An Artful Abode

Premier Living

By Christina Davenport

Photography by Daniel Neuhoff/Creative Revolver

Colleen and Zilo Combs loved their house on Signal Mountain, but when their youngest daughter left home they began looking for a new start of their own. “When our kids moved out of the house, it was just a little too big for us,” says Colleen. “We loved the area and knew we wanted to stay close, but we also wanted to build something that really reflected us and how we live every day.”

After finding the perfect lot, the duo got to work building a home that reflected the next chapter of their lives. The end result is a charming craftsman home that celebrates their love for art and marries beauty and function in all the right ways. “I’ve never been one to have a lot of trinkets. Things that don’t have a function just don’t have a place in our lives,” explains Colleen. “Everything we have in our house has a purpose.”

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After entering the Combs home, visitors step into a long hallway with an open dining room to the left.

“Our dining room is a great example of how we planned for functionality. We’ve had this table for about 15 years; and in our last home, once you added the leaves, it was a little crowded,” says Colleen. “We wanted to make sure that our dining table could comfortably fit in the room when it was fully extended.”

Now the Combs can host large gatherings of friends or family while ensuring that everyone is comfortable and at ease. Live botanicals dot the space and contribute to the relaxed atmosphere, while floral patterns in the chairs and area rug double down on the motif.

More traditional elements like a wooden sideboard and custom millwork are paired with contemporary selections such as a water-glass chandelier for an artful approach. Half of the room is painted a mossy green, while bright white trim, wainscoting, and ceiling paint offer a high-contrast duality. Between the white paint, accent lighting, bay of windows, and recessed lighting, this room is flooded with light that can be altered to fit the occasion.


Guests can pass through a small bar area to gain access to the kitchen where the high-contrast aesthetic continues. Large format, white subway tiles run vertically for a fun change of pace while double-stacked shaker cabinetry repeats the color. Interwoven are black glass-front cabinet doors, pendant lights, island cabinetry, and a range hood. Together, the finishes and selections create a monochromatic color scheme that is playful and bold.

Black hardware and plumbing fixtures run throughout the space, and four studded leather barstools are tucked under the island’s overhang. Rounding out the room is a set of wooden beams that stretch into the living room and quartz countertops, which are a durable choice.

“In addition to having everything be functional, we also want the things in our home to be durable and low maintenance,” adds Colleen. “If it’s hard to take care of, it’s not coming in my house.”

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“We really like art, and we knew we wanted to have our favorite pieces up on the walls, but we didn’t necessarily plan where we wanted everything to go. We wanted a space for a gallery wall, and we did plan for that right as you walk in, but everything else was decided later. One of my favorite pieces is this painting above the mantel. Most people notice different things when they look at it, and we try to make a point to ask everyone new that comes into our house what they see in it.” – Zilo Combs

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Also on the main floor is the Combs master suite which exudes a character all its own. A tongue-and-groove ceiling stretches to the top of the vaulted ceiling, and when taken in with several warm textiles, it gives the space a comforting warmth. A chaise nestled into the corner is the perfect spot to read a book or take a quick afternoon nap, while the tufted king bed is primed for more restful sleep.

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The master bathroom builds on the bedroom’s warmth with its use of dark cabinetry, but light walls, countertops, and shower tile ensure the space doesn’t become too dim. His-and-hers vanities appear on perpendicular walls, and the addition of a cabinetry tower means there is plenty of storage to boot.

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Just off the main living space is a family favorite – the screened-in porch. “You can find us out here until it starts dropping into the 20s,” says Zilo. “Since it is screened and has concrete floors, bugs don’t get in, and with the fireplace and heaters it can still be pretty warm in the winter.”

A faux wicker dining set seats eight, and a matching outdoor living vignette can accommodate five more. Several lamps and string lights give the space a cozy feel, while can lights and skylights illuminate the space even more.

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“We love to entertain, and this space is great for that,” says Colleen. “Whether its bunko, book club, or just getting together with friends, I like to host. It makes me happy to open up and share my home with others.”

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