A University Park Family Invites Us Inside Their Polished Yet Welcoming Home

Karen and Steven Boulware weren’t looking for a new home. But as last year’s quarantine forced us to spend (too) much quality time in our spaces, many of us scrutinized our living conditions—the Boulware family included. “I got claustrophobic during the pandemic,” Karen laughs. The family would go for after-dinner walks in their University Park neighborhood, and they strolled by a home one day with a for sale sign out front. “We fell in love with it,” she says.

Karen was drawn to the home’s floor-to-ceiling windows, open floorplan, and indoor/outdoor transitional spaces—perks that their former home didn’t have. Plus, the pond and park across the street provided a beautiful view. “I wanted a lot of natural light and a view, and this is what sold it for me,” she says.

The home’s floorplan and finishes were perfect, but Karen wanted to start fresh with the interiors. They moved in with only a kitchen table, some beds, and a couch. She spent the next seven months working with Ginger Curtis and her team at Urbanology Designs to transform the space into a stylish home that serves as a comfortable spot for welcoming friends and family. “I wanted the house to be very casual,” Karen explains. “We like to have friends over, and if my friend spilled some wine on the carpet, or if my kid gets paint on the floor, it’s whatever.”

One of Karen’s favorite pieces in the house are the leather and wood “Una” dining chairs from Estudio Persona. “I love sculptural things, as Ginger does,” says Karen. “These chairs I’m obsessed with. They are a piece of art.”

Cody Ulrich

Lighting from Workstead hangs over the study’s sitting area, which features a super structural “Nido” sofa from Estudio Persona. Karen is still in the process of styling the tables and bookshelves. “I like to collect things that we find on trips or things to add character,” she says. The walls are painted in Sherwin-Williams “Rookwood Shutter Green.”

Cody Ulrich

When it was time to start making design choices, Karen wasn’t afraid to take a few risks—like the super structural “Una” wood-and-leather chairs in the dining room and the egg-shaped “Nido” sofa in the study, both from Estudio Persona. “We all squealed,” says Ginger about the dining room chairs. “They are a little out there and super unique. We were so excited that she was willing to do something a little more forward.”

And for all of the high-design moments, the home is at its best when the family is relaxing together. Take the master: Karen’s only must-have for the entire house was a 100-square-foot bed (with a 17-foot headboard), which serves as the family’s favorite spot to cuddle up for movie night. “I saw that Kourtney Kardashian had one on Instagram, and she had all of her kids piled in, and I was like, I want that,” she says. In the living room, Ginger and Karen chose lounge chairs from Gubi that sit close to the ground so that the kids can easily climb on and off. “I love those chubby little chairs. They are so comfortable, and I love that they are sophisticated for an adult but fun for a kid,” says Ginger. The couch is a custom piece with stylish curved lines, but it’s covered in a durable Kasmir fabric. “It’s beautiful from a creative standpoint, but also meant to stand up,” says Ginger. “We took that approach in all of the spaces.”

Karen’s boys love to be creative, so she worked with Ginger to create a custom treehouse-style art desk. The chairs were reclaimed from a school, and the window seat—where the boys like to relax—is custom.

Cody Ulrich

And the result is anything but stuffy or claustrophobic—every room in the 7,500-square-foot house is open, airy, and lived-in, from the formal dining room to the kids’ rooms. “I wanted the house to reflect our personality,” says Karen. “And I think Ginger did just that.”

Good Intentions