This Cross Plains homeowner has leaned into the house’s wood tones

Tiffany Klinger’s black-and-white design aesthetic shifted dramatically after she moved into a Cross Plains home filled with warm wood tones.

Tiffany Klinger has embraced a lot of change — for one, she moved with her family from the East Coast to the Midwest to raise their daughters in a smaller city and be closer to her husband’s side of the family. Another big change has been to her interior design style. She went from a black-and-white-heavy house to one with more wood accents than she’s ever had in a home.

“In my previous home, almost everything was black, white or neutral,” Klinger says. “I’ve always been afraid of color, but I’m really trying to get out of my comfort zone. It’s been a big adjustment.”

Her family was surprised that she even bought the house in Cross Plains, sight unseen, because it was the complete opposite of what she’d owned previously. “It has a lot of wood trim, just a lot of wood. I feel like that’s more a Midwest thing,” says Klinger, who’s from Maryland.

The first piece of advice from her friends back home — paint it all white. But Klinger resisted.

“We bought this house for a reason,” she says. “My style is celebrating the home for what it is. As much as I would have loved to paint it all white, I really, really wanted to celebrate those parts of the home and keep it kind of true to itself.”

If Klinger was looking to stay on-trend, the timing couldn’t have been better. All predictions point to a big warm-up for 2022: Etsy’s color of the year, emerald green, looks beautiful with earthy terracotta tones; House Beautiful’s experts predict colorful kitchens and “cottagecore” designs that retain organic textures and woods; and designers reported to Insider that warm neutrals, dark wood antiques and brown undertones are all on the rise.

“I’m playing more into the creamier tones in this house because of the wood,” she says. “That’s been different, but it’s really growing on me. I’m wanting to love the warmer colors — and also adding a lot more colors into the home.”

She’s also mindful of designing for function — especially since she and husband Matthew share their home with daughters Kora, 3, and Katrielle, 1 — but Klinger doesn’t kid-ify her style. “I like designing around the colors and aesthetics that make me happy, but something that I think kids could grow into,” she says. One project has been the girls’ bathroom, and she says it’s a really mature-looking space. She incorporated board and batten walls, painted cabinets for the first time and changed fixtures. Her handy dad, who used to do full home renovations on the side, has been a huge help when he visits.

Klinger is becoming quite handy herself, and DIY has become de rigueur in her new Wisconsin home. In the nursery, she had what she called a “wallpaper debacle.” It started when she got her first experience working with another home feature she wasn’t accustomed to: textured walls. “I put the wallpaper up on half the wall and the next day it all fell down,” she says. She went another route and stenciled the pattern she wanted on the feature wall. “Between having to put Kat in naps in the toddler’s room, it took forever,” she says. “Now everyone’s like, ‘That’s such beautiful wallpaper!’ and I’m like, no, I need credit where credit is due, because I did that all by hand.” Many of her home projects have been focused on cosmetic changes — a new dining room table that complements warm wood trim, floors and kitchen cabinets, plus new furniture in the three-season porch and lots of fresh paint. “With this house I’m trying to bring in classic things that will last so I don’t have to change it every couple of years,” she says.

Interior design is just a passion project for Klinger, who is also a photographer on the side. Her husband trusts her choices, and Klinger says she’s trying to keep him in mind as she takes the lead on styling. She says her aesthetic back in Maryland was more feminine, and she fell for the farmhouse trend and doesn’t want to do that again. “I do appreciate some of the more masculine tones and I think I tried to do that this time around,” she says. “Just trying to make this home a little bit more sexy and cozy with colors and design.”

Andrea Behling is the editor of Madison Magazine. This story appeared in the March 2022 issue of Madison Magazine.

Newsletter Subscribe Footer22 Cover Wallpaper