Texas Real Estate Commission Consumer Protection Notice
Home » Blog » Interior Design » Openly Bold

Openly Bold

This article was written by Victoria Hittner and was featured in our August issue of Home By Design magazine. Photography by LifeCreated. To visit the original Home By Design article, click here.


One room quickly turned into three when designer Hanna McDougall began working with the homeowners of this Queen Creek, Arizona home. A recent renovation had refreshed their shared living spaces, but they needed help making the open layout feel cohesive and intentional. The clients saw a striking feature wall McDougall designed for a previous project and wanted something similar to enliven their great room.

“I think feature walls make such a big difference in a room,” says McDougall. “They give the eye somewhere to land. In our Arizona floor plans, just about every floor plan is pretty open concept. And I think that’s what we all like about our homes, but there’s definitely a need to be strategic about how to define certain spaces . . . and focal walls are one way to do that.”

Founder of Phoenix area–based Lace & Grace Interiors, McDougall enjoys joining a project directly after a remodel or new build. Focusing on cosmetic adjustments and custom touches allows her to work closely with a client on the details, crafting a space that feels uniquely them.

“[This client] requested a dark, bolder color,” explains the designer, who chose Dark Night by Sherwin-Williams for the feature wall. “It’s a very dark blue, but not in the sense that it goes toward a nautical or traditional look. It has enough teal in it that it kept it fun and modern.”

With a background in the furniture industry, McDougall understands the importance of placement, from texture to pattern to color. To keep the space cohesive, McDougall carried elements from the great room into the kitchen and adjoining room with the pool table.

“Usually when I’m using a color or metal, I try and repeat it three times. . . . And then you try to put those strategically in a triangle or a distance apart from each other so it doesn’t create too much weight on that side of the house,” says the designer.

McDougall added shiplap to the wraparound kitchen island, complementing the texture of the feature wall, and painted it the same rich hue. Brass elements can be found in many of the space’s light fixtures, from the Hudson Valley pendant lights in the kitchen to the dining room chandelier and existing installment over the pool table. Art featured on the great room’s floating shelves echoes the metallic finish.

With windows spanning the kitchen wall and a large, sliding-glass door leading to the backyard, natural light streams through the home. Earthy elements like the Crate & Barrel live-edge dining table and lowslung, abstract chairs invite the outside in, keeping the room grounded.

“The thing about these larger homes with the big, open rooms—[these] ceilings were at least eleven-feet high—is you still have to have substantial weight with furniture pieces. Otherwise, it will look like you put apartment furniture in a big home.”

Open layouts can feel spacious and airy, but not necessarily cozy. “A room just needs layers to look finished,” says McDougall. She introduced warmth through texture and layers, from the great-room rug to the throw blanket and even pillows on the accent chairs.

“It means a lot to people to be able to come home and really feel relaxed in their space,” notes McDougall. “And so ultimately, that’s always my goal.”

Repeated details helped craft a continuous narrative for the open-concept space. Whether it’s a bold feature wall or natural textiles, incorporating elements that make the house feel like home to her clients is a top priority for McDougall. It even inspired her business name.

Lace stands for the beautiful items that we want to add to their life and their home, and Grace is the manner in which I want to do it,” explains the designer. “It’s taking care of people’s feelings, as well as their homes.”

Hanna McDougall of Lace & Grace Interiors (x) shares a few tips for choosing and placing furniture in a spacious room.

First Impressions. “Think about where you would enter the room and keep that space open,” suggests McDougall. “Put the item that looks like it has more visual weight farthest from the entrance.” Start there when mapping out furniture placement.

Measurements Matter. To keep a space looking balanced, complementary pieces and accessories—like rugs or coffee tables—should be to scale with the rest of your furniture.

Mix Materials. Variety is key when it comes to textiles and texture. Maintaining a balance keeps the design feeling natural and fresh. “In the case [of this design],” she says, “there were two wood chairs that really grabbed your attention because of the fun design. So I did a cement coffee table so that I wasn’t warming the space up too much.”