This Home Will Inspire You to Break with Tradition
"I love history and traditional things just as much as I love unexpected and modern things," says Jenny Lucas. This explains the home she shares with her husband, Brian. From the outside, it's a regal 1941 redbrick home in Richmond's Windsor Farms neighborhood, but inside, unexpected touches—chartreuse lacquered walls, maximalist brass tables, and contemporary art—rule. "The house and the neighborhood remind me of my childhood home, but we wanted to be more adventurous with the decorating choices," explains Jenny. The starting point for her was an antique settee she'd bought for her living room. "As with the house, I loved it, but I knew it had to be updated." So she and Brian turned to their sister-in-law, designer Charlotte Lucas, whose knack for energizing old pieces with new twists they had long admired. First, Charlotte convinced them to re-cover the antique settee in a wild graffiti-style fabric. "Charlotte said, 'Trust me,' and I'm so glad that I did," says Jenny, "because the look is dynamite!"
This daring move set the design agenda for the entire home: Make traditional more lively and livable. While classic 1941 design elements remain hardwired throughout the home with archways, thick moldings, dark hardwood flooring, and a sprinkling of family antiques, the decor is powered by high-energy jolts of color, pattern, funky lighting, and vintage pieces. Keeping in mind that Jenny and Brian have three kids under age 10, Charlotte also made it a family home that's hospitable to Lego blocks and crayons. She planned for a spacious kitchen island, vinyl dining upholstery, comfortable sofas, and plenty of daybeds to accommodate the Lucases in a way that doesn't scream "family of five." See how Charlotte and Jenny boldly redefine classic cool.
Mixing in Bits of Glitz
In lieu of the crystal chandeliers dangling in many Richmond foyers, Charlotte hung two spiky glass pendants (only one is shown) in the front hall. They're by one of Jenny's favorite artists, Helen Gifford. A wavy gilt mirror and matching console continue the hip entry, but the taupe grass cloth wallcovering and antelope-patterned runner keep it familiarly gracious.
Upping Design Verve with Curves
"With so many traditional elements, the living room needed a really modern lift," says Charlotte. She set her eyes on Jenny's heirloom settee, swathing it in a wild fabric (L'Africain; jedjohnson.com) that takes the piece from so-so to fantastic. To counter the graphic settee, Charlotte used neutral fabrics on the pieces with funkier lines, like the curved vintage Dunbar sofa and the rounded swivel chairs.
The sketch to the left of the settee is of Jenny and her grandmother. Jenny's mom, Claire Howard, is the artist.
Painting Walls Chartreuse
Inspired by a French living room spotted in a magazine, Charlotte lacquered the dining room in an olive-mustard hue to complement the splatter-paint-style, navy-and-white draperies. The traffic-stopping color is a surprising counterpoint to the dark wood furniture.
For a similar look, try Benjamin Moore Fresh Olive (2149-30).
Glamorizing with Brass and Acrylic
The family room, breakfast nook, and kitchen blend into one large, open space. With lots of strong colors in the nook and family room, they wanted the kitchen to give the eye a break. The answer: a sleek, all-white space spiced up with brass accents and vintage pieces, like these clear acrylic counter stools. They are slip-covered in a blurred stripe from JF Fabrics, inspired by gray veining in the marble counter and backsplash.
Upholstering with Vinyl
To combat the inevitable food and paint spills, designer Charlotte Lucas selected a linen-and-rayon fabric coated with polyurethane (Brentano's Hard Candy), a choice that restaurants frequently use, on the banquette and chair cushions so the family could eat without fear of ruining their upholstery. An oval Saarinen pedestal table, rather than a round style, also loosens up the seating area. The red chandelier was originally Charlotte's. She had no place for it and passed it along to Brian and Jenny.
The oversize, custom Hickory Chair sectionals in the family room are swathed in a durable linen and allow "everyone to sit without touching each other, which is super important with kids!" says homeowner Jenny Lucas with a laugh. "Bench-style seat cushions look cleaner and don't shift around like multiple seat cushions do." To soften the existing woven Roman shades, Charlotte added floor-to-ceiling white linen draperies
Using One Cornice for Two Windows
In the main bedroom, an oversize cornice and curtains hang over a pair of windows, creating a perfect spot for a calming seating area. The blues and grays in the painting by Kiki Slaughter inspired the bedroom's color scheme.
The Ceiling is Your Fourth Wall
One of the kids' rooms got extra flair when Charlotte carried the wallpaper onto the ceiling. With a small pattern on a neutral background it isn't too overwhelming for the space. Bug prints in fun colors and wildlife fabric keep things playful.
A Single Color Can Standout
In another kids' room, orange takes center stage. By layering patterns and textures in one color, the space becomes inviting instead of overwhelming. The light color on the walls helps tone things down as well.