House Proud

Customized rooms that are just your style.

Increasingly, homeowners are turning to designers for more creative, customized interior spaces reflective of their interests. Love wine? Add a wine tasting room. Passionate about the craft cocktail craze? Design a bar for experimenting at home. Have a yen for arts and crafts? Create an art space with lots of storage for supplies and sturdy, washable surfaces.

Some theories about this new evolution in home design point to changes in entertaining styles. Just as galley kitchens of old morphed into spacious rooms to accommodate guests who increasingly turned up for the preparation, not just the consumption of a meal, homeowners are seeking innovative spaces more tuned to the needs of their families. 

When 10th generation owners of Mount Airy Plantation, Tayloe and Catherine Emery, decided to convert the smokehouse on their historic Northern Neck property into a bar, the couple had in mind entertaining guests who visit for the frequent waterfowl and turkey hunts they host. 

“My husband had very specific ideas about what he wanted,” laughs Catherine. Top of the list were fans. “He had an old saloon fan-thing in his head,” she says. Using reclaimed wood for the project was also on Tayloe’s wish list for the bar. An old mill on the property that could not be rescued was the source for lumber used to construct the bar and shelving. 

The Emerys turned to the design duo of Brandeis Short and Adrianne Bugg of Irvington’s Pillar and Peacock to transform the space. “It was literally a box with studs,” says Bugg. “Because it is on the National Register of Historic Places, we could not alter its structure.” To simulate light, Bugg backlit the bar with LED lighting layered with a yellow acrylic panel. The reclaimed wood is offset with modern steel accents in the bar shelving. “It’s got a Charlestonian feel to it,” says Bugg. The Emerys love having a bar in their backyard. “We throw parties just so we can use it!” says Catherine. 

Indulging a passion was the motivation for the arts and crafts room designed by Emily Koski and Julia Durham of Haute Haven Interiors in Richmond for clients Stephanie and Scott Green. Parents of three daughters ranging in age from 8-14, the Greens wanted space for the girls to explore their favorite activities. “We have always been a really crafty family,” explains Stephanie, who also uses the room to create designs for her container gardening business, Contained Creations. 

Lit by a dramatic black bead chandelier, with large windows framed by a hot pink cornice board and an inviting window seat, the room has loads of storage and a large white, glass-topped table that can handle glue and paint spills. Says Stephanie, “We wanted a room that would allow us to paint and draw that was a little more chic and fun.” PillarAndPeacock.com, HauteHavenInteriors.com

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