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When interior designer Eileen Kathryn Boyd and her husband, Jim, bought their 1840 Victorian house on Long Island, in New York, she envisioned it as a kind of laboratory for her decorating ideas. "The place needed modernizing and the rooms were all very different," says Eileen. "But its quirkiness appealed to me." Once they finished updating the landscaping, revamping the porch and putting in a new kitchen, Eileen turned her attention to the decor. Instead of settling for safe colors, she picked a vibrant palette, finding inspiration in all sorts of places—favorite art, fabrics and pottery. Each room now crackles with unexpected hues—magenta, azure and spring green. "Some shades are meant to be bold, others quiet, and a few should surprise," says the designer. "Together, they make the space exciting." She also likes a mix of furnishings and accessories, combining mass-market and thrift shop pieces with antiques and original art. The result is rooms that are perfectly suited to Eileen's eclectic style while still being comfortable, especially for their children, Emma, 11, and Luke, 9. "I want my kids to experience the joy of growing up in a creative house," explains Eileen. "And I want us to live a colorful life."