Transitional look in Dunwoody Colonial

Coming from a townhome into a Colonial-style home, John and Renee Morehouse wanted to make the most of their extra space.

A formal dining room was unnecessary for now, so that spacious spot was turned into a playroom for their 2-year-old daughter. Unsure about how to use the formal living room, which was sitting vacant, they worked with designer Lauren Harris to create a TV-free gathering space. Now the stylish yet flexible space serves as a conversation area, with four chairs on casters, a round ottoman and storage cubes offering padded seating.

“We wanted it to be area to sit before dinner or after dinner,” Renee said.

Snapshot

Residents: John and Renee Morehouse, their daughter, Kate, 2, and their dog, Murphy. John is a research engineer at Georgia Tech; Renee is a behavioral scientist at the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention

Location: Dunwoody

Size: 2,700 square feet, four bedrooms, two full and two half-baths

Year built: 1970

Year bought: 2013

Architectural style: Colonial

Favorite architectural elements: Ceiling beams and fireplace in the living room, hardwood floors, slate flooring in the foyer

Interior design style: Transitional with rustic and Southern elements

Design consultant: Lauren Harris Interiors

Favorite interior design elements: The gray and blue color palette, which creates a soothing setting. The homeowners wanted to create a relaxing home for themselves and their guests. "We're a pretty busy family with parenting and working full time," she said. "To me, it's very calming."

Favorite piece of furniture: Spindle chairs in the living room, by DR Kincaid, because of the intricate details in the wood and the upholstery. "They are cozy without sacrificing the overall beauty of the chairs," Renee said.

Favorite outdoor feature: Screened porch

Decor tip: Incorporate special family pieces and paintings to create an "at home" feeling, Renee said. For example, in the living room, they have framed original watercolor paintings purchased on Etsy.com that represent their hometowns (a winding country road in the fall for upstate NY and palm trees for Florida). Another painting depicts John's childhood home in upstate New York.

Resources: Furniture from DR Kincaid, World Market, Aidan Gray, Home Decorators Collection; artwork from Etsy and HomeGoods; lighting from Gabby, Restoration Hardware Baby and Child, Zeugma Import; rugs from Dash & Albert; accessories from HomeGoods, World Market and Hobby Lobby. All Sherwin-Williams paint: Mindful Gray on living room and family room walls; Repose Gray on living room ceiling.