As some of the finest residential architecture in the United States, the historic homes along the James River in Richmond, VA, continue to charm current generations. This 1927 Georgian-style home has the added pedigree of architectural design by William Lawrence Bottomley, a leading American architect known for his houses that evoke the English countryside. In a sense, these Richmond residences are the Downton Abbeys of our side of the pond.
Interior designer Susan Jamieson, of Bridget Beari Designs in Richmond, was excited to work with new owners on this prestigious house. “I love the character an older house gives to the interior design,” says Susan, whose own home is in Richmond’s historic district. “This type of architecture is a wonderful canvas to work from, either by creating a cohesive interior or one of sharp contrast. Both ideas can be very interesting.”
Susan and her clients decided to honor the past — enhancing original walnut paneling in the library and the amazing staircase in the foyer, for instance — but with some modern furnishings and light fixtures mixed in to keep things interesting. “The rooms are so beautifully proportioned that their modern furniture fits beautifully and elegantly into each of the rooms,” she says.
The timeless architecture of this 1920s Richmond home is a testament to its architect, Bottomley. “He was known for this Georgian architecture style using brick, ‘Adamesque’-type moldings, and classical proportions,” says Susan. “He referenced the famous plantations in Virginia that line the James River towards Williamsburg.”
Visitors enter into a magnificent, three-story, spiral foyer, one of the architect’s signature looks, says Susan. “When you walk through the door, you look straight back to the French doors that open onto the river view, and it’s not until you step into the staircase hall that you realize its grandeur,” says the designer. She worked with artist Paul Bertholet to design the striking yellow floral mural that’s inset into the existing panels.
LIVING ROOM, DINING ROOM & LIBRARY
Susan incorporated red in the dining room and living room, two areas that flank the yellow and cream entry rooms. A custom Doris Leslie Blau rug in the living room energizes the space and provides a beautiful contrast to the Georgian mantel and classical molding.
“My idea for this room was to create a high gloss wall with paint and add the hand-painted motif to the panels to mimic the rug design,” she says. “The silver wallpapered ceiling works perfectly with the Maura Starr chandelier, almost as if the arms of the chandelier dangling from the wires seem to be floating.”
The homeowners collect art on their travels, and picked up this particular painting, above the fireplace, in New Orleans. “I love the whimsical nature of the art with the formal moldings, which are all original to the house,” says the designer. The table is from Randolph & Hein and the china cabinets are from Neirmann Weeks.
The kitchen is part of an addition done by a previous owner and was revamped to be a little more modern. Perimeter cabinets were painted a soft taupe, with the island stained a dark chocolate as a contrast. Calacatta marble on the countertops, Flos pendants and Phillip Jefferies trellis wallpaper on the ceiling provide even more layers of interest.
“We added bookcases all around in the breakfast room, creating an interesting combination library/eating area,” says Susan. The table by Lepere is walnut; its oversize square shape creates a cozy seating arrangement for the family.
SITTING ROOMS & HALLWAY
The main sitting room has two fireplaces, so the seating arrangement features two areas, back-to-back. Susan added the wool drapery treatments, R. Jones sofas, Baker tables, Ironware International chandeliers (a pair) and Edward Ferrell chairs.
“The glass ceiling hallway is what architect Jay Hugo of 3North designed to connect the old house and the new addition for a previous owner,” says the designer. “It’s a brilliant walkway linking two structures.” Stark custom runners and mirrored chests help define the space.
MASTER BEDROOM & BATHROOM
Furnishings the homeowners already had in their previous master bedroom are enhanced with Donghia lamps and Bergamo window treatments. And the damask wallpaper by Zoffany adds glamour to the master bath.
This beautiful home is truly something to behold! Thanks to designer Susan Jamieson of Bridget Beari Designs for sharing her design inspiration with us!
Photography: John Magor with the exception of all outdoor, foyer and entry photographs, which are by Joe Bernado
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