A Warm, Homely And Colourful Family Home in Tulsa

Interior designer Mel Bean transformed an inherited property into a modern, colourful and homely place to raise a young family.


This inviting family home in Tulsa, Oklahoma, honours its historic architecture. The owners, childhood sweethearts Emily and Noah, wanted to update it to a modern home invited interior designer Mel Bean to help them reimagine and redesign the property (it was Noah's childhood home and needed updating), transforming it into a colourful and homely place to raise their growing family. The couple started the design process with two children, and has since had two more, so it was imperative that the design incorporated lots of storage and some playful kids spaces – as well as grown-up entertaining spaces.

The owners wanted an inviting atmosphere without formality, somewhere their kids can live and be kids. The couple lead a busy life not only as a family, but in their professional lives as well, so they wanted this property to feel like a haven to unwind at the end of the day. Child-friendly, but elegant too. The couple had several pieces of art that helped guide the initial concept. Mel Bean brought in a needed boot room, lots of colour and fun, playful touches.

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Each room in the home is unique but there is a continuous 'vibe' throughout. Each space is refined but approachable, with lots of personality.

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The boot room was created in a space that was formerly a back porch with a door leading directly into the kitchen.

By capturing this space, they now have a highly functional area for coats, shoes and bags that is also beautiful.

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Shiplap walls and bespoke wood furniture give this space a relaxed, country feel.

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The living room was also designed from scratch, and the majority of the furnishings are new, as well as materials and lighting.

Mel Bean told us she felt fortunate to work with such gorgeous doors and their original hardware.

Instead of being centred around a TV, the formal living room faces towards the original fireplace, with an artwork hanging above.

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Aside from being the formal living room it's also a through room, with doors leading off into other spaces. This ensures the room is used and appreciated every day.


A television cabinet was removed next to the fireplace in the family room and windows added, along with window seats, to maximise natural light and allow for a more functional furniture layout.

The corner sofa adds to the cosy, more informal feel. The halo chandelier gives this room a fresh, modern look.

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Although each room has it's own colour palette and personality, there's a sense of continuity too, for example through the use of brass lighting, dark skirting and door frames, and colourful artworks.

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In the kitchen, Mel Bean worked with the existing cabinets but sourced new countertops, backsplash, plumbing fixtures, cabinet hardware, and lighting for a dramatic update.

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Here there's also a clever built-in home bar area, that blends in with the rest of the white kitchen cabinetry.

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A hand drawn wallpaper design creates a playful and free-spirited atmosphere in the cloakroom.

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An oversized but low bed creates dramatic impact in the master bedroom. A bobble rug gives this space lots of texture, and is inviting under bare feet.

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The owners knew they wanted the home to have personal touches, so family photos feature prominently, particularly in the master bedroom where a black & white gallery wall is framed in brass frames.

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Balls piled in the fireplace are a fun touch by Mel Bean.


A black lacquered door leads through to a powder bathroom / loo. Wallpaper adds drama and grown-up glamour.

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A Pierre Frey wallpaper envelopes the guest bedroom in a soothing blue watercolour mountain scene.

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Stairs lead up to a loft playroom space.

Gloss white walls bounce light around, making this attic feel clean, bright and inviting.

The swing seat makes this room a favourite spot to hang out and play in.

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Blue walls tone down the all-pink furnishings in the girls room, and stop it feeling too girly.

The furniture is fun and colourful, while also feeling quite grown up for a little girl's room.

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The boys share a bedroom which has more of a mountain feel, owed to the framed illustrations and dark brown cot.

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A bear cushion on the boy's bed ties this corner in with the rest of the scheme.

Photography: Laurey Glenn

Lotte Brouwer

Lotte is the Digital Editor for Livingetc, and has been with the website since its launch. She has a background in online journalism and writing for SEO, with previous editor roles at Good Living, Good Housekeeping, Country & Townhouse, and BBC Good Food among others, as well as her own successful interiors blog. When she's not busy writing or tracking analytics, she's doing up houses, two of which have features in interior design magazines. She's just finished doing up her house in Wimbledon, and is eyeing up Bath for her next project.