Inspired by the sea, this Richmond, Virginia, designer creates a haven of calm for a family of five
By Jeanne Blackburn | Photography by Tony Giammarino
Proximity to the sea has always had a major influence on Jenny Andrews, so several years ago when the Richmond-based interior designer renovated and redecorated her home, that love of the water was her inspiration. "Whether it was a pool in the backyard or our vacations in North Carolina, water was always part of my best memories growing up,” she says. Though not on a waterfront property, the house was perfectly suited to her mission. “From the front door you can look through the house and see the pool,” Andrews explains.
Built in 1955, its interiors were not always the airy oasis they are now. For starters, they were rife with dark paneling. “We took it all out and opened up the whole back of the house,” says Andrews. To keep the floor plan simple, she enlarged the kitchen adjacent to the family room and gave both rooms access to the back patio and pool beyond. The kitchen became the hub of the house for Andrews, her husband and their three sons—and their friends. Upstairs, they added a spacious master suite and another bedroom.
After rearranging the living space to accommodate their lifestyle, Andrews set out to create a serene retreat using an ocean-inspired palette. Her objective was to infuse the house with the calming influence of water by using lots of white and pale blue, then creating a warm and cozy atmosphere with the addition of neutrals, a few bright tropical colors and interesting textures. In the rooms that get the most use such as the kitchen and family room, finishes and fabrics are family-friendly. “Nothing in the entire house is off-limits. I just don't want to live that way,” she says.
Andrews mixes antiques with more modern pieces, reiterating the advice many designers give their clients: “If you see it and love it, buy it. You'll find a place for it.” However, she also advocates keeping the décor simple, which she feels provides a calming influence. “It's great to come home and not have too much around visually,” she says, "except for a few sentimental pieces.”
Among her personal favorites are several works by local artist Sunny Goode, who painted the framed oils in the living room. The yellow upright secretary in the living room was a gift from her father, who had it shipped from the West Coast when she was a child. It now displays treasured gifts and childhood mementoes.
The most dramatic contrast of colors in the Andrews home is in the foyer, where the dark-stained wood floors are echoed in an antiqued mirror over a stark white console set against pale gray walls. Andrews used a similar gray hue in the linen draperies on either side of the living room fireplace. The pink walls were an experiment that surprisingly everyone loves—especially her husband. “The color is amazing, and changes throughout the day,” Andrews says. The subtly patterned Stark carpet is reminiscent of the ripples created by the receding tide on a sandy beach.
Rather than wallpapering the dining room, Andrews commissioned Sunny Goode to paint a vine-like pattern in white on sand-colored walls. French doors with mirrored panels reflect the light and the view, adding a sense of space, while sisal carpet with off-white edging helps bring the outdoors inside.
Just off the main hallway upstairs, a charming alcove with a window seat is adorned in subtle gray and white Victoria Hagan fabric; it's the perfect spot to collect your thoughts or daydream for a moment. The guest bedroom reflects a more colorful take on the beach theme, with a sunset pink-on-white bedspread and tropical green accents in the pillows, draperies and lamps.
In the master bedroom Andrews carried the pale turquoise wall color up onto the vaulted ceiling, and used deeper blue accents to achieve a sense of utter relaxation.
Several years ago, the designer says, she transitioned from commercial design to residential interiors in order “to make a difference in people's lives.” Now, she can include her own family as part of her accomplishment.
Writer Jeanne Blackburn is based in Montgomery Village, Maryland. Tony Giammarino is a Richmond-based photographer.
INTERIOR DESIGN: JENNY ANDREWS, Andrews Designs, Richmond, Virginia. RENOVATION ARCHITECTURE: JAY HUGO, AIA, and SCOTT UKROP, 3North, Richmond, Virginia. RENOVATION CONTRACTOR: GRACE STREET CONSTRUCTION, Richmond, Virginia.
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