Long living room dining room layout

The kitchen’s pièce de résistance is the brass-and-black La Cornue stove. Gen’s love for the stove is purely aesthetic: “It mixes all the metals I wanted to bring in—brass, stainless steel, chrome—so I think of it as integral to the house’s whole design. Looking at it gives me pure joy.” Ben, as the family’s chef, was hooked once he saw how well the stove performs.

Breakfast happens early, then the couple does the school run: Ben drops off Lucy, and Gen drops off Oden. One of the perks of running their own company is getting to design their workday around the school schedule—the Pencil and Paper offices are running full tilt at 7 am, and the workday finishes at 3 pm. “I worked in corporate America for a billion years, and I missed out on too much time at home, ” Gen says. “Now there’s nothing I love more than dropping my son off at school and picking him up.”

Gen had lusted after this La Cornue stove forever—she compares it to that piece of jewelry that jazzes up Levi’s and a white T.

Our life here is so focused around family and friends and entertaining and cooking. Southern hospitality is real.

— Gen Sohr

A desk does double-duty as a nightstand. Gen used one of her vintage fabrics—sourced from a secret supply in San Francisco—on the chair’s seat.

Gen loves to play with patterns and layers, drawing from her collection of vintage fabrics to add more graphic power. “For a client, we’ll put a whole board together, but decorating for myself, I’m very organic, always tweaking, always moving around pillows.”Mastering Shared Space

Rather than defaulting to the largest bedroom upstairs, Ben and Gen built a master suite onto the ground level. They savor the quiet that comes over the downstairs floor at night— “when no one’s running around us.” During the day, it serves as a nearby retreat—Gen might hop on the computer or read a magazine there. And in what might be the key to how the couple works so well together, this really is a suite. “After living in a number of houses together, Ben and I have learned that we stay sane when we have our own bathrooms and closets, ” says Gen.

The bedroom mashes up the couple’s two styles (yes, they do differ). “My husband’s aesthetic is much more spare and modern. He could live in a white box with three beautiful pieces of modern furniture and be so happy. And I’m a collector. I have so much stuff. So we figured out the hybrid of our aesthetics. One of his requests for this house was a very calm, grown-up bedroom.”

Gen keeps personal mementos close at hand on her desk.

“We don’t need a huge bedroom space, ” Gen says. “The bed area is intimate, and we gave the bulk of the space to closets and bathrooms, ” including this one.

Rather than tucked into a dark hall, Gen’s closet gets full sunlight.

Gen embraces her love of collecting and pattern-on-pattern within her closet.

After living in a number of houses together, Ben and I have learned that we stay sane when we have our own bathrooms and closets.

— Gen Sohr

In Lucy’s bedroom, a glossy navy lampshade stands out as the one deep tone in an otherwise airy palette—a typically fun Pencil and Paper touch.

Making Kids’ Rooms Go Pop

For their kids’ bedrooms, there was another type of collaboration. These rooms evolve as the kids grow, and Gen says they love the little updates that come with moving into a new space. In Lucy’s room, the foundation is a white bed that Gen bought at an estate sale years ago. Lucy got new bedding for this bedroom—they made the primary-color palette more sophisticated by choosing a soft-yellow duvet and mixing some pink among the red accents.

Their son, Oden, is “super-opinionated about his style. And he needs space for his sneaker collection.” A red-and-white cabinet, which has landed in every one of their homes, became the perfect storage piece for Oden. As Gen says, “It’s about finding furniture that is kid-friendly but not actually ‘kid furniture.’”

Oden’s room embraces one of the couple’s core beliefs about children’s rooms: less furniture, more floor space for playing with Legos.

One red garden stool creates the major pop moment in the kids’ bathroom.

For the family, buying art is part of memory-keeping. “The LACMA poster represents a wonderful day we all spent at the museum. Plus we love Alexander Calder’s work!”

Picked up at the Lincoln Road flea market on Miami Beach, this pair of black-and-white paintings has featured prominently in every one of the couple’s homes. Gen tends bar in chic white. While the rest of Tennessee might like whiskey, the Sohrs start evenings with prosecco topped with St. Germain, to make it “sweeter and fresher.” While they couldn’t save the home’s original brass hardware, it inspired the new kitchen’s hardware. As for the ceiling fixtures, they went big. “With lighting, nothing is more important than scale. Tiny pendants over a kitchen island kill me, ” says Gen. The breakfast table sits on one end of the kitchen, where French doors open out to an English garden.

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