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kids Archives - Kimberley Seldon's Dabble

Make the World Better with a Sweater


‘Tis the season for doing good – and having fun.

Let’s make the world better with a sweater! It’s easy: wear your most festive holiday sweater, donate $5 to Save the Children and bring awareness to a great cause. National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day is December 12th. The more people we reach, the more impact we can make on children’s lives.

To donate, visit National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day 

Follow Dabble on Instagram, we’re wearing our ugly sweaters on December 18th, don’t miss it!

Spring Forward

  • Panelled walls and cofferred ceiling, were designed and installed to satisfy the clients’ craving for architecture more commonplace in stately east coast homes. The sunburst mirror is a “placeholder” to enjoy until a large scale piece of artwork is purchased.
  • Art: Oil painting by artist Michelle Armas provides a counterbalance to the geometric prints on the furniture and pillows.
  • Kitchen: The all-white kitchen gets its drama from dark stained 5” wide rift cut white oak floors, with a Rubio Monocoat oil finish. The table and Navy chairs are Restoration Hardware.
  • Dining Room: White panelled wainscotting is handsomely paired with a Phillip Jeffries grass cloth (Manila Hemp Graphite 3444). The head chairs, backed in raspberry, create a flow of colour from room to room.
  • Children's Bedroom: Fiorella likes to take her colour cues from the clients—pink and green are obviously a favourite combination for the girls (age 4 and 6) in residence.
  • Family Room: “We rotated the kitchen and removed walls so all the rooms face the back yard and pool area.”

When clients moved from Connecticut to sunny Menlo Park, it didn’t take them long to shed those extra layers required for warmth back home and embrace their new lighter California lifestyle.

The designer created a blend of east coast-west coast that would respect her client’s love for architecture with a pedigree and inject a more playful west coast palette.

The result? Springtime, year round.

Photography by Frank Paul Perez

Family Moments

  • In the Lakemont area of Bellevue, just a short distance from Seattle, Sophie and David Vander share a 4,200 square foot home with their children Imogen, Saskia, Estelle and Anaïs.
  • The fruitwood harvest table in the kitchen is one of Sophie and David’s first purchases together. “Although it isn’t a terribly expensive table, we love how it has aged over the 14 years we’ve been a couple.”
  • There's plenty of room to chat around the 5' x 5' kitchen island.
  • The handsome coffered ceiling adds the visual weight required to balance the home’s existing dark oak floors.
  • “Everything in our house has a story.” ~ Sophie
  • The wall colour throughout the formal living area is Benjamin Moore Elephant Gray 2109-50.
  • “I definitely love a little girl’s room that feels old-world but is still bright and happy,” says Sophie.
  • For Estelle and Anaïs’s room the designing mom combined coral bed throws with vintage pieces with new finds. Though the Vanders attempt to keep toys to a minimum, there are books aplenty.
  • In the en suite, Sophie searched high and low for the right mirrors for above the sinks. “I knew what I wanted but couldn’t find it at any of the highend places,” she says. “I eventually found them at Lowes Hardware, would you believe?”
  • The Moravian star pendant above the Victoria and Albert York tub is from Antique Lighting in Seattle.
  • “The scent of camphor that has seeped into the wood takes me back to my childhood.”

The house is nestled on Cougar Mountain and, despite reports of infrequent visits with cougars, Sophie was hooked on the place the moment she looked out the big bay window in the kitchen to the garden. She realized then, she was home.

“The formal living room is mama’s refuge,” exclaims the busy mother of four. “When I need a ’moment’ this is where I come.”

It’s a peaceful room, where David and I can talk—we tend to have serious conversations in this room for some reason. Although Sophie says she feels very grown up when she sits in this room, it’s not stuffy or overly done— it has flaws and quirks like all rooms should.

Generous windows flank the fireplace, flooding the room with sunlight. Above the mantle is a painting of pink flamingos by AJ Power which Sophie found strangely intriguing.

“I was grabbing a coffee in a café that showcased the work of local artists,” says Sophie. “It ended up being an expensive cup of coffee!”

In the hallway, one of the couple’s collection of black-and-white etchings by Jodie Coleman blends peacefully with the mix of antique and modern furnishings—some pricey and some secret cheapies.

Floor space is important in this household. There has to be room for an impromptu danceathon in every room in the house.

The girls’ beds are Hillsboro by Wesley Allen from Carolina Rustica and the bedding is part of the Sari Blooms collection by Amy Butler for Welspun. A Surya ‘Goa 85’ round wool rug provides a soft place for the girls to play. The bird lamp, curtains and tie-backs are from Urban Outfitters.

Since four girls tend to clutter every other corner of the house, Sophie wanted her bedroom to be simple. “I can only sleep on white sheets so the bed is fuss-free.” The bedside tables belonged to her grandparents. On David’s side, you can still see scratches from where her grandfather threw his watch and keys every night. When Sophie opens the cabinet doors the scent of camphor that has seeped into the wood takes her back to her childhood. The bedside lamps were from Sydney Antique Centre and the chaise and headboard are from Urban Outfitters.

More Simple Pleasures


Friends come in all sizes.

more simple pleasures1

We thoroughly enjoyed our day in Nashville with Culley Ingram and her two lovely daughters, Blythe and Nola. While there, Blythe was keen to show us her ‘magic’ play room on the third floor. En route to play central, we spotted the family art gallery (above). Mom created a colourfully executed display space on the back staircase.

more simple pleasures2

At the top of the stairs, a sun filled space opened up and the white walls had lovely hand painted tree branches with birdies on perches.

more simple pleasures3

One full wall was taken over by a selection of costumes, while the other had everything a little girl might need to host tea time for her dolls. Blythe was a lovely tour guide and she was right, her play room is magical.

Simple Pleasures

  • Surrounded by pristine white and warm woods, Culley Ingram strikes a contemplative pose in her restful Nashville living room.
  • This chair was found at Antiques at the Factory and the busy mother of two fell in love with the artisanship behind its elegant shape. The oil painting is by Danielle Rahe Fox, an artist from the Ingrams’ hometown of Santa Cruz, California. Family, as displayed in the homegrown gallery rising above the main floor staircase, is a priority for Culley and her husband, songwriter and music producer Jason Ingram. Daughters Blythe and Nola are much in evidence throughout the home.
  • Culley finishes icing red velvet cupcakes.
  • Simply furnished, the master bedroom gives way to a large deck, ideal for family barbecues and summer sunning. Culley painted existing grass cloth covered walls a crisp white, preferring the subtle texture to flat drywall.
  • Jason’s home office, just steps from the family kitchen, is an actual recording studio.
  • A collection of guitars and a mandolin, gifted by a dear friend, strike a pleasing chord on display.
  • The graphic black and white canvas is a portrait of Culley by artist friend M. A. Wood.

With sunshine pouring through the windows, reflecting onto cushy white upholstery and pristine walls, there’s nary a trace of the formerly dark rooms the Ingram family moved into several years ago. Craving a backdrop for living rather than a “show house”, Culley, a self-taught design enthusiast, set about creating a peaceful sanctuary for her family of four.

Culley humbly chalks her design abilities up to genetics, slowing as she speaks of beloved grandparents:

“They were world travellers who had an ability to appreciate an object’s inherent beauty. My grandmother taught me to look for potential in objects both humble and grand, while my grandfather taught me to enjoy the hunt and respect the process of creating a home.”

Undaunted by raw possibilities, Culley sees blank spaces on walls and in rooms as “opportunities.”


Culley’s Fave Design Stores

Epiphany – contemporary and antique furniture and accessories

Dealer’s Choice – where Culley bought her living room chandelier

Iron Gate – new and vintage offerings

Words by Kimberley Seldon; Photography by Simon Burn