Midcentury modern meets roughhewn rustic in Tamara and Henrik Simonsens’ condo at The Terrace at Frazier in North Chattanooga. Tamara, who has a passion for interior design, was the driving force behind the condo’s décor—a mixture of vintage and contemporary styles. Throughout the condo, surprising splashes of color mix with unusual objects repurposed into functional architectural elements—the perfect recipe for an interior that’s current, but with a hip, retro vibe.
By Rebecca Rochat | Photography by Med Dement
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The Simonsens purchased the Terrace condo last year to have a place closer to Baylor, where their son, Oliver, attends school. Their primary home is in Ooltewah, but during the cooler months they like to spend most of their time at their in-town “home away from home.”
After shopping around for a development, Tamara and Henrik finally settled on The Terrace for the quality of its construction. They loved that it offered 1,000 square foot condos with open, unfinished spaces. They decided to configure the condo to match their family’s needs and design preferences—they moved a couple of walls, and incorporated construction details like sliding doors and built-in cabinetry to save space.
The foundation of the condo’s color scheme is a neutral pale gray paint color, custom-mixed for the living/dining area, kitchen, and bedrooms. Against that neutral background, complementary shades of blue, green and gray are found in fabrics, decorative accents, and contemporary artwork.
Light maple flooring throughout provides a warm foundation for the condo’s overarching urban design aesthetic, achieved by pairing repurposed materials with clean, crisp contemporary furniture.
Each room also features its own unique conversation piece. Tamara has a good eye for taking something vintage, like an old train case, and finding just the right spot in a modern setting.
In the living room, a Barcelona chair covered in an oatmeal linen fabric is grouped with a contemporary rectilinear sofa upholstered in a gravel gray linen fabric. Above the sofa hangs a contemporary acrylic landscape painting from Gallery 1401. The room’s two end tables juxtapose traditional and contemporary styles. On one side, a silver-toned metal trunk is accented with a silver vase and silver candlesticks. On the other, a round wooden table is decorated with a vintage camera, books, and a silver lamp, with a vintage train case resting just underneath.
Across from the seating area, a recessed niche houses a TV. One of the condo’s space-saving features, the niche also has built-in shelving and drawers filled with books, colored glassware, and decorative boxes. Below the TV, drawers and baskets are filled with an assortment of colorful, decorative pillows.
Just off the living room, the Simonsens’ long dining room has a fitted table made from repurposed wood. Tamara explains that she wanted a table with just the right length and proportion for the space, and found the answer when she came across some white oak from a 110-year-old barn in Kentucky.
Like the living room, the dining room mixes materials and styles. Three acrylic chairs are used for one side of the wooden table, while an old bench salvaged from Girls Preparatory School is used for the other. One wall of the dining area is decorated with wooden antique Balinese shutters, while another has a large acrylic painting of bright green pears from Gallery 1401. Adding a bit of shine, a pendant light on a pulley with a metal drum shade hangs above the table.
The Simonsens’ kitchen, inspired by contemporary Italian design, is built in a streamlined gallery style with sleek lines. White acrylic cabinets are paired with gray quartz countertops and stainless steel appliances. Above the sink, two mounted shelves hold glassware and stacks of white dinnerware, while storage cabinets with opaque doors flank either side of the range vent. A glass panel acts as a backsplash for the range top, while the remaining backsplash area is painted a flagstone color.
Across from the kitchen, a window seat is tucked into a cozy breakfast nook. A white acrylic pedestal table is paired with two Eames molded plastic chairs, while four round glass globes hang from a lighting fixture overhead at varying lengths.
Just steps from the breakfast nook, a French door flanked by large windows leads to a small balcony. Window draperies use fabric with a chain link pattern against a dark gray background. In another unusual treatment of accessories, four round clocks with a highly polished aluminum finish—each set with one of the U.S.’s four time zones—hang vertically on the wall between the windows and French door.
The door to the master bedroom is another surprising architectural feature of the home. Originally a barn door, the door is now painted a muted green and hangs from a metal track that is pushed side to side to open or close.
The master bedroom has a neutral color scheme of gray and beige tones, with pops of blue and green used for accents. Stonewashed Belgian bed linens are matched with an oatmeal linen dust ruffle, an oatmeal headboard, a dove gray comforter, a green quilt, beige French pillows, and a decorative pillow with a green, blue and gray pattern. On either side of the bed, a white, midcentury-style end table is topped with a polished aluminum lamp. In a corner of the room next to a window, a tufted-back slipper chair is covered in a gray linen fabric and grouped with a stool covered in burlap. Nearby, a gray-toned metal chest of drawers is topped with a rectangular mirror in a wood frame and a metal lantern on a stack of books.
A storage room connects the master bedroom to the bath. The room has pocket doors, one of the home’s many space-saving features, and houses a stacked washer and dryer. One side of the closet houses shelving with a storage cabinet above, while the other houses a long clothes rack and storage drawers below.
The master bathroom’s walls are painted in “Universal Gray,” an elegant complement to a custom-designed vanity with ivory quartz countertops. Gray cabinetry has drawers and open shelving underneath for folded towels. Above the vanity, a wide ledge and mirror extends the length of the countertop. The original plans for the space had a bathtub, but the Simonsens replaced it with a walk-in shower with a mosaic of tiles—a variety of Carrara marble and two shades of gray glass.
The second bedroom, which belongs to Oliver, has a mix of contemporary, vintage, and rustic furnishings. In a creative move, a barn door placed horizontally on the wall is used for a headboard. A royal blue quilted coverlet and green-and-gray striped pillows accent Oliver’s gray duvet cover, and the bed’s royal blue bed skirt matches two high-gloss end tables mounted to the wall. Pendant lights fashioned from an “Edison”-style bulb encased in glass hang above each table. Across from the bed, a flat screen TV hangs over a vintage gray metal footlocker, and a sepia-toned bird’s eye view of the Flatiron District in New York City hangs on the far wall.
Tamara, who is from Texas, and Henrik, who is from Denmark, have lived in Chattanooga for six years now. When asked about downtown living, Tamara says they love the convenience of being able to walk to just about anything they want to do—restaurants, the movies, the art district. Their Terrace condo has given them the opportunity to enjoy all the amenities of the downtown district—and given them a chance to channel their personality in an artistic expression of midcentury modern design.