When you are the owner and custodian of an historic home, the question of decorating the interior can be tricky. How do you decorate in a way that respects the heritage of the building yet allows for your personality and a sense of modernity to shine through?
When the owners of this 1921 Georgian Revival ‘Grande Dame’ in Richmond, Virginia (designed by acclaimed architect W. Duncan Lee), faced this question, they turned to long-time collaborator, interior designer Suellen Gregory.
The result is an elegant medley of styles and influences, artfully blended with the occasional touch of whimsy. English, French and Swedish antiques sit comfortably alongside bespoke modern pieces and the mix of contemporary and classical art choices adds a further layer of interest.
Jewel colours are used in controlled and joyous bursts with flashes of pink and yellow in an otherwise neutral palette of creams, golds and greys. The deep pink damask used in this living room was reversed to soften the look—a clever idea which is definitely worth borrowing.
In the kitchen, a serene and understated look has been achieved by keeping the palette to a combination of white with soft grey and leaving out upper cabinets. This way, the architectural details like the windows are showcased simply yet beautifully.
Throughout this home, the attention to detail—so important in a home with an historic fabric—is exquisite. Designer Suellen Gregory has employed wonderful ideas such as adding mirror to the panelled walls in the dining room and edging the fabric-covered walls in the hallway with ribbon.
The placement of decorative items and furniture throughout the house is considered and thoughtful which means that nothing jars and the flow is always restful and serene. Lighting is also very carefully considered and you will notice a mixture of chandeliers, lanterns, wall sconces and table and floor lamps which add decorative interest in their own right, while offering layers of light after dark.
One new addition to the house is a pool cabana by architect Carter Skinner, commissioned by the owners to be in keeping with the design of the main house.
Of their exquisite, historic home, the owners say: “This is a happy house with a lot of good family stuff going on—and it remains true to itself.” And that surely is the ultimate hallmark of good design . . . —Louise