The showpiece of the Hoods' kitchen is the oversized 6-by-8 center island, surrounded by acrylic chairs and adjacent to a sitting/reading nook.

Livable Beauty

Local artist transforms her Bridgehampton home

By Dawn Liles   |   Photos by Ray Sepesy

The color pink is having a moment. Or maybe an era. It seems to be popping up everywhere, from runways and red carpets to kitchens. Ballantyne resident Audrey Alexander Hood, an interior designer and artist, embraces the color in her home, touting its versatility and its variety of shades that can add softness or edginess to a room.

Hood and her husband, Chris, are former Cotswold residents who found they’d get more for their money moving a few miles down the road. Chris’ aunt and uncle had recently put their 20-year-old Bridgehampton home on the market, and Audrey saw an opportunity to make the space their own.

Hood converted a closet off the master bath into her office, where she enjoys art and inspirational quotes - and added a pop of pink of course.

“I have a very clear vision of what I like, and no house checks off all the boxes for me,” says the owner of Audrey Hood Art and Interiors and the co-founder of a new charity that supports local moms, QC Gives. “But by buying a house in Ballantyne, we had the budget to transform this house to suit our family.”

Hood’s signature pink is used in shades from fuchsia to blush in small accents throughout their house. Chris, a partner at a law firm, is supportive. “He never knows what changes he might come home to every day, but he trusts my instincts,” Hood says.

The Hoods’ home is filled with one-of-a-kind artwork and family heirlooms. The couple collects and displays art from local artists, including Audrey’s former teacher, Andy Braitman, whose work in on display in the Smithsonian. “He encouraged my style and pushed me out of my comfort zone,” she says. “He unlocked the door to allow me to completely become myself and create the art that is uniquely mine.”

Despite her fun and colorful aesthetic, Hood insists that design must be livable, practical and accessible.

The centerpiece of the living room is a coffee table by designer Theodore Alexander.

Decor with Character

Every room has at least one piece from her father’s home. A chest in the entryway once sat beneath an aquarium and now has a marble top. The chest has salt stains from its earlier days — which Hood feels gives it character. Another small wooden accent cabinet was once used as a humidor.

In the dining room, Hood added a new statement chandelier and wallpaper. An unusual feature is the wallpaper trim piece Hood added to the tray ceiling. The walnut dining room table is the first table ever made by Monroe designer John Mark Smith. Hood embraces its imperfections and balances its dark wood with acrylic chairs from Amazon that she bought for $150 a pair.

Hood achieved the bright and airy kitchen the family desired by painting the existing cherry cabinets with her favorite shade of white, Sherwin Williams Snowbound. A beveled white subway tile backsplash, stainless steel appliances and chrome cabinet hardware by Top Knobs Chareau provide both glamour and a serene backdrop for Hood’s pale pink coffee maker and mixer.

(BEFORE) Hood set up a home studio in this former bonus room.
(AFTER) The home studio continues themes from the rest of the house with its Lucite chairs and pops of pink.
A wooden barndoor gate designed by Nick and Tracy Shearer is a whimsical safety feature at the studio entrance.

The showpiece of her kitchen is the oversized 6-by-8-foot center island, made of granite with bold gray veining and surrounded by acrylic chairs. “My contractor thought we were crazy to have such a big island,” Hood says. “But we love it, and we no longer need a kitchen table.”

Hood redesigned the space formerly occupied by the kitchen table as a cozy nook with overstuffed chairs and a Turkish rug. It’s one of several Turkish and Persian rugs scattered through her home and purchased through local rug importer Katie Enright.

“The area in the kitchen was adapted over time,” she says. “When our girls were babies, we used that area for highchairs. Then we moved on to a regular eat-in kitchen table. Now it is a sitting/reading nook, and it may eventually become a pass-through to our backyard with French doors.”

It's a tossup on who enjoys creating art more in the home studio, Hood or her daughters.

The centerpiece of the family room is a coffee table by designer Theodore Alexander. It has a slight imperfection, so Hood got it for a steal. Built-in bookshelves are filled with several paintings by Charlotte artist Adele Yonchak. A standout piece and favorite family heirloom is an antique gold bowl made by New Orleans artist Michael Clement.

Upstairs, Hood, a former high school teacher, set up a studio in what had been a bonus room, to create art with students and her two young daughters. She added a whimsical safety feature: two wooden barndoor gates designed by Nick and Tracy Shearer of The Wooden Fox.

Turkish Rugs for Bathmats

The couple added a freestanding tub and replaced the builder-grade 12-by-12-inch porcelain tiles with black and white mosaic marble accent tiles by the tub and shower, and white textured porcelain tiles on the walls.

Turkish rugs serve as bathmats when stepping out of the tub and shower. “Turkish rugs are meant to look weathered and they can handle high traffic, so they can definitely handle a little water,” Hood says. One of her favorite features in the master bath is a skylight, which allows for perfect viewing of the moon on auspicious nights.

Off the master bath is a converted closet that now serves as Hood’s office. The cozy room is full of colorful art created by her former students and cards with inspirational quotes. It’s a private space for this busy mom to create designs for clients, do pro bono work for the community and practice daily yoga, a new passion.

Hood is inspired by her friends in fashion and the arts who know what they like and “aren’t afraid to own it.” Despite her fun and colorful aesthetic, she insists that design must be livable, practical and accessible. “My house is not a showhouse,” Hood says. “We have two little girls and like our home to be beautiful, but also unpretentious and authentic.”

The Hoods discovered a leak in the master bath right after moving in, so they sped up their timetable on renovating the space.