Family Ties

An acclaimed L.A. television writer asks designer Jackie Terrell to stage her real-life family home with vintage finds, a modest dose of color, and kid-friendly style.

But for a scriptwriter who’s used to calling the shots for everyone else, choosing the perfect shade of creamy white paint or where to place outlets was no laughing matter.

Photographer Dominique Vorillon, Stylist Char Hatch Langos

Modern Family

As an Emmy Award-winning TV writer for the sitcoms Friends and The New Adventures of Old Christine, Sherry Bilsing has made a career out of distilling humor from the ordinary. But for a scriptwriter who’s used to calling the shots for everyone else, choosing the perfect shade of creamy white paint or where to place outlets was no laughing matter.

“All types of questions were coming my way: wall color…what type of light fixtures would go where,” she says. “I realized I needed help.” And that’s when designer Jackie Terrell became part of the supporting cast.

We Love: Old school posters or reading charts in unexpected places—like the living room, not the playroom—lend a casual, playful vibe. A slipcovered wing chair puts a relaxed twist on a traditional style.

Photographer Dominique Vorillon, Stylist Char Hatch Langos

Open Concept

Sherry and her husband, Mark, wanted a traditional but casual look for their home so their son, Gavin, would feel comfortable everywhere, including the living room―typically reserved for grown-ups.

We Love: Old school posters or reading charts in unexpected places―like the living room, not the playroom―lend a casual, playful vibe. A slipcovered wing chair puts a relaxed twist on a traditional style.

We Love: A chesterfield sofa in a master bedroom, especially when clad in striped linen rather than typical stodgy leather, a la grandad’s library.

Photographer Dominique Vorillon, Stylist Char Hatch Langos

Quick Fix

To create a family-focused look that still reflected Sherry’s traditional sensibility, Jackie chose classic furnishings but rolled the dice a little on where she placed them.

We Love: A chesterfield sofa in a master bedroom, especially when clad in striped linen rather than typical stodgy leather, à la grandad’s library.

For example, in the dining room, she paired painted wicker chairs with a dark mahagony Queen Anne-inspired table.

 Photographer Dominique Vorillon, Stylist Char Hatch Langos

Mixed Up

“Quirky juxtapositions of traditional furnishings loosen things up, keep the space from feeling stuffy, and make everything more user-friendly,” Jackie says. For example, in the dining room, she paired painted wicker chairs with a dark mahagony Queen Anne-inspired table.

We Love: Painted wicker retro-style chairs like these are available in 40 different colors from Maine Cottage; mainecottage.com. A high-backed banquette makes us think of ’50s diners with cozy booth seating.

“Subtle variations in color are more soothing than dramatic ones, especially in an open floor plan,” she says.

Photographer Dominique Vorillon, Stylist Char Hatch Langos 

Casual Color

For the palette, Jackie chose soft, pale hues that cast a tranquil glow over the whole house. “Subtle variations in color are more soothing than dramatic ones, especially in an open floor plan,” she says.

We Love: A farmhouse sink (this one is from Shaws Original), for simplicity that works with any décor. These powder-coated metal barstools are a sleek twist on the classic lunch-counter version.

We Love: Low built-ins that span the whole wall and create an easy-to-reach display shelf. A custom-built, cushy sectional—extra deep and extra long to fit the room—and covered in Ultraseude to stand up to wear and tear.

Photographer Dominique Vorillon, Stylist Char Hatch Langos

Relaxed Fit

Jackie also chose fabrics that reinforced the casual vibe with practically indestructible Ultraseude covering the family room’s oversize sectional.

We Love: Low built-ins that span the whole wall and create an easy-to-reach display shelf. A custom-built, cushy sectional―extra deep and extra long to fit the room―and covered in Ultraseude to stand up to wear and tear.

“We opted for a lot of schoolhouse-looking things, like the glass-shade pendant lamps, because they’re the antithesis of anything serious,” Jackie says.

Photographer Dominique Vorillon, Stylist Char Hatch Langos

Vintage Inspiration

Finishing touches, such as artwork and accessories, appeal to Sherry’s penchant for vintage style―and her sense of humor. “We opted for a lot of schoolhouse-looking things, like the glass-shade pendant lamps, because they’re the antithesis of anything serious,” Jackie says.

We Love: Maps and globes from any era. Browsing Sherry’s collection is like taking a trip through the 20th century, from pre-Cold War to modern day. For more, visit maryhudsen.com.

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