Color Steals the Show in This Home

A south-side townhome mixes bright colors and neutrals along with old treasures and new finds.

White walls, floors and furniture let the homeowners’ colorful artwork and accessories shine.

Writer: Missy Keenan
Photographers: Doug Smith and Duane Tinkey

When interior designer Rosalie Gallagher’s clients retired and were ready to move into their new south-side Des Moines townhome, they had collected a lifetime of treasures. Gallagher helped the couple combine their cherished possessions—including family heirlooms, handcrafted furniture and travel memorabilia—with a few new gems. The result is a comfortable space personalized for the owners’ tastes and interests.

In the large living room, a multicolored hand-woven English rug was the initial investment and the genesis for the design. White walls and trim, marble floors, and furniture including a new sectional enabled the colorful rug and the couple’s art collection to pop.

“The couch and chairs are so comfortable,” says the homeowner, who did not want to be named for this article. “And we love the rug that’s like a piece of art on the floor. When we saw the new rug with our art, we were happy with how great it all looks together.”

A red lacquer Chinese low chest as well as pillows made from colorful fabric add more personality and texture to the room. The pillows were Gallagher’s personal contribution, made from the stash of hand-woven textiles she brought back from India 15 years ago.

The husband made this walnut table before they were married. Now more than 25 years later, it’s the perfect spot for putting together puzzles.

On the far end of the large living room is a walnut table built by the husband before the couple married. Gallagher helped bring in another fun pop of color by surrounding the table with bright red polymer chairs. Flanked by a wall of windows, this table is a great spot for putting together puzzles—a new hobby the couple started during the past year.

The Basque antique dining table was purchased on a trip to London when the homeowners were newlyweds.

Adjacent to the living room, the dining area features another treasured table—an antique Basque dining table the couple purchased during a 1995 trip to London. The table, which the couple obtained after they married, seats up to 14 people, perfect for family dinners with their adult children and grandchildren.

As in the rest of their home, the dining room is a fusion of old and new, mixing the antique table with a large contemporary chandelier and black-and-white fabric-covered chairs.

The cozy library reminds the homeowners of hotel bars they’ve enjoyed around the world.

Contrasting the home’s large open living and dining spaces is a library fashioned after the cozy hotel bars the couple like to visit on their travels. A chenille-covered Chesterfield sofa and chairs invite sinking in with a good book and a glass of wine. Floor-to-ceiling bookcases display favorite novels and special pieces including an old balance scale, a nod to both homeowners’ careers spent in university science labs.

At the end of a colorful hallway rug, the chenille-covered Chesterfield sofa is a compelling destination.

“We love the whole space,” the homeowner says. “It has a contemporary feel, and a coziness, too. We appreciate that Rosalie helped us mix old and new pieces for a combination of our tastes and the things we love.”

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