Jonathan and Natalie Fowler never thought that they’d move houses. But when they saw this charming house near University of Oklahoma campus built in the early 1900’s go up for sale, they couldn’t resist. It had been painstakingly cared for over the 100 years since it was built, yet it still needed a professional to take the couple’s laid-back and artsy personality and channel it through the design of the home. Sharing their home with their two young children, they knew that they wanted a put-together space, but they didn’t want one that felt stuffy and formal. They hired interior designer Sherree Chamberlain to transform this historic home with tons of potential.
“I typically design a space first and add in art last, but this time around the Fowler’s art collection was a big inspiration for the home,” Sherree said. “They had such a unique mix of Native American oil paintings, large colorful landscapes, and colorful concert posters that each have a story behind them. I knew I needed to mix the legacy and history of the home with their active, engaged lifestyle, so I began with their art.” The couple owned original pieces from such artists as Evelyne Boren, Suchitra Bhosle, O Gail Poole, and Ric Gendron, to name a few, therefore giving the home a crucial personal touch.
The piece-de-resistance, however, was the painting above the mantel that they commissioned painter Ryan Cunningham to create for them. Sherree tells us about the process: “he met with the Fowlers early on to vaguely discuss a concept, and I then sent over my design boards for the room. We had no clue what it was going to look like, and had the ‘unveiling’ after all of the furniture was in place. It couldn’t have worked out better. We seriously had goosebumps and tears in our eyes during the reveal, and couldn’t stop smiling the rest of the day.”
That piece served as the jumping off point for the rest of the design and color palette. Sherree mixed pieces that we both traditional and modern. A chandelier from Barbara Barry in the dining room and vintage rugs from Woven Abode were a nod to the home’s historical heritage, while the green velvet armchairs from west elm and the leather bench from Garza Marfa channeled the couple’s more contemporary spirit. “They were so good at giving constructive feedback, and once we figured out the happy medium of mixing traditional & modern that they felt comfortable in, it was smooth sailing,” Sherree said about working with the couple.