Introducing My First Interior Design Project: A 1980s House Full of Ornate Details

Interiors & Decor

Two-story living room with a red rug on the lower level, a grand staircase, and a large mural on the upper level

I always feel the most flow when I’m being creative and building something. I think that’s why I’ve been so drawn to interior design in the first place. These past few months, I’ve been designing in a more hands-on capacity outside of my own home.

Today I’m excited to introduce my first interior design project to you: Nine Pines.

This project isn’t something I thought I would take on at first. But when I met with the home’s new owner, Anna, and saw the space, I knew that this would be a really special design project. Anna’s home is very similar to mine in that it has a lot of character and a distinct style that reflects the taste of the home’s previous owner. Read on for more information about this design project!

Dining room with gold botanical wallpaper, a ceiling medallion, and a chandelier

How the Nine Pines Project Came to Be

Earlier this year, I started offering one-on-one consulting calls, covering topics like building a creative career, crafting a social media presence, and, most commonly, designing a home. I had a few people reach out to me to ask if I’d be interested in tackling bigger consulting projects—namely, being the interior designer for an entire home. Anna was one of these people. 

Kitchen with dark wood cabinets, wood flooring, Delft tile backsplash, blue tile countertops, and blue floral wallpaper on the ceiling
Kitchen ceiling with blue floral wallpaper, ceiling medallion, and chandelier

This whole project has felt like kismet. Anna first reached out to me because of our shared love of eclectic spaces and taking design risks. She is such a creative person, with a ferocious appetite for color and pattern, and it’s been a wonderfully collaborative project thus far. Since I didn’t go to school for interior design and my experience with technical design programs is limited, we’ve been pulling together a small team to execute this project over the course of the next eighteen months.

Bathroom with pink design details on the wallpaper and woodwork, ornate gold sconces, and a skylight

The Original Style of This Home

The original style of this home is a total mix! The previous owner spent a lot of time and effort making it their own. There is a lot of chintz wallpaper, ornate details, and Marie Antoinette-inspired dressing areas. The structure of the house is a style straight from the ‘80s. This design combination is a bit over the top, but that’s what makes this such an exciting project to tackle. When I first walked through the house I was overwhelmed in the best way possible. There’s so much opportunity to work with what already exists. 

Pink marble bathroom countertop and sink
Dressing room with pink design details on the wallpaper and woodwork

The Design Direction for the Nine Pines Home

There are so many fun design challenges in this house. While I won’t say too much about our exact design plans in this post, I will tell you the overall style we’ll be bringing to life throughout the course of this project. We want to bring traditional, English country design elements into this home—with a touch of modernity. The goal is to design a home that will feel timeless for years to come and that is a reflection of the family’s tastes. 

Hallway with wallpaper, wainscoting, and ornate details on the woodwork
Ornate paneling detail on a door

Where You Can Follow Along With the Project

I’ll be sharing peeks into the Nine Pines project on my Instagram account. I’ll share more detailed updates in my newsletter, House Call. If you haven’t subscribed to the newsletter yet, please do! 

You can also follow Anna’s Instagram account for the house right here.

Room with high beamed ceilings, a large chandelier, red wallpaper, and a red and green rug

BY Kate Arends - June 12, 2023

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Cassidy S.H.
June 12, 2023 11:41 am

Congrats, Kate! This is so exciting and no doubt you will do an incredible job. Can’t wait to follow along!

Crissy Perham
June 12, 2023 12:30 pm

What a house!! It looks like it was very much loved….what a great place to start a new project! Good luck to you, Anna and the team! Can’t wait to follow along!

June 12, 2023 1:25 pm

Congrats!! I’ve followed your blog for several years now – this will be a fun project to follow along with! I’ve been ready for the all white walls trend to be over for quite some time! Can’t wait to see what you do with the space.

June 12, 2023 3:42 pm

What an amazing, distinctive starting point — can’t wait to see what unfolds!

June 13, 2023 12:09 am

I love all the pink details. I can see how some of it is over the top, it’s really repetitive in some areas. But the light in the house seems to be really good!

June 16, 2023 12:41 pm

Dear Kate, I’m so happy for you! Congratulations!! I’ve been reading your work since the beginning of 2020, and I’ve loved seeing your style, design point of view, voice, and direction of your work evolve into what it is today. It’s inspirational and encouraging to see someone produce projects that are layered, collected, original, and stem purely from the love of design. I love how your spaces look like nothing else seen “on the internet”, and I feel so encouraged to know that Nine Pines won’t look like a copy of your home. I’m so excited to see how you… Read more »

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