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House Tour: Surprise Inside

Like an Easter egg in reverse, this pearly gray 1911 home hides all its colorful personality behind the door.

Amanda Reynal greets guests in the entry of her century-old Des Moines home, watching with knowing satisfaction as they take in the high-gloss pink vestibule.

She’s seen those raised eyebrows before. The hue falls somewhere between peony and Barbie, and it’s everywhere—on the walls, window frames, even the ceiling. It’s a shamelessly bold move you can’t help but love, even if you wouldn’t choose that shade of pink yourself. (The only person who disagreed? The painter charged with getting uniform spray coverage on the dark molding.)

(Left) Rather than a typical “gallery wall” of smaller frames, the home’s stairwell highlights a few favorites from Amanda and Michael Reynal’s art collection, including portraits of their sons painted by Des Moines artist Van Holmgren. (Right) The Reynals’ petite entryway is unabashedly pink—top to bottom

As the creative force behind the design firm and home furnishings shop Amanda Reynal Interiors, Amanda knows that older homes come with endemic limitations—and sometimes guilt over changing them too much or imposing an excess of contemporary flair. “I loved the bones of the house,” Amanda says, explaining why she and her husband, Michael, opted against tearing down walls when they moved in a decade ago. As the parents of two boys, the couple focused on select updates, like an eat-in kitchen and additional bathroom and closet space. The classic center-hall floor plan survived.

To encourage family dinners, the Reynals removed a kitchen desk and awkward peninsula to create a breakfast nook.

But what about that gutsy pink? Or the bedroom ceiling striped with palm fronds? Or the eclectic mod artwork? “If this house were filled with 18th-century portraits, it would feel very contrived, like a museum or historic home,” Amanda says. “Period decorating eliminates the personality of the homeowner.”

Amanda creatively taps her sons’ interests for bedroom ideas. Skate decks and a wallpapered ceiling reflect Henry’s passions for art and nature—and skateboarding.

For the Reynals, personality means color that’s fearless but employed thoughtfully. Amanda threaded blues and greens through the whole house. On the main floor, the living room’s intense inky hue fades to paler shades and turquoise in the adjoining family room and shows up mostly as accessories in the kitchen. Recurring whites and soft grays act as a foil.

The home's signature blue migrates, reappearing throughout the first floor.

The Reynals’ airy sunroom pulls double duty as a family room, with a TV, a game table for chess and backgammon, and a desk for homework. 

“If you’re afraid of color, start on a small scale,” Amanda advises. “It can be pillows or fabrics. A judicious and well-edited use of color is just as impactful as an explosion. Or limit brights to a small space where you don’t stay for long.” That was her thinking with the pink entryway. “It’s a little jewel box of a room,” Amanda says. “No one spends much time in it, but you see it. It’s like walking into a birthday present every day.”

Artwork adds another layer of color, and Amanda’s philosophy there is simple: Art isn’t merely decoration. It should feel personal, whether you buy it from a gallery, inherit it from a family member or make it yourself. Michael’s paintings of Henry and George hang in the master bedroom hallway. Henry’s brushstrokes dress the wall above the living room mantle. A commissioned pop art piece by street mural artist Jordan Weber includes references to family favorites, like the New York Yankees and Homer Simpson. “The art not only makes the house feel fresh and young,” Amanda says, “but it’s relative to us as a family. It’s meaningful.”

The entryway’s dramatic pink gives an encore in the living room, in an energetic painting Amanda spied in the gallery window of local artist Robert Spellman.  

And, of course, the house itself is a canvas—Amanda’s. “When I first visited 10 years ago, I envisioned a home full of everything I love: art, vibrancy, my favorite fabrics and lots of light.” She got her wish.

Even as their boys grow older, Michael and Amanda still encourage outdoor play. Comfy furniture invites lounging with friends, a ping-pong table rolls from garage to lawn, and projected movies flicker on the side of the house.

Buying Guide

Designer Amanda Reynal, Amanda Reynal Interiors, 1417 Walnut St., Des Moines, Iowa (reynalinteriors.com).

Entryway Sconce Hand-rubbed antique brass wall light. Studio Savoy. Visual Comfort and Company (visualcomfortlightinglights.com). Table Lyle gold leafed. Worlds Away. Available at Candelabra (shopcandelabra.com). Wall paint 2076-40 Raspberry Mousse. Benjamin Moore (benjaminmoore.com). 

Dining nook Chair cushion fabric AC950-04 Zig Zag Multi Color. Alan Campbell for Quadrille Fabrics (quadrillefabrics.com). Pendant Elsie Lantern. Coleen and Company (coleenandcompany.com). Table Plexi-Craft (plexi-craft.com). Wall paint HC-171 Wickham Gray. Benjamin Moore (benjaminmoore.com). Window shade fabric 306222F Uzbek. Quadrille Fabrics (quadrillefabrics.com).

Living room Picture light Hand-rubbed antique brass. E.F. Chapman Cabinet Makers. Visual Comfort and Company (visualcomfortlightinglights.com). Stool Vintage. Stool fabric 67101 Crosstown weave, color: navy. Schumacher (fschumacher.com). Table Custom. Available at Amanda Reynal Interiors (reynalinteriors.com). Rug Pueblo, color: Platinum. Prestige Mills (prestigemills.com). 

Bedroom Bed Balboa. Serena and Lily (serenaandlily.com). Bedding Southern Linens. Available on Etsy (SouthernLinen.etsy.com). Lamp Brasilia. Bungalow 5 (bungalow5.com). Wallpaper (on ceiling) 5006931 Zebra Palm, color: Jungle. Schumacher (fschumacher.com). Window shade Natural. Kirsch (kirsch.com). Window treatment fabric Les Touches, color: green. Brunschwig and Fil (brunschwig.com).

Sunroom Chair O. Henry House (ohenryhouseltd.com). Chair fabric 7558/43 Forenza Meadow. Romo (romousa.com). Couch O. Henry House (ohenryhouseltd.com). Side table Parsons, color: white. Bungalow 5 (bungalow5.com). Lamp Mariah. Bungalow 5 (bungalow5.com). Ottoman 1613. Lee Industries (leeindustries.com). Ottoman fabric 174280 Peacock Print, color: Pool. Trina Turk for Schumacher (fschumacher.com). Rug Noite, color: gold. Ashe + Leandro Collection. Merida (meridastudio.com). 

Singin' the blues (and greens)?

Tour another color-happy Midwest home at midwestliving.com/fullcolor

 

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