At Home With: Colson Horton – why humour is at the heart of her interiors
The Soho House Nashville Founder member and creative director sits down with Soho Home to share the journey behind her extraordinary house renovation
Wednesday 22 June 2022 By Megan Murray
As a prop stylist, set designer and creative director, Colson Horton admits that when something catches her eye, she finds it difficult to leave behind. This explains why her home is a treasure trove; a beautiful amalgamation of different styles, eras and materials – starting with the building itself.
‘Our house, truthfully, is a little weird,’ says Horton of the one-storey, 1970s property. ‘It’s technically a ranch house because of its height, but it also has a French feel thanks to the Mansard-style roofline, while the sunken living room and parquet flooring are very of its time.’
Its unusual qualities, Horton says, encouraged her and her partner to use their imagination when playing with the layout, structure, and zoning of the house. First of all, the couple removed the central corridor to create an almost entirely open-plan space.
‘I wanted to optimise the natural light, but once everything was open plan, it was important to use colour to create zones,’ she explains. Indeed, looking at images of Horton’s home, every room is awarded its own personality, to the extent that it could belong to a different location altogether.
Take Horton’s rich, blue sitting room, for example. Period-style panelling, a colour-blocked ceiling and high-shine paint finish fuse with a playful mix of retro and antique furniture, while a hidden door reveals a small bathroom decorated with patterned wallpaper and an oil painting accessorised with a pair of googly eyes.
‘I love incorporating a sense of humour into my decor, and one way I do this is with googly eyes – ha!’ laughs Horton. ‘I stick them on pictures or paintings to surprise my guests.’
By contrast, the cream, sunken lounge uses varying neutral tones and tactile textures for a calming feel, and displays one of the scheme’s most personal touches: a hand-painted mural by Horton’s assistant, Khaki Stanford.
‘Khaki is incredibly talented and she painted a mural for my last home,’ says Horton. ‘So, when I thought about a piece of art on the wall that could travel upwards and become part of the ceiling, too, I knew she was the person to do it. Sometimes you hardly notice it; flowing lines and shapes in a pale beige, but it’s ethereal and transient in the way it moves.
‘I couldn’t believe that I stumbled across a light fitting in such a similar style by chance in Italy afterwards – it works so perfectly.’
Throughout her home, stories of great finds like this are frequent: a coffee table collected by her parents on a trip to Europe 45 years ago, passed down from Horton’s childhood home to her own, or an antique banquette found in a local store, now reupholstered in plush Rose Uniacke velvet.
‘My mother has always had an eye for antiques and that has inspired me as I’ve got older,’ explains Horton. ‘I consider myself a low-level hoarder and believe that if you love something and are really drawn to it, you will make a place for it.
‘An experience I had just after we got married also affected the way I buy for my home – unfortunately, there was a house fire and very few things survived. We had to start over, and now I only purchase things that are really special and unique.’
But, while many pieces are generational or have been collected on her travels, Horton can vouch for the brilliant antiques stores in Nashville.
‘I grew up in Atlanta, but Nashville is where I went to college and I felt a real connection to the city. After that, I spent time working in New York and honing my craft as a creative. It felt right to come back here to start the next chapter of life,’ she shares.
Horton has been living in Nashville on and off for 10 years, and says that its spirit aligns with her design principles. ‘This city is creative, but it’s less cut-throat than places like New York – it’s about coming together, creating something, appreciating it for what it is, and making a home for it. That’s the Nashville way and how I love to design my home.’
Find out more at sohohome.com.