Fancy Fauna

Floral and animal accents add a touch of whimsy to this elegant home
ANIMALIA // The designer’s penchant for animals is evident throughout the home. In the living room, two large brass stags grace the mantel. In the living room, two large brass stags grace the mantel. // Photo by Jeff Garland

When interior designer Annie Kordas first set eyes on the 1930s Colonial she was about to update, she knew the living room would be a challenge. Kordas, of 9-year-old Annie Kordas Interiors in Grosse Pointe Farms, says her client was confused and overwhelmed by the space. “My client has a great eye for design, but that living room has three arched French doors, (and) it’s long — so long — and wide. I suggested putting two sofas in the voluminous space, back-to-back, with different seating areas,” Kordas says. To punctuate the two areas, two identical chandeliers from Visual Comfort create symmetry and ambient lighting.

After solving the layout puzzle, the rest of Kordas’ commission at the Grosse Pointe Park home was downright fun. Pops of whimsy flow from the main space to the foyer, side entrance, and stairway landing.

Known for pulling together a head-turning mix of materials, patterns, and touches of the unexpected, Kordas started with a thoughtful palette (in this case, lots of creams, tans, and a few light blues). The resourceful designer almost always brings in updated antiques (like the foyer’s reupholstered 1940s chairs, once featuring a gaudy orange and now clothed in a Schumacher plaid) and metal accents that she strategically places here and there.

PLAYFUL POLISH // A framed portion of wallpaper, which features a pattern from a Hunt Slonem rabbit painting, brings a sweet charm to the home’s side entrance.

Another trademark is her penchant for animals. For this project, she found two large brass stags for the mantel (“I found one on Etsy and one on eBay,” Kordas says). Nearby, tiny antelopes grace accent pillows that feature a sweet Schumacher pattern.

Heading up the stairs, a window seat on the landing, which was formerly plain, now is welcoming with sconces, a custom seat cushion, and pillows — including one with a cute little deer. “I always tell clients if they don’t like what I’ve installed, I’ll take it all out and begin again,” Kordas says. “The only thing I showed her before the install was the window seat fabric, which has a hint of abstract to it and complements the grass cloth wallpaper.”

At the side entrance of the home, a framed piece of wallpaper — the pattern is from a renowned Hunt Slonem rabbit painting — cheers the space. “Who can afford a Slonem original?” Kordas asks. She ordered the wallpaper, selected a gorgeous frame and museum glass from a favorite framing shop — The Great Frame Up in Grosse Pointe Woods — and, voila, clever art!

“I just love the mix — plaid seats, feminine florals, whimsical animals. It’s a clever blend that doesn’t overwhelm the eye or the palette,” Kordas says.

More Information: Annie Kordas on Instagram

Text by Megan Swoyer | Photography by Jeff Garland