Interiorssneak peeks

A Maximalist Home In South Carolina Layered With Color & Collections

by Erin Austen Abbott

A few years after I moved into my house, a heard a knock at the door and saw an older man standing outside. Curious, I opened the door and he introduced himself to my husband and me as someone who grew up in my home as a little boy and lived there until college. We are only the fourth owners, so this was a really special introduction. We welcomed him in and showed him around and realized that not a lot of changes had been made since the 1930s. Today’s home tour with Alyssa Jill Harris of the brand Willa Heart had a similar experience with her own home. “The family that built our home lived in it forever and about four months after we moved in, the daughter (who is now in her late 60s) popped by to drop off the original floor plan. She hadn’t been in since the renovation and walked me through the whole house, explaining what used to be and showing me photos. She really got a kick out of our bathroom because it was her childhood bedroom. She also gave me a poster that had hung in in the den, which is now our bedroom,” Alyssa shares.

Alyssa and her husband, Tim, moved into their Camden, SC home three years ago, after relocating from Boston. “We wanted something in the historic district of our town,” Alyssa begins. “Camden is this really adorable old southern town and it’s filled with beautiful, older homes. I wanted to find something unique with lots of character, but everything we were finding needed to be completely remodeled. We looked for about two months and as soon as our home came on the market, I knew it was it. It was the perfect mix of old meets new. I fell in love with the rounded front door and the brand new kitchen. It had been beautifully remodeled and reconfigured into an open-concept, but still cozy, home.”

With the home and layout to their liking, it was time to add in all the design touches that Alyssa had been dreaming of. “As soon as we moved in, I knew what I wanted to do with the front of the house. I had it all planned out in my mind. The den was done within months because that is where I spend lots of time. I love watching TV! I wanted the den to have [a] modern lodge vibe. There is a huge window and the ceiling is a really pretty dark wood. It used to be the garage. When I went to the carpet store, the [sales] guy thought I was [weird] for wanting to do antelope [print] and tried to talk me out of it. A year later when I went back for a leopard runner, he asked me if I wanted to see some new pink carpet. I really feel like he gets me,” Alyssa professes.

The couple share two different design aesthetics, so it was all about layering to meet one another in the middle. “He is drawn to modern; I am drawn to bright pink and anything animal print,” Alyssa says. “I tried to stick with modern furniture, relatively simple pieces with clean lines, and then I accessorized. I love how our two styles came together, it’s good balance. Without him, I might have gone overboard.”

Alyssa leaves us with this advice for creating your own maximalist look: “Have fun! Don’t be afraid to mix and match. Mixing styles is key to making your home unique!” —Erin

Photography by Alyssa Jill Harris

Image above: “I love this photo because you can see the inverse of coral and the muddy green. I used custom green velour curtains in the living room that match the walls in the dining room and then used the coral from the living room on the window treatments in the dining room. It makes the space flow perfectly even with a high contrast in color,” Alyssa notes. 

Alyssa Jill Harris on Design*Sponge

“That’s us! Dress is by Rhode Resort,” Alyssa says.

Alyssa Jill Harris on Design*Sponge

“We found the 70s geometric painting in a vintage store in Columbia, SC. It is hand painted and so precise. I love that it makes my Staffordshire dog collection a little less stuffy,” Alyssa explains.

Alyssa Jill Harris on Design*Sponge

“I can’t get enough of those dogs. I need more.”

Alyssa Jill Harris on Design*Sponge

A close-up of the vintage dog collection on the mantel.

Alyssa Jill Harris on Design*Sponge

“I am absolutely obsessed with my vintage hand appliquéd greyhounds! I found them at auction already framed and everything. Someone spent lots of time making them and I love that I get to show them off. I was looking for something large for that wall for a while and as soon as I saw them, I knew it was it,” Alyssa shares.

Alyssa Jill Harris on Design*Sponge

Another peek of the living room, with the fun animal print carpet runner up the stairs.

Alyssa Jill Harris on Design*Sponge

“I love having a mix of things on our coffee table. I am constantly changing it around.”

Alyssa Jill Harris on Design*Sponge

“Last year my friend and I road-tripped to an antique fair a few hours away and the only thing either of us got was that Napoleon Bust for $3,” Alyssa says. “I would do the drive again just to have him. He is perfect to me.”

Alyssa Jill Harris on Design*Sponge

“This is the den. It is my favorite room in the house and definitely the most used. I got the big painting over the couch at the Habitat For Humanity in my town. It was $5! The artist’s name is Joy and she had a bunch of other artwork in there that day, but this is the only one that came home.”

Alyssa Jill Harris on Design*Sponge

“The dining room! I like to call this the monkey room. The Monkey Chandelier is one of my favorite things ever. It  hand carved wood and so fun,” shared Alyssa.

Alyssa Jill Harris on Design*Sponge

“Roar! I am in love with this mini leopard, isn’t she ferocious? The little bud vase is actually for playing cards. I’m not much of a card shark, but I will put flowers in just about anything I can get my hands on,” Alyssa admits.

Alyssa Jill Harris on Design*Sponge

In a turn of events, Alyssa shares, “surprise, the kitchen isn’t wild! I am pretty classic when it comes to kitchens and bathrooms. Subway tiles and white cabinets do it for me.”

Alyssa Jill Harris on Design*Sponge

“I wanted to keep the kitchen pretty natural because of all the colors surrounding it. I might change my mind in a year but it’s working for me for now.”

Alyssa Jill Harris on Design*Sponge

“This is where the magic happens, the art studio! Those blue pillows are from my line, I am obsessed with them. I found most of the art at an estate sale a few years ago. There was an 8-foot cat statue that I will never forgive myself for leaving behind. It was pretty major. The striped green chairs are from Habitat For Humanity and the felt Elvis was hanging in my basement growing up. I love having lots to look at when I work,” Alyssa shares.

Alyssa Jill Harris on Design*Sponge

“This is another view of the studio. I keep lots of my pillows and products on the shelves in there. It is also the storage and shipping department. If you are reading this, the floor is probably covered in cardboard and used tape rolls.”

Alyssa Jill Harris on Design*Sponge

“There she is. That’s the house. Please excuse the grass, it was winter [when we took this photo]! I think she is super cute but one time my brother-in-law called the chimney aggressive. I like it, it’s unique! When we bought the house, the door and shutters were blue. Painting [the door] red and changing the shutters to black was the first project we did,” Alyssa says.

Alyssa Jill Harris on Design*Sponge

“I found the greyhounds at an antique market in Asheville, NC… They were plain cement when I got them but I knew they had to be painted cause the house is practically cement color. I am super happy I went with high gloss black. It pulls the porch together.”

Alyssa Jill Harris on Design*Sponge

“The patio is tiny and it took me forever to find a wicker furniture set that would fit. It was worth the hunt. I am not much of a gardener, but I went to Lowes a few months ago and loaded up on things I thought were pretty, put them in pots and here we are months later. It’s like a little tropical oasis. We have been going over every night for drinks and it’s heavenly,” Alyssa says.

Alyssa Jill Harris on Design*Sponge

Floor plan of Alyssa and Tim’s home.

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  • LOVE the pink and green combos, and such wonderful vintage finds! I think you should just go for it in the kitchen, far too simple for your taste, grey walls in homes are so sad.

  • So pretty! Love the Little Goodall tie-in. You’re uber-talented; didn’t realize you were in the same state as us. <3 – Brittny + Bean

  • I LOVE everything about your style! It’s ME to a tee! I also love the floor plan of your little house — especially putting that huge storage room upstairs. Reviewing all this just got me anxious to start up my decorating of my condo again!