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The Design Plan Giving This Preston Hollow Home the Blues

After previously collaborating on several one-off spaces, homeowner Ashley Ellis and designer Lisa Henderson reunited for a whole-home refresh.
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Outside Pool Area at 6246 Lupton Drive
With large chairs by Kingsley Bates and decorative garden stools from Acquisitions, the covered patio offers a comfortable place for family and friends to kick back and relax. Nathan Schroder

The Design Plan Giving This Preston Hollow Home the Blues

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It seems fitting that Ashley Ellis first met Lisa Henderson at the playground of their children’s preschool, as the Ellises would go on to hire the interior designer to outfit a family-friendly home for them—twice. Their initial happenstance meeting turned into a slow but steady professional partnership. “In our old home, we had a bathroom that needed to be remodeled, and I connected with her at first over that, and then that turned into the dining room and a few other little rooms here and there,” says Ellis. 

When the Ellises purchased their new home in 2021, Ellis called Henderson immediately to do a walk-through. “We wanted to warm the home up and make it feel more comfortable and inviting,” Ellis says.

Though the home’s existing aesthetic was contemporary, the floor plan was traditional—creating a prime opportunity for Henderson to turn the Ellises’ dreams into reality. They started with paint and wallpaper selections—Ellis expressed her love of a blue-and-green color story—and together, began assessing the family’s needs.  

With two young boys ages 9 and 11, the Ellises wanted a house where their sons could have friends over but that didn’t compromise on style. “Ashley is the only girl in the house, so we were trying to make it as pretty as possible for her but still comfortable for all the boys, as well, to keep everyone happy,” says Henderson. 

One selling point was the openness of the house—many spaces can be seen from other rooms, allowing for visual interest as well as safety. “While the children are playing outside in the pool or on the trampoline, I can see them from all angles,” Ellis says. Though the kitchen needed very little structural work, Ellis and Henderson opted to nix the modern white-and-gray color palette for something a little more fun. 

“I wanted something with depth that added to the home, since you can see it from the family room,” Ellis says. The robin’s egg blue cabinets, complete with new hardware, provide a talking point anytime the home has visitors. “Everyone is always commenting on the cabinets,” she adds. 

“I love a traditional home, but fresh—not Grandma’s traditional.” 

— Homeowner Ashley Ellis

Like with the kitchen, the dining room can be seen from many other points within the home. A high-gloss ceiling reflects light and creates a glow from within. To maintain the traditional feel, Ellis and Henderson opted to keep her classic dining set but freshen it up with a chinoiserie-inspired Schumacher wallpaper. A Stark sisal rug and a Coleen & Company light fixture give the room a relaxed feel. The space also provides an opportunity for the Ellises to build their contemporary art collection. “I try to encourage not putting all of the super-traditional furniture in one room, but spreading it out and pairing it with newer items,” Henderson explains. “We didn’t want grand with grand.”

Henderson took that traditional but relaxed approach to the family room, too, so that it would best suit the Ellises’ needs. Where a piano once stood now sits a card table, enjoyed by the family as well as Ellis’ mahjong friends. “It’s always set up, and we’re always using it,” says Ellis. 

That usability reflects the choices throughout home—a place where boys can run and play or where family members can chill out with loved ones. “Every room is so multifunctional, from the kitchen to the family room to the den,” says Ellis. “We want that to continue while the boys grow.”

Design around Your Life

When outfitting your space, let your lifestyle—not design “rules”—lead the way.

One key to creating a cozy home is being honest with yourself about how you’ll use the space. The Ellis family first put their piano in the front living room, but Ashley had a hunch that it might not be the best usage for their family. She asked her oldest son, now 11, if he intended to keep playing the piano; he had just taken up choir and was exploring other instruments. When he asked to take a break, she made a quick pivot. “I had started playing a lot more mahjong and just pulling out a folding table and putting it in my entry,” she says. “I told Lisa I wanted to use my front room.” The result is a space the family can use for their own game nights—Monopoly, Risk, and Settlers of Catan are all favorites for the family of four—as well as for entertaining.


Sarah Bennett

Sarah Bennett

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