French Country Femme

By Katie Faulkner
Photography by Philip Slowiak

Missy Morton’s home is a touch French country, a touch feminine, and all comfort and approachability. Missy Morton taught school in Dalton, Georgia, for 31 years, until she decided she wanted to be closer to family. With a daughter in college, she decided home base should be in Chattanooga. After looking, she determined she’d like to build her home. “When we found the lot, it was perfect. It was one that had kind of been saved by the developer because it was so private and afforded these beautiful views out the back,” Missy shares. After purchasing the lot, she was able to design the house of her dreams, and hired Dexter White of Dexter W. White Construction to execute those dreams. The home came together with all the trappings and tasteful touches of feminine French country she desired.

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pproaching the home, the French country styling is immediately evident. Hip-jointed gables partner with stone arches, lime-washed brick, and custom-painted antiqued shutters to create a luxurious yet rustic exterior. A cobblestone walkway continues the European feel, while fresh landscaping incorporates colors from the home’s façade – hydrangeas wrap the home, waiting to flash their pale blues in spring and summer, which will match the specialty shutters. Small trees, rose bushes, and sedge grasses are ready to flow into each other as a traditional cottage-style garden should.

As you enter the arched, windowed front door, there is a traditional dining room to the left that walks through a butler’s pantry to the kitchen. In the foyer, a curved credenza cabinet bears special meaning for Missy. “That piece was always in my parents’ lake house, so it’s been around most of my life,” she shares.

Walking further into the home, the foyer hall opens up into the living room. In this room, Missy wanted it to be beautiful enough to entertain yet comfortable enough for everyday living. A special stone fireplace was thoughtfully planned with an impressive, raised hearth to create a sense of grandeur and warmth. A variance of patterns and colors all tie together with gray, beige, brown, and red accents. While a subtle red floral-esque pattern echoes through the drapes, foot stools, and throw pillows, more masculine and comforting light gray buffalo checks can be found on the nearby accent chairs.

This room is open to the adjacent kitchen and dining nook. The arrangement is conducive to flow for entertaining. “I love to have my parents over. In fact, they’re over here all the time. These two swivel chairs are their ‘spot’ when they’re here,” Missy laughs, pointing to the leopard print armchairs nearest the kitchen.

From her parents’ favorite chairs in the living room, it’s just a few feet to the kitchen island and more seating. “This house has been wonderful for entertaining. I love the open concept, this kitchen, and the dining nook. That’s probably where we eat the most,” Missy says. The island boasts ample storage, a large stainless steel sink, and a beautifully distressed off-white paint job. The countertops are a gorgeous leathered granite that looks like marble. The veining bears a very subtle copper-colored tone throughout which ties into all of the kitchen’s accents. Copper cabinet pulls, pendant lights, and a custom backsplash add an old-world feel to this state-of-the-art space. The main cabinetry is finished in a soft chestnut brown, which helps ground the otherwise airy color palette. Double ovens, an expansive cooktop, industrial refrigerator, and hidden appliance garage beside the refrigerator all contribute to the world-class elements of this room that make it a hostess’s dream. As Missy confirms, “I like to have family, friends, and neighbors over as often as possible, so I knew having a nice, spacious kitchen would be important. That was definitely emphasized when we planned this home.”


 


Beside the spacious island is the dining nook. With a brilliant choice of table, the space is maximized. “We picked a smaller, oval table to maximize seating space but not interfere with the door to the back porch,” Missy explains. The antiqued wooden table is mixed with Louis-style linen chairs to accentuate the French country flair of the home. Lovely custom Roman blinds were designed to be a subtle backdrop for this room with a view. A geometric border on the creamy fabric allows only a soft glow when they’re drawn in the bright morning light. “It’s so nice to have that drapery,” Missy says, “because the morning light can be harsh, but I don’t want to completely block it out. Then it’s simple to pull it up and allow this awesome view to show the rest of the day.”

Across the living room, to the other side of the house is the master suite. As Missy’s favorite room in the house, it’s easy to see why she spends the most time in it. A beautiful color palette lends to a relaxing atmosphere, while a large window behind two plush swivel chairs provides a perfect place to perch. “I love these chairs. This is my favorite place to sit in the whole house. It just gets wonderful light, has the best view, and I love to sit here and relax, or have my morning coffee and read,” she shares. Awash with muted florals, soft wood tones, and natural textiles, the room feels tranquil and approachable. A striking French medallion pattern takes center stage in the drapes, chairs, and accent pillows, while the soft, earthy gray keeps everything feeling mellow. Special hand-carved night stands add a luxurious note to the room’s furnishings.

The adjoining master bathroom features a streamlined, bright layout. Dual sinks and plenty of cabinetry create a long vanity with brass sconces and hardware to add flair. The elegant free-standing soaking tub is centered beneath a lantern pendant light. Nearby the walk-in shower features beveled-edge arabesque tiles for a focal wall that adds visual interest out into the main part of the bathroom. “I just wanted a peaceful place to get ready, and this was it. It has everything I need!” Missy says.


 


The entire home incorporates feminine French country flair with light colors, relaxed ambiances, and a well-balanced array of patterns and textures. The home truly accomplishes its goal of approachable yet attractive. As Missy says, “This home is exactly what I wanted, and it will be a favorite place for me to spend time with my family and friends. There is nothing not to love about this house!”

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