FRESH & FUNTori Chappell’s love of fashion shines in her family’s home—and so does her practical side.
By Madoline Markham
Photos by Dawn Harrison
When it comes to her wardrobe, Tori Wiggins Chappell is all about bold colors and trendy pieces. After all, she not only grew up in the fashion world with her mom, Deborah, running The Clothes Tree by Deborah boutique off Rocky Ridge Road, but today Tori also works there too. “When people ask me what my wardrobe style is, it’s everything,” she says. “One day I like to be more comfy and cozy, and one day I want to dress up in my bright Alice and Trixie or Nicole Miller clothes.” But Tori’s approach to home décor takes a different angle. “I like neutrals a lot,” she says. “That way it’s airy and fresh, cozy and relaxing. Then I bring in color in my art and accessories.”
And that’s just what you’ll see in her home in Kirkman Preserve. She and her husband, Dan, had loved the neighborhood feel in their first home at Ross Bridge but wanted more space for their growing family and to be closer to family, the grocery store and work, so they landed on a lakeside lot in a new development off Caldwell Mill Road next to Spain Park High School. It also came with the same developer they had worked with before: Signature Homes. “It’s a great way to build a house because you can literally pick between several items—even hardwoods, several different bricks, two different doors, two different trims,” Tori says. “It was just so easy because I am indecisive.”
The Chappells’ biggest priority in a floor plan was finding one with an open kitchen-living room area so their kids could play while they cooked, so they found one that fit the bill and customized it from there. They also wanted a white brick exterior and decided on back trim and shutters, bringing the black window trim into the interior as well. Tori likens it to an Oreo in reverse—since that happens to be one of her 3-year-old son’s favorite things to eat.
There was never a question as to whose help Tori would enlist for her interiors. Interior designer Pandy Agnew had built a shop right next to Tori’s mom’s when Tori was young, and Pandy had worked on her mom and grandmother’s homes over the years. Today Pandy and her daughter, Sunni Glidewell, run their home décor business right across from where Tori and her mom work—a situation that Tori says can sometimes be dangerous but is mostly a lot of fun.
Pandy’s focus in design is always on a client’s people’s personality. “Tori has a fun, young, energetic personality,” Pandy says. “You see it in the house’s simplicity and its boldness. She’s not afraid of trying something new, but she wants to keep it simple and low maintenance. She’s got a good balance.”
Together they worked to bring Tori’s vision of cozy neutrals to life—starting with the same floor-to-ceiling white linen panel curtains in every room to make the ceilings feel higher. Signature Homes’ selection allowed them to choose a thick dark hardwood flooring, and they added some custom details as well like solid wooden gates reminiscent of barn doors at the bottom and top of her staircase. The Chappells love their green wooded lot and being able to jump in their canoe from their backyard, but you’ll also find them enjoying the pops of green that Tori brought inside too.
This space opens up into an expansive view of leaves out to the lake behind their house that showcases the change in season, so they brought in pops of greens in with paintings by Tori’s mom and throw pillows. Fittingly green is also Tori’s favorite color—and one she had picked for her front door in her Ross Bridge house. At the base of the paintings are tortoise-style pieces that remind Tori of her nickname, “Tortoise.” When it came to the neutral-colored couches, which have slipcovers that can be washed, she selected them with others in mind, too. “My husband all about comfort and practicality, and I want it to look good,” Tori says. “So we make it a happy medium.”
Tori originally wanted an all-white kitchen but instead opted to do something different—black cabinets with pops of white in her metal barstools and wooden circular light fixture, which was a wedding gift from her grandparents. She especially has loved the large island: “This area is where we live,” she says, going on to talk about feeding her kids there and putting out large cheese trays on it when they entertain.
Over and over again Tori had said she wanted a comfy banquette for the breakfast nook. She had a fun fabric in mind, but she also wanted it kid-proof. So before selecting this faux cow print, she wiped down a sample with tomato juice and other foods to make sure it would wipe off—and it passed the test. Geometric pattered pillows pull in the green from the living room, and behind the table, and an armoire is setup with a coffee station for when the Chappells have guests.
The signature piece this room is a massive painting by Tori’s mom Deborah that features “every color of the rainbow.” “It’s awesome,” Tori says. The art faces the windows at the front of the house and pops out as you walk up to the house as night. The room also features another one of Tori’s favorite elements—lucite—around her round dining table. She says the chairs are really comfortable too.
Tori wanted to do something different with her bedroom, so she drew inspiration from the soft white leather fabric of her Ilea wedding dress. That vision turned into a soft leather comforter and giant leather pillows. “I love leather, I am obsessed with leather jackets,” Tori says, noting that things that are spilled also wipe right off of it. At the Chappell’s previous house, they had windows on either side of their bed, so they created a similar look with mirror on either side in this space.
Tori likes to make sure her guests feel like they are in a hotel, with a mint on the pillow and little shampoo bottles in the bathroom. One with pops of pink features a trunk as side table, and the other a painting by her mom she had in college that was the basis for the greys in the room.
Tori’s 3-year-old Wyatt is named for her great-grandfather’s, so she framed his handkerchief and based the rest of the safari theme off of that—with Tori’s signature neutrals to boot. His favorite animals are on his sheets, and each morning and evening they feed his fish Pluto on the shelves across from his bed. The headboard was custom made by Nick Pugh, and the chair Is made by Bunakara, a mother-daughter team in India.
Tori’s favorite part of her house are her kids’ rooms. “They are comfy and cozy, and I spend a lot of time in there reading books, putting them to sleep and playing with them,” she says. Four square “Your Are My Sunshine” pieces her mom painted were the basis of the design, and Tori added other neutrals she finds calming but with variety of textures including a lucite crib. Tori and Dan didn’t find out the gender of either of their children until they were born, so she wanted to keep it gender neutral as well. The room is small, so Tori had built ins placed the closet off the bathroom for storage and a changing table.
Tori wanted this loft space to be just as much for adults as it is for kids. On one wall two green leather chairs create a sitting nook for her to drink coffee with a friend during play dates, while most of the room is filled with toys to entertain the little ones. A custom magnetic metal board is perfect for hanging her kids’ artwork above a custom bookshelf that organizes toys. The space also features a chalkboard wall Tori says her mother-in-law enjoys just as much as her son, and a daybed by an Indian company that coordinates with a chair in her son’s room.