Stay-at-home mom turns her home into her designer’s portfolio

  • Fresh flowers, a candle and decorative boxes add decorative interest in the McCall house. Patricia Sheridan

  • McCall used a metal bed by Restoration Hardware in her son's room. Pam Panchak

  • A dresser from Restoration Hardware in McCall’s son's bedroom is low enough for a child but will grow with him. The floor lamp is from target. Patricia Sheridan

  • Christine McCall turned an awkward angled space in her entry hall into a practical, stylish area for coats and putting on shoes. Patricia Sheridan

  • Christine McCall's dining room features navy blue grasscloth wallpaper and a table made by Penn Rustics of Penn Township. Pam Panchak

  • Natural light makes Christine McCall's vignettes pop. Patricia Sheridan

  • A bar, a family heirloom, in the living room of the McCall house. Pam Panchak

  • The living room in designer Christine McCall's house is a comfortable space that incorporates antiques and personal touches. Pam Panchak

  • Another view of the living room in Matt and Christine McCall's home in Venetia, Pennsylvania. Pam Panchak

  • The exterior of the McCall home in Venetia, Pennsylvania retains its traditional Colonial style. Pam Panchak

  • The backyard patio by Christine McCall at her home. Pam Panchak

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Published: 10/19/2017 9:31:52 PM

Instagram didn’t turn homemaker Christine McCall into a designer, but the reactions from friends and family to her redo of her Washington County home did create buzz.

Two years ago, she began documenting her house’s transition from traditional to modern millennial masterpiece.

“It was also a way to keep friends and family updated on how we were settling in,” she said.

She and her husband, Matt, moved from Cleveland, Ohio, to Venetia, Pennsylvania, with their toddler son in 2015. Suddenly a stay-at-home mom in a strange land, she followed her design passion. Then people started asking for design advice and help.

“I loved doing this house, and I thought why not start my own company?”

Christine McCall Home is the name, her own home is her portfolio.

McCall said the house was tastefully decorated when they moved in, but it wasn’t her taste. “We pretty much repainted everything,” she said with a smile.

The entrance hall is Edgecomb Gray, and the living room is Simply White, both by Benjamin Moore.

The walls of the dining room, which were formerly deep red, are now dressed in a navy blue grasscloth; wainscoting and molding are painted a white semi-gloss. Her son’s room is also wallpapered in a neutral print.

“Wallpaper is coming back,” she said. “I was out of my comfort zone doing the blue grasscloth since I don’t experiment with a lot of color. But I love how it turned out.”

In the center of the once very formal dining room is a custom-built dining table by Penn Township-based Penn Rustics ( A mid-century-inspired chandelier by Visual Comfort hangs above it.

The McCall home is an artful blend of heirloom pieces, antiques, custom designs, Pottery Barn and Restoration Hardware. “I like to mix lower cost accent pieces with high-end classic furniture.”

She hunts flea markets, antique shops, the internet, and Target and Marshall’s with equal fervor. A perfect example of her ability to blend is the living room, which includes a bar that was her great grandfather’s, a ladder from an antique shop, poufs from HomeGoods, a sofa and coffee table from Pottery Barn, and a cool area rug under the coffee table from TJ Maxx.

In the hall, she set up a coat rack and bench with a catch-all wicker basket.

“We don’t have a mud room, so I decided to use this angled space in the entry hall,” she explained.

The kitchen features a floor-to-ceiling chalkboard created with chalkboard paint.

All of the windows on the first floor are naked. “I didn’t use a lot of window treatments, and some people think they look unfinished, but I like a lot of natural light.”

Her son’s bedroom is a mix of Restoration Hardware and fun finds. “I wanted his room to be something he could grow into, so I went with the larger bed and the lower dresser so he could feel independent as well.”

Another of McCall’s signatures is a touch of black in every space. The French doors between the casual living room and family room are painted black, and the chairs in the dining room are black as well.

“My mother reminded me that when I was growing up, I would lock myself in my room and draw my dream house plans in Five Star notebooks,” she said.

“I guess it just took me awhile to realize this is what I’m supposed to be doing.”

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