A Timeless 1958 Ranch House Renovation in Richmond
Richmond, Virginia, may be known for its historic churches, Civil War battlefields and impressive American Revolution collections, but it’s also home to some gorgeous plots of land that boast equally gorgeous estates. Located just outside of Richmond proper, within walking distance of the James River, one such residence is a standout amid the rest. Surrounded by fragrant pink and white azaleas, a 1958 white brick ranch home is set against a backdrop of mature oak trees on just over half an acre. The 3,366-square-foot beauty is far from cookie-cutter, with the original hardwood floors and slate roof as well as a beautiful picture window that faces the street. A recent renovation brought the L-shaped, cottage-style ranch house to the next level, infusing modern elements into the already existing five-bedroom, three-bath layout for a timeless upgrade that wows.
Renovated for an outdoorsy couple who loves to fish, the home is the perfect elemental blend of masculine and feminine. Dark, rich accents complement neutral tones for a depth of design that’s both classic and eye-catching. “We pretty much worked on the entire house,” explains Lindsey Frank, owner and designer at Lindsey Frank Design, a firm that deals in full-scale renovations and interiors. An integral part of the project from the get-go, she was contacted by the client even before they placed an official offer on the home. “They called us in to see if we felt that their vision for the house made sense,” says Lindsey, “and we started within a couple of months [of the purchase].”
The existing layout was highly compartmentalized, so Lindsey and her team set out to open up the space and create more subtle transitions. The original design made it clear there had been several add-ons over the years, so she also worked to help the interior flow more cohesively from one room to the next. “There were four height and material changes that didn’t really align with the rest of the house,” Lindsey shares. “It was small and didn’t function for the homeowners’ lifestyle.” From developing an open floor plan concept to gutting the kitchen and relocating the laundry space, Lindsay and her team collaborated with contractor Matt Sprenkle of Sprenkle and Company to create a fitting space for the couple and their two teenage children.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the heart of the home is the kitchen and main living room, which boasts a mid-century modern fireplace with a wraparound mantel. Embracing the somewhat “cottagey” feel of the home, Lindsey did away with all of the original linoleum and outdated materials, trading them for traditional elements mixed with the family’s love of art. “We work with a lot of older homes,” says Lindsey. “I don’t think there’s one that we’re currently working on that’s less than 100 years old. So, timeless details are really important.” All of her clients have one thing in common — they’re looking to maintain the character of the homes they’ve purchased. “We try to play that up,” she says. “We don’t want to slap stuff in and have it look brand spanking new, so a lot of the materials that we source are hand-antiqued or have a vintage feel.” As far as furnishings and rugs go, she inserts vintage, one-of-a-kind pieces whenever possible for a curated, collected look that stands the test of time.
Taking the kitchen down to the bare bones, Lindsay installed new cabinets to maximize storage, and she added durable, functional countertops for easy cleaning. “To begin with, the space was dark and dated with large ceramic tile floors and black appliances,” says Lindsey. “Part of the vision was seeing how we could lighten it up without adding windows, but we also wanted to keep a cool, traditional color in the space.” To accomplish this, she incorporated cabinets from Unique Kitchens and Baths and added the huge island, which is nearly three times larger than the original. The base of the island from the Alison Giese Interiors line, painted in “Peppercorn,” offers a pop of color. “I think that’s the clients’ signature color,” Lindsay tells us of the moody shade that shows up in several rooms of the home.
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With a beautiful selection of family heirlooms to choose from, Lindsey let the dining room design tell some of the family’s narrative. “We’d put a design together to update the fireplace in the dining room,” says Lindsey, “and in talking to the homeowners, we found out her father had passed away several years ago. She had this big round mirror, and her father had drawn a fireplace design idea for them.” A family heirloom deserving of a prominent spot, Lindsey surprised the homeowners by implementing the proposed fireplace design and hanging the mirror above it. Additionally, an exquisite heirloom chest is a majestic accompaniment to the dining set, which includes Chippendale-style dining chairs that have also been passed down through the family. To integrate a more contemporary element, Lindsey reupholstered the chairs with a textured fabric from Posh Textiles. Modern lighting fixtures from Hudson Valley Lighting are suspended over the table for added design flair.
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With a broken terracotta floor and years’ worth of wear and tear, the original sunroom was in desperate need of upgrades. Lindsey and her team replaced the flooring with slate and cozied up the space with a plush, vintage Moroccan rug from Drift Home Collection. “The clients like darker floors, and we wanted to play off of the herringbone pattern we did in the mudroom to keep things cohesive,” says Lindsey. “Slate made a little more sense for this space, and we like the contrast — the white and the dark floor.” Before the remodel, the sunroom wasn’t heated or cooled properly, and it had minimal access. During the renovation process, they created a dual opening off the family room for a more intentional connection to the rest of the house. “We adjusted a lot of openings to make it feel like those additions had always been part of the house and weren’t additions at all,” Lindsey tells us.
“This was one of our favorite projects,” Lindsey says of the stunning home renovation that wrapped up in the first part of 2020. Still in close contact with her clients, she says the phase two renovation isn’t far off. “I think they want to tackle the master bedroom next,” she says. “Their oldest daughter is going off to college, so we may be updating the rest of the bedrooms, too. There was even talk about a pool at one point, and they definitely have space for one.” If the phase one renovation is any indication of what’s to come, we have no doubt phase two will be equally stunning!
All photography by Anna Williams.