Karen and Eric Dickman were looking for light when they chose their house in a golf community outside of historic Williamsburg. The enclave was made up of mostly traditional homes with plenty of space between them. The house the couple bought combined a Colonial exterior with a non-traditional, open floor plan, which they liked. But the big draw was the golf course, which reaches to the back deck, and the wall of windows overlooking it. “I love the sun so I wanted the openness of living by a golf course,” Karen observes. “The windows in the house called to me.”
Prior to their purchase, the house had sat empty for three years. Facing repairs resulting from disuse, a necessary overhaul of the kitchen and baths and the need for a general update, the owners decided a whole-house renovation was in order. Along with contractor Sean Everitt, the couple tapped designer Amanda Austin, with whom they had worked before, to help them turn their new house into a home.
Austin’s plan was to create a stylish look that would fit the home’s traditional trappings but also feel updated and fresh. After choosing engineered, hand-scraped black walnut flooring that suits the area’s humid climate, she and her clients began the redesign with the open-plan great room. “Walk in the door of the house and you’re immediately enamored of this light, two-story space,” Austin says.
Floor-to-ceiling Palladian windows invite the outdoors in, so they chose a light palette that would emphasize the view; a paneled accent wall frames a marble-clad fireplace flanked by built-ins. The wall was painted a strong gray hue to showcase two large vintage posters that are dear to the Dickmans. Custom furniture was designed to fit the tall room: A long sofa with a bench cushion from Edward Ferrell + Lewis Mittman seats numerous guests and two chairs from Vanguard are clad in cream-colored crocodile leather. An Oushak carpet softens the space.
The adjoining kitchen combines custom cabinetry in glazed cream and black, topped with swirling black-and-white Asterix granite counters. Austin extended the granite as a backsplash, keeping “everything else quiet and simple,” she explains, “so the backsplash becomes the artwork.”
To enlarge the kitchen and accommodate a wet bar and wine fridge, the counters and cabinetry wrap around the corner to the light-filled sunroom. An L-shaped sofa from Hickory Chair is upholstered in creamy linen and flanked by a Pipa side table from Oly Studios. A leopard print rug and Roman shades in Harlequin fabric add warmth.
In the dining room, Austin used a rich material palette that includes a grasscloth wallcovering by Phillip Jeffries in a herringbone pattern, Lee Jofa silk drapes and an antique rug from Timothy Paul. A dining table and sideboard that had been in Eric’s family were refurbished and simple, cream-colored leather chairs from Precedent Furniture harmonize with the rich backdrop. A Restoration Hardware chandelier hangs above the table. “Every room should look highly customized,” Austin explains, “but the price tag should not reflect that.”
Across the foyer from the dining room, a small parlor is now the music room. A floor cloth painted in a chic, black-and-white chevron print injects a modern feel; though the room is small, large pieces such as the piano (inherited from Eric’s family) and a round mirror and two chairs, all from Hickory Chair, seem right at home. Floral silk drapes from Osborne & Little and a pink ottoman impart a lively, feminine edge.