On Function and Form… 15

The Design Strategies of Poss Dalton and Kelley Synott

It was a fast start to a dear friendship for Kelley Synott and Poss Dalton, co-owner of Cedar and Hyde Mercantile. Kelley and Poss collaborated to design and furnish Kelley’s North Boulder home, where she lives with her husband Brenden, their four kids (all under the age of six) and Sally, the dog. The home is a masterpiece, drawing style inspiration from the modern American West with a chuckle of French Cajun flare.

It all started when Kelley wandered into Cedar and Hyde as they first opened their doors in 2013;  Cedar and Hyde is a mercantile located in downtown Boulder that boasts clothing and home goods of exceptional quality and design.

A chord was immediately struck. As Kelley puts it:

“I walked in and thought oh my god, these girls (Poss and co-owner/sister Christie) are beautiful and I want whatever it is they’ve got going on.”

The relationship was officiated when the two realized that Kelley’s father and Poss share the same name (both nicknamed for having possum bellies.)

The home was designed by architect Lisa Egger and built by Joel Smile. It is beautiful and clean, brilliant and bright. There is a French Cajun flare, a nod towards Kelley’s childhood, that dances around a striking ode to the American West and earthy elegance. Upon first glance, the most compelling elements are the clean, cool surfaces and dark stone finishes. The lightly colored walls are naturally illuminated, and the cast-iron railings bring you straight to New Orleans. It doesn’t long to feel the presence of the quirky details, playful kid nooks (re: kid’s cupboard under the stairs—childhood dream) and cozy milieu that reflect the personality of the Synott family. While Poss lead the creative vision, it was Kelley’s ultimatum that guided the project; Am I going to feel cozy and comfortable here, will this be a home for our kids and family? Kelley says that when you are working with a team like Lisa, Joel and Poss, a group that makes the process fun and easy, the answer was a guaranteed yes.  

Only expert curation could effortlessly weave this modern style home with warmth and the childish fun the four toddlers politely demand. Every bathroom is tiled with a different design of brightly colored teal and blue, and the kid’s playroom boasts painted cartoons of pop legends, Pharrell and Daft Punk among others. Spirit and beauty are woven into every detail.

Poss’s rare and exquisite taste is well known and highly coveted in Boulder. Her ability to spot rare pieces is uncanny, and she paints together color palates that wash into themselves like a literary New England sea in winter. But to design a house around a kid’s lifestyle, as she puts it, can be a designers nightmare yet a rewarding challenge.

“The bottom line is being a realist.” Poss says “Style so often pushes you into things that aren’t right for you, whether it is your body type, price range et cetera. What works for you will work great because it is you.”

The best reminder, she shares, was to maintain a sense of humor.  

This wisdom in the design is apparent. In the Synotts case, their particular version of realism was dictated by one question only; could this piece survive a 6-year-old? The final product withstood the test. The pieces will mature with wear and tear.  In time their space will develop a patina that will mirror back the growth and memories of their young family. Because after all, isn’t that what home is all about?  

Poss’s Picks

While we had the opportunity to peak through Poss’s design eyes, we wanted to hear what were her favorite items from the house…


  1. A bench made by an artisan in Boulder reupholstered with a vintage World War 2 blanket, found in Santa Fe.

  2. Heather Levine chandelier and light fixtures.

  3. The painting in a handcrafted wooden frame by the artist is Tom Coffin. The piece is called “The Quick and Dead.”