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Publication Date: 2015-11-17

House Tours

Colorful Richmond Home

What started as a small project went the distance as a major renovation that included additions of a new kitchen, family room, and capacious covered porch, as well as dramatic redecorating throughout this 1930s English Revival.

Photography: Gordon Beall

Curb appeal and square footage—the usual catalysts for renovations—weren’t the motivating factors here. The house was charming and wasn’t terribly small. What it lacked was flow. “We enjoy entertaining, and people would get stuck in the library, kitchen, or coat closet,” homeoner Sasha explains. The poor layout also meant that entire rooms went unused daily. Sasha and her husband Mike, their two children, and their two big dogs lived, cramped, in just a portion of the home.

Working alongside architect Dan Ensminger, designer Kat Liebschwager tried to channel Sasha’s personality to ensure that the new and reworked spaces were a spot-on reflection of her client—colorful, fun, sophisticated.

A large painting in the new back porch set the palette, which, though more neutral than before, is hardly timid. Its richest hue—a true turquoise—is introduced immediately at the shiny front door, which took a new arched shape in the redo. Pops of saturated turquoise leave a trail of accent color from the central hall all the way to the back porch, knitting the spaces together.

Photography: Gordon Beall

Glamour also makes its debut in the center hall. “Sasha wanted a more sophisticated, grown-up look,” says Liebschwager, who hired a local artist to paint diamonds on the floor and tone-on-tone metallic stripes on the wall. The hallway settee is gold-leafed. “When the light hits the center hall, it shimmers like a jewel box,” she says.

The art is by Sunny Goode, who also painted the walls and floor.

Photography: Gordon Beall

Easier circulation between previously cloistered rooms resulted from Ensminger sorting out the spaces like the pieces of a puzzle, adding portals where none existed before. “The architect had a strong vision and did a great job with it,” Liebschwager says. She enhanced Ensminger’s work by repeating glam decorative elements to make the new connections shine. A chunky mirrored cocktail table brings sparkle to the family room addition; a round mirror behind the settee in the original living room forms a shimmery focal point.

This new space opens off the living room and also adjoins the relocated kitchen and new center hall. A Patterson, Flynn & Martin rug and Cowtan & Tout drapery fabric create neutrality with the RH sofa and the homeowners’ reupholstered chairs.

Photography: Gordon Beall

Repurposed as the dining room, the former kitchen has its own glisten. A pair of mirrored doors open up to the dining room’s new china cabinet—smart use of what originally had been an alcove for the stove. For symmetry, a second pair of mirrored doors was added along the same wall, but these are dummy doors that lead only to greater reflection.

Nina Campbell wallpaper makes the major statement in the dining room, a space that previously was the kitchen. A sisal rug calms the floor. White leather backs add interest to tufted chairs. A Currey & Company chandelier gains quiet glam with a single crystal swag. Silver leafing shimmers on the ceiling.

Photography: Gordon Beall

One of the most beautiful rooms, the new kitchen, also is one of Sasha’s favorites. “I love it even though I’m not a huge cook,” she says. “I have way too much ADD to scramble eggs without getting distracted. My son gives me a grade on breakfast every morning!” The kitchen’s elegant but not overdone white cabinetry teams with pale turquoise tiles to transition to the new enclosed porch.

An Ann Sacks glass tile backsplash adds cool color to the white cabinetry. Metal counter stools and a pair of glass lanterns continue the glam look of the other rooms. The faucet is by Perrin & Rowe from Rohl.

To see more of this home visit

Written by Candace Ord Manroe
Produced by Eileen A. Deymier

Architect: Dan Ensminger, Ensminger Architecture, 503 Ridge Top Rd., Richmond, VA 23229; 804/323-6299.
Interior designer: Kat Liebschwager, Kat Liebschwager Interiors, 3801 West Cary St., Richmond, VA 23221; 804/288-3350,


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