Interior designer Dana Brown’s home worked perfectly for her young family when she and her former husband bought it in 1997. But after the couple divorced and their three sons and one daughter got older, the house needed some modification.
Then, in 2008, she married Bill Brown, who brought a fourth son into the family.
“We have too many children,” Brown said with a laugh. “We needed more space.”
The following year, the Browns added a wing at the south side of the home with two bedrooms, two baths, a new laundry room, a storage area and a rear foyer.
Built shortly after World War II, the house was well made with good materials and later elegantly decorated by the late Ken McKay, a local interior designer, who purchased it in the 1990s.
Brown retained the home’s traditional room arrangement with a large entrance hall dominated by a curved stairway with a wrought iron banister. The living room is to the left.
Originally a study, with dark mahogany paneling, opened to the right. Behind the entrance hall was a very small dining room.
After Dana Brown’s father died in 2004, her mother moved to another home and gave Brown her dining room table.
“It didn’t fit, so I flip-flopped the rooms,” Brown said. The large study became the dining room, and the old dining room, a television room.
Brown decorated her home with antiques, but by using a neutral palette, it has a modern feel.
“I have a lot of stuff,” Brown said. “I like neutral.”
Her favorite wall color is Benjamin Moore Abingdon Putty, which she uses throughout the house.
“I have painted multiple times,” Brown said. “I originally darkened the colors and then lightened it up again. It was a slow evolution.”
Several of the pieces of antique furniture were gifts from Brown’s parents. They go well with the dark oak floors.
“I always got furniture for gifts,” she said.
One of the most interesting rooms is the master bedroom, which Brown gutted and redid in 2006, after a plumbing disaster under the slab.
“It was a mess,” said Brown, who used molding and yards and yards of celadon silk taffeta draped from the ceiling to create an alcove for the bed. She upholstered the headboard in green velvet.
Large portraits of the children by Linda Vise hang throughout the home as well as a number of Audubon prints collected by Brown’s father, the late Don Oatley.
Among her favorite items are several dioramas. These scenes in nature, originally created under glass during the Victorian period, are highly collectible.
Everywhere are pieces of blue and white china and pottery collected over years. “I have a blue and white problem,” she said with a smile.
Brown also has the “temporary” use of patterns of silver and china she and her mother, Margaret Oatley, collected for Brown’s four children, even the boys. These, of course, will go with the children when they marry.
“All of my boys were given china and silver all of their life,” she said.
A sun room at the back of the living room opens to a terraced patio with a large brick fireplace and a seating area. The home is on three lots just off the City Park golf course.
“The golf course makes everything feel so much more open,” Brown said.