space, which she filled with bold hues and heaps of patterns. “I love color and pattern. It just makes me happy,” she says. “A lot of times, clients won’t let me go crazy with that, so to be able to do it in my own home was really fun.”  

Another thing eagle-eyed guests might notice in the Patton house is plenty of repetition. “A home feels cohesive when you repeat details,” she says. Look closely and you’ll see brass hardware in almost every room in the house, the color blue repeated throughout, and dainty scallop details on everything from chair cushions and drapes to bathroom countertops.  

 But Patton’s commitment to playfulness and celebrating her family members’ various personalities is perhaps the home’s most noticeable quality, from the dedicated record room for her music-loving husband and whimsical papier-mâché chandelier in her middle daughter’s bedroom to the laundry room’s monkey-adorned wallpaper and the hilarious “That’s what she said” quote from NBC’s The Office spelled out in penny tile in her son’s shower.   

“I think homes should be fun,” the designer says simply.

All’s Well That Wears Well

Designer and homeowner Janelle Patton shares her tips to family-friendly living that also lives beautifully. 

“To me, reducing stress is an essential component of wellness,” says Patton. “Fussy finishes are a fast way to make your blood pressure spike.” To lessen the stress in her own home renovation, durable finishes were a must.

Check out a few of the designer’s low-stress, no-mess techniques:

Opt for Hard-to-Hurt Countertops

“Quartzite countertops like ours are a fantastic, real-stone alternative to marble,” she says. “Quartzite is harder than marble and more resistant to staining and scratching.”

Performance Fabrics Are Your Friend

“Pick performance fabrics whenever possible,” Patton advises. “I designed our banquette with vinyl on the seat so that I could spend dinner bonding with my kids rather than reminding them to use a napkin.” Her go-to performance fabrics include InsideOut, Crypton, and Sunbrella.

Pick Paint Finishes That Can Take a Beating

“For high-traffic areas, pre-catalyzed lacquer is the most durable paint finish out there,” she says. “Fewer scratches on kitchen cabinets equals less stress for Mom.”

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Rhonda Reinhart

Rhonda Reinhart

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