elcome to a play date at Amy Brown’s
house. The moms sip lemonade and
relax in curvy velvet chairs. The kids
dig into baskets of toys and play
leapfrog off the furniture. Somebody
smashes a big, juicy strawberry into a seat cushion,
but nobody panics. “I can rub it out with a damp rag,”
Amy says calmly.
Filled with stain-proof fabrics and bright, friendly
colour, this Colorado, US, home tackles the chaos of
family life without sacrificing comfort or grown-up
style. Amy, a young designer with a yen for tradition,
mixes family antiques and modem architecture, layers
in texture and subtle pattern, and puts her sons’ toys,
and art on display instead of tucking them away.
“I wanted our house not only to be indestructible,
but also to celebrate this phase of our lives where the
kids are young and have lots of interests,” Amy says.
“And I needed to find a way for it to work aesthetically
for me so I didn’t go crazy.”
Her solution: cover upholstery in easy-to-maintain
fabrics that are both pretty and practical—like the
washable velvets she uses on everything from cushion
covers to the dog’s bed. In the family room, the beige
leather sectional has a protective finish that resists
scratches. A woven ottoman, which doubles as a coffee
table, adds texture. Since it doesn’t have sharp corners,
she doesn’t have to worry when the boys are running
around. Amy keeps a wooden tray balanced on top to
hold books and drinks—it also serves nicely to catch
marbles from the kids’ games.
Amy uses colour to stamp her modern spaces
with warmth and personality. In the home office
she shares with husband Kenton, pickle green walls
provide a fresh backdrop for traditional furnishings.
For a splash of colour over the dining room, Amy put
a blank canvas in the backyard and let sons Cooper,
5, and Malcolm, 3, go at it. “It’s quite messy,” she says
of the boys’ artistic process. “But it’s a great way to
express who lives here and what’s important to us.” ■
BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS | DECEMBER 2011
Though they both grew up in
traditional homes, Amy and
Kenton Brown were drawn to the
abundant light and open floor plan
of this 1950s house,
With two young boys, Amy has
become a master of camouflage.
A skirted table, far