Happy Places - richmondmagazine.com

2023-02-15 17:22:14 By : Ms. Joan Shaw

Four designers create at-home havens for clients

First came man caves, then she-sheds, and then there was COVID-19. Our collective quarantine opened our eyes to the need for personal spaces in our homes where we can do the things that bring us joy. Although me-time spaces may seem like a modern concept, the reality is that they’ve been around forever. Big or small, they’re therapeutic places where one can escape the stresses of everyday life. We present a look at four happy places created for clients by Richmond interior designers Kathy Corbet, Sara Hillery, Ellen Kastelberg and Anne Hulcher Tollett.

Before interior designer Kathy Corbet transformed this space into a wildly colorful family area, it was a dark and dingy but well-used basement. The plan for this kid-and-adult-together space started with a record player and a vintage sofa, the designer says. Dad acts as DJ, and the family dances together or with friends, so a place for the record player and album storage were essential. The colorful print fabric chosen to reupholster the sofa, which once belonged to the client’s grandmother, inspired the bold color palette and maximalist design. Ample seating for watching television, new flooring and a high-top table where one can sit and eat and still see the TV complete the inviting space. Finished during the pandemic, it became the family’s clubhouse and retreat, and it still is, the designer says.

Photo courtesy Anne Hulcher Tollet

It’s hard to find a good place to put a grand piano in a rowhouse, according to interior designer Anne Hulcher Tollett, who converted what had been a smaller second-parlor room into a music and reading room for clients. The couple relocated to Richmond from London and wanted a music room where they could take a break from the day to curl up and read a book or play the piano. Keeping the furniture minimal, the designer focused the space on their Steinway grand piano, adding only an upholstered chair with matching ottoman and a small side chair near the fireplace. Walls and ceiling painted Benjamin Moore’s Decorator’s White provide a canvas for a gallery wall of artwork drawn from the couple’s collections. The original fireplace and a mix of old and new furnishings including the antique chandelier modernized with globe bulbs, contemporary cantilever bookshelves and a fun geometric rug give the music room the feel of a European salon that the couple wanted. It’s a room they use daily.

Although this room was designed originally for use as a small library or study, it made sense, interior designer Sara Hillery says, to convert it into an art studio for a client who likes to paint the outdoors. French doors open to an Italian garden-inspired landscape. Natural light streams through the clerestory windows while dark wood paneling adds warmth and Old World charm. Sunbrella fabrics on the custom chairs and an indoor/outdoor rug ensure that any paint mishaps are minor. Things that the client loves — family portraits, heirlooms such as her father’s drafting table and souvenirs of travels abroad — make the space personal. It’s peaceful, like being wrapped in a cocoon, the artist says of her studio space.

Agent 007 would probably feel right at home in the bar/lounge interior designer Ellen Kastelberg created in a client’s downstairs room. The client is a lifelong devotee of the debonair spy and collects everything Bond, from movies to memorabilia and model cars; his wife and children now share his enthusiasm. So, the client commissioned a bar/lounge with the sophisticated cool look of the ’60s and ’70s interiors inhabited by Bond. The designer says she transported herself to that era for inspiration. The bold color palette, lush velvets, furniture with inviting curves and angles, leather wallpaper and black hexagonal tile behind the bar, and the gold accent pieces she chose help to create the cosmopolitan Bond-vibe the family requested. A print of actors who have portrayed Bond in films brings the special agent into the room. The family loves the look of the space and heads downstairs to relax and have fun every chance they get.  

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