Caroline Brackett doesn’t have a signature style that denotes her work in other people’s spaces. The founder and principal at Caroline Brackett Studio of Design says she considers each project a collaboration, and “every house should reflect the person who is living there, not me.”
The lone exception: her own home, which sits tucked in a leafy neighborhood off Augusta Road. This classic white clapboard home, built in the 1940s but expanded and updated two years ago by the previous owner, is where her personal preferences sit front and center, showcasing a love of cozy spaces, traditional lines, unexpected lighting, and plenty of color supplied both by art and wallpaper.
With three kids ages 10, 8, and 3, Brackett and husband Whitney knew kid-friendly spaces were a must. The living area near the entry is mainly used by Chloe, a rescue springer-corgi mix “we think,” Brackett says. Chloe oversees the front yard from a perch on the daybed, while large portraits of Fin and Josie, by Coni Belleau Adams, flank the fireplace. The adjacent sunroom is a favorite cozy spot, with a desk for quiet time and Bible study, as well as a piano for the kids and for Brackett, who are all taking lessons.
In the two years since moving to Greenville from Charlotte where she still has many clients, “I did a lot of paint, wallpaper, ceilings and window treatments,” she says. Her goal being a creative combination of traditional and modern.
She also has added several prized pieces of art since moving south. “I’ve bought more art since living in Greenville than in my whole life, because the Greenville art scene is so spectacular,” she says. “You can never run out of walls. You can always find a place for art if you love it.”
A favorite piece in the family room, which opens to the kitchen, is a painting of koi by Joseph Bradley. “I have a thing for koi fish, and I love the gilding with the silver and gold leaf,” she says. White sofas and chairs seem like a bold choice for a busy family, but Brackett said the key is the ability to remove and wash the covers.
Formerly a room with a vaulted two-story ceiling, Brackett brought the family room ceiling down to match the kitchen, which accomplished two goals: making the room feel cozier and more intimate, while creating a spacious addition to the playroom upstairs. A wood-burning fireplace and tiny bunching stools make this a fun spot to gather around the coffee table for family gatherings.
Flanking the nearby powder room is a favorite painting by local artist Glen Miller depicting a peaceful scene of a man who seems to be waiting. “He makes me calm down,” she says. “What’s he waiting on? I just love it.”
The door to the powder room is also a conversation piece, added by the previous owner. Brackett believes it is an antique door from Europe, with unique, original hardware. She contrasted the aged appearance of the door with the powder room inside, which is wrapped in snakeskin-print wallpaper.
She showcases her love of cozy, intimate spaces in the master suite, which is painted a high-gloss earthy brown/gray tone (Dragon’s Breath by Benjamin Moore). “I don’t like big expansive bedrooms,” she says. “I feel secure and safe in this room.” The blush velvet headboard and footboard add contrast, as does art by Bethany Mabee, a Chicago artist who is represented in Greenville by Art and Light Gallery.
Mudrooms are key for keeping school-age kids organized, and Brackett updated hers with three separate benches, beadboard cubbies, and hooks for bags, sports equipment, and shoes. The laundry room adds more convenience, with a utility sink for washing dirty paws and kids, and a potting station for planting and flower arranging. She jazzed up the space with a mod chandelier, a large mirror, art by Kiah Bellows, and a blown-up photo of water by her friend and former boss, Sheryl Bucci.
The base of the stairs is home to several of her prized possessions, including a piece of plaster wall and wallpaper from her family’s ancestral home Fairfield in Lenoir, N.C., a piece her sister cross-stitched for her as a wedding present, and a painting by Kent Ambler.
Never one to enjoy a vast white space, Brackett papered the ceiling above the stairs with a starry print. “It’s just a bit of whimsy up here that no one sees but us,” she says.
She doesn’t display many family photos or children’s art downstairs, but on the second level, special family moments and the creative works of her children dominate the space. “I’m not big on personal pictures in the communal area,” she explains. The spacious playroom showcases large framed paintings and drawings by her children, and the kids customized their rooms to their liking.
Josie chose bunk beds and pastel bedding, while her mom added a sparkly chandelier, a bold rug, and a desk for homework. Fin, age 10, was hands-on with his room, adding his own drawings of monster trucks and a large bulletin board holding many of his favorite things, including supplies to build robots. Beau, who just turned 3, hasn’t prioritized his decor just yet, but his mom decked out his room in bold green-and-blue stripes.
Brackett may enjoy designing for clients of all tastes. But as she simultaneously picks up children’s clothing from the floor, answers the door, and tosses a toy to the dog, it’s clear that for her own family, a functional space that is both elegant and family-friendly is the perfect fit.