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Brooke Cariker Inabnett's Enlightened Manor

While some girls daydream of their weddings or fantasize about first dates and prom dresses, a young Brooke Cariker Inabnett would pore over the floor plans printed in her mother’s Southern Living magazines, pondering color schemes, furniture placement and decorative accessories. So it was no surprise to anyone in Inabnett’s hometown of Tulsa that she’d grow into a stylish mother-of-two with a thriving career in interior design.
 
The north Preston Hollow home she shares with her attorney-husband, John, and their young daughters showcases the talents of the designer who moved to Dallas after graduating from the University of Oklahoma and worked for more than a decade in the fashion and jewelry industries before launching her firm, The Interior Stylist, three years ago.
 
“With this house, it wasn’t love at first sight,” Inabnett admits. “But we did like that it was all on one floor and knew we could make it better over time.”
 
Among the initial renovations the Inabnetts embarked upon were raising the floor in the sunken sunroom, replacing the windows on the whole back of the house and increasing the height of the family room’s French doors to welcome in more natural light. The designer also redid the home’s palette, ditching dated shades of gold, burgundy and coral in favor of chic neutrals like bright whites and a range of grays. 
 
According to Inabnett, “The gray in my office — Benjamin Moore’s Rocky Coast — was a slightly obscure color but definitely worked the best of anything we tried.” She turned the formal living room into her workspace, adding a pocket door (John’s inspiration) plus a wall of built-in shelves, painted the same shade of moody gray as the walls.
 
“I wanted the office to be dark and bold, knowing the rest of the house would be lighter and brighter,” says Inabnett, who furnished the space with an 84-inch sofa along with a Design Within Reach dining table that serves as her desk and a hand-me-down chest from her mother tasked with storing paper and other supplies.
 
And the room’s not just Mommy’s territory. “Blaire, 4, and Sloane, 3 (in May), come in during the evenings, and we have dance parties,” Inabnett says. “When the girls go down for the night, my husband and I hang out a lot here. The room doesn’t have a TV so it’s a great place for conversation.”
 
The family of four also tends to congregate in the family room off the kitchen. Inabnett designed custom built-ins along one wall, which hide a big TV in addition to the girls’ dolls, blocks and other toys. The white cabinetry pops against the light gray walls, painted in a durable eggshell finish. A pair of sofas covered in stain-resistant fabric make the space ideal for entertaining guests of all ages.
 
When it came to the bedrooms for her girls, Inabnett eschewed characters or themes in favor of timeless design. “Art is important to me so I used an abstract painting as a jumping off point to create spaces the kids could grow with,” she explains. “The painting now above Sloane’s toddler bed was originally over the crib in Blaire’s room. That’s one of the great things about art. You can move it to a new location and it feels fresh and different.”
 
Original artwork enjoys pride of place in the master bedroom as well. “A painting done by my husband’s aunt hangs over our bed,” says Inabnett, who favors crisp, white linens for bedding. Topping the bedside chests are a pair of large, bright yellow lamps — Inabnett’s favorite statement piece for almost any vignette.
 
“If I could have a storage closet full of lamps and change them out every so often in my house, I’d love it,” she says. “Lighting can totally make a room.”
 
Case in point: The glamorous, sculptural pendant above the kitchen table was a treasure the Inabnetts brought back from Hawaii following their 2010 honeymoon.
 
Her abiding love for lighting fixtures and decorative accessories has helped fuel a Pinterest habit she’s not likely to abandon anytime soon. For her, time spent on social media actually pays as several of Inabnett’s clients have found her through her Pinterest boards and her Instagram account.
 
“Many of the people I work with just need a little help with certain rooms,” Inabnett explains. “I always tell them your home should really be a reflection of who you are. And I love helping people get there.”