Denise Fogarty, an interior designer, loves to entertain at her home in Ballwin, Missouri, a St. Louis suburb. After moving in 10 years ago with her husband, Andy, and their two kids, Denise updated the kitchen and living areas to better handle large groups.
She kept the same footprint, but refreshed rooms with beachy accents and cheery colors to make the layout feel intimate. A breakfast nook adjoining the kitchen offers relaxed seating for party guests.
Ample counter space in Denise's kitchen helps her prep multiple courses. Because she loves to bake, she added a lower marble surface to the wood-topped island, with storage underneath for her mixer.
Denise brought subtle touches of her beach theme into the kitchen with beaded-board accents on islands and pale aqua on walls. Buttery yellow cabinets warm the space.
"I've always been drawn to the Cape Cod style of decorating," says Denise, who was inspired by trips to the East Coast and by the Hamptons beach house in the movie Something's Gotta Give. "I love that kitchen and all the white woodwork."
See Slide 11 for a Buying Guide to this and other rooms in the house.
A built-in desk on the second prep island serves as a convenient station for quickly checking e-mail or browsing recipes.
Gatherings always flow into the family room, where bright aqua walls, white woodwork and rattan furnishings play up the seaside scheme. Grass cloth wallpaper brings texture to the backs of display shelves. Furniture informally arranged at an angle allows for placement of the piano.
"I was careful about where I put the blue because it's such a strong color," Denise says. Applying it to two walls and just above the fireplace adds punch without overwhelming.
In the dining room, new fabric on chair backs inspired the energizing apple-green wall color.
To separate work from party areas, Denise converted an upstairs bedroom into her office. Ivory and crisp white look clean and professional in this room. She keeps unsightly files in white binders to blend with her decor.
Maximizing space in her home office, Denise built a cozy alcove seating area with shelves. French-style furniture adds inviting flair. "I'm big on texture and color," Denise says. "If I do pattern, it's on my pillows, and it's big and bold."
A pink gingham fabric canopy highlights daughter Meaghan's playful pink and green bedroom.
Instead of all cabinets in the first-floor laundry room, undercounter cubbies hold baskets for sorting loads.
Here's what designer Denise Fogarty (pictured, with husband Andy) recommends for a guest-friendly kitchen.
Carve out an area for congregating "Everyone wants to be in the kitchen," Denise says. To keep guests out of the main work zone, set up a conversation area away from prep spaces. In Denise's kitchen, an L-shape island by the family room provides a place to converse out of the cook's way.
Serve food and beverages creatively "I fill the sink on the wood-topped island with ice and use it for drinks and wine," Denise says. The rest of the island becomes a convenient appetizer or dessert buffet.
Consider traffic patterns Originally, the kitchen range was positioned on the center island. Denise moved it to the perimeter to free up a main walkway.
Make it easy for others to help themselves Leaded-glass inserts on cabinets mean guests can easily find dishes and glassware. The see-through design also visually opens up the room.
DESIGNER Denise Fogarty, Denise Fogarty Interiors (314/757-1112; denisefogartyinteriors.com).
KITCHEN: Cabinets (Upper) White; (lower) Buttercream. Kenrose Kitchen Kabinets, Arthur, Illinois (217/543-3595). Countertops Starlight White. TechniStone (technistone.eu). Dishware (In glass-fronted cabinets) Fiesta Dinnerware (800/452-4462; hlchina.com). Faucets (On islands) Marielle collection. Pfister (800/732-8238; pfisterfaucets.com). Paint(On wall) 235 Borrowed Light. Farrow and Ball (888/511-1121; us.farrow-ball.com). Pot filler 948-26. Newport Brass (949/417-5207; newportbrass.com). Range top and double ovens Wolf (800/222-7820; subzero-wolf.com). RefrigeratorSub-Zero (800/222-7820; subzero-wolf.com). Sinks (On wood-topped island) Builder's Series. Linkasink (866/395-8377; linkasink.com). (On second island) White cast-iron undercounter. Kohler (800/456-4537; kohler.com).
DINING ROOM: Artwork John-Richard (866/389-6642; johnrichard.com). Chairs 773-21-6 shield back side, Milling Road collection. Baker Furniture (800/592-2537; kohlerinteriors.com). Fabric: Khasikov Moss. Designers Guild (designersguild.com). Paint (On walls) Mix of 405 Perennial and 406 Huntington Green. Benjamin Moore (855/724-6802; benjaminmoore.com).
FAMILY ROOM: Artwork PF118 La Fleur Henri Matisse. GB Posters (gbposters.com). Paint757 California Breeze. Benjamin Moore (see Dining room, Paint). Sofa Lee (800/892-7150; leeindustries.com).
HOME OFFICE: Chairs 2926A Louis XVI revival. Artistic Frame (212/289-2100; artisticframe.com). Desk Stewart's Furniture (816/695-5054;
stewartsfurniture.com). Settee W2506 European Linen. Wisteria (800/320-9757; wisteria.com).
BEDROOM: Bedspread Hand-painted by artist Susan Sargent (susansargent.com). Paint (On walls) 417 Feel the Energy. Benjamin Moore (see Dining room, Paint).
LAUNDRY ROOM: Cabinets Kenrose Kitchen Kabinets (see Kitchen, Cabinets). Faucet and sink Rohl (800/777-9762; rohlhome.com). Washer and dryer Maytag (800/344-1274; maytag.com).