Transforming A Home To Build Better Lives:” Inside the Inaugural 2015 Lynchburg Design House

studio h home room

PHOTOGRAPHY BY Tera Janelle Auch

During the holiday season, 12 interior designers & countless vendors brought their unique styles and artistic talents together to form the region’s first ever Lynchburg Design House. Upon its opening, the community toured the home, experiencing firsthand how Lynchburg’s top designers serve local residents with their design skills and knowledge of the industry. Each of these designers not only gave of their time, energy and professional talents to make the showcase possible, but they invested in an endeavor that was for them of no financial gain because all of the proceeds from the event went to programs of the YWCA of Central Virginia.
“The YWCA is about transforming lives and providing a safe haven to rebuild those lives,” stated the Design House website. “Transforming a home in this way through the Design House event is the perfect metaphor for what we do day in and day out.”
Each designer was given an area in the house to transform and then the freedom to see their visions come to life. Like most homes, designers highlighted the unique architectural features of the home while injecting a sense of personality and charm. Here we revisit their designs and share some inspiration for all of our homes.

Like most homes, the beautiful entryway (pictured on previous page) set the tone for the entire house with its calm and soothing shades of whites, aqua, citrine, greens, grays and silver. The dark hardwood floors and banister on the stairs grounded the airiness of the light neutral tones, yet the scrolled framed pattern on the wallpaper and the white architectural features of the wainscoting became focal points. Carolyn Mahone of Mahone & Sons Decorating Center is an expert on paint and wallpaper and used her knowledge to reflect a classic take on an age-old design element. Wallpaper has come a long way and can create a high-end feel in even the smallest of rooms.
“I’ve always thought of the foyer as the heart of the home where you greet family and friends; the dog runs out while the cat scampers in,” said Mahone. “My goal was to create in the visitor’s mind a feeling that is clean, fresh and soothing.”
In homes without quite as grand of an entrance,
guests can still feel instantly welcomed through
carefully selected finishes that will make a lasting impression.
Front Parlor
A much brighter and more colorful palette was used by Elizabeth Harrington of Studio H Home in the front parlor. Reflected through her fabric selections for the curtains, upholstered bench and sofa pillows was a batik print by Thibaut. Harrington selected a timeless blue and white color scheme, and the casual style of the sisal rug blended well with her selection of modern and antique accessories. This transitional style was inspired by an exotic Indonesian influence and is a great example of reflecting one’s travels through their home décor.
“Americans have always been fascinated with Asia and the Far East, so I wanted to bring an East meets West classic modernism to my room,” Harrington said. “Consumers have been exposed to neutrals for several years so I felt this was a nice departure. I wanted to show how one can use color on the walls and neutrals on the upholstery and furnishings.”
Use personal travel experiences to inform your décor; this can be a brilliant way to add unique, cultural influences with a personal flair to any room.
Family Room
Designer Moyanne Harding of Interiors by Moyanne, Inc. was assigned the family room and bathrooms throughout the house. She brought her soothing vision to life by prioritizing layers of texture. Inspired by a European aesthetic, Moyanne mixed antiques with modern pieces, creating a fresh and comfortable room for the entire family. She took the traditional formal dining room and transformed it into a comfortable family room for today’s more casual lifestyle. She enhanced the original woodwork, without compromising the integrity of the architecture, by painting the walls and molding all the same hue, thus modernizing the features. The room’s stunning bay windows became a dual focal point along with the fireplace and were softened with floor-to-ceiling panels adorned in a large jumbo check. Framing the sofa with velvet fretwork pillows, Harding rounded out the room with timeless prints.
“Its closer proximity to the kitchen is an attraction to a family with young children to keep up with,” Harding said. “The soft furnishings are light in color and reflect a Gustavian country style that I love to use, and I have mixed classic Irish case good pieces from my collection.”
By painting the trim, baseboards and molding the same color as the walls, the architecture recedes into a monochromatic color scheme that allows the furniture and accessories to take center stage.
Beverly McCloskey, founder of Beverly McCloskey Designs, used her wealth of design experience to inject fun into the home’s library by accenting the room with rich, modern patterns and textiles. Filled with culture and diversity, this Indian-influenced room was anchored by the vibrant and bold antique Mahal rug that spanned from one wall to the next. McCloskey’s varied use of primary colors, such as cranberry red, gray-blue and gold, transformed these three hues into a palette that works well for children and adults alike, both of which she envisioned utilizing the space.
“I was inspired by the library—especially by its floor to ceiling built-in bookcases and windows,” McCloskey said. “While this room would be for the whole family to enjoy, I imagine it as a cozy spot in the house for adults to enjoy a cocktail and plop down to surf the web or escape in a good book.”
By selecting primary colors from the color wheel, which are often seen in children’s spaces, this room can easily transition from an adult space to a more child-friendly room with just a few accessory changes.

The heart and soul of any home is the kitchen. Chris Hargis’s experience as a kitchen designer with Pinnacle Cabinetry & Design helped him revitalize a dated and dull kitchen. As with any home on the real estate market today, it is the kitchen and bathrooms that truly help to sell a property. Since kitchens are where people spend the majority of their time and are what cost the most money to renovate, a property can move much faster if the kitchen is modernized and appealing in its design. Hargis incorporated the timeless look of white cabinetry, updated the backsplash and installed durable quartz stone countertops. Though granite is the most popular choice on the market today, quartz is arguably the most durable option for kitchens since it is made from one of the hardest minerals on earth.
“I wanted the kitchen in the home to reflect the character and the beauty of the house itself,” said Hargis. “There are many details throughout the home that depict an era of thoughtful planning and detail oriented design.”
A simple and cost-effective way to give a kitchen a facelift is to paint the cabinetry. This is one of the easiest ways to elevate the style of a kitchen on any budget.
Breakfast Nook/ Sunroom
Off the kitchen is a fun and whimsical sunlit space, which typically has more daily use than a formal dining room. Keeping that in mind, Kelly Mortemousque with The Silver Thistle in Boonsboro, wanted to create a fun area where memories could be made. Starting with blue chairs covered in a Dana Gibson fabric, she found inspiration for the entire room. The classic blue and white scheme was the perfect complement to the bold warmth of the red ceiling that draws the eye upwards. Painting ceilings, either a bold hue or a subtle shade, are a great way to prioritize the fifth wall—the ceiling—making it truly standout. Painting ceilings of any scale can also make the room appear larger. Mortemousque’s use of animal print wallpaper created a fresh, neutral backdrop to complement all of the bright red and blue hues in the room.
“I love working with creative people and seeing the end result as a group effort,” Mortemousque said. “I also enjoyed meeting the other designers. . . some were new faces to me, and it was fun to see all the different styles and talent under one roof.”
Don’t be afraid to incorporate a bold color or pattern in unexpected ways. Stepping outside your traditional décor box, by painting ceilings or floors, may lead to surprisingly pleasing results.
Dining Room
The perfect complement to the bright, sunlit breakfast nook is the formal dining room. Betsy Burton, owner of Burton Designs, LLC., tied in fun and colorful elements with a twist of her own. For inspiration, she used her own painted pieces and gold leaf design work. By incorporating pale blues with bold and modern shades of cranberry red, she created a dining space reminiscent of the outdoors that can easily transition for any season. Her brilliant combination of old and new included hand-painted items, modern fixtures and touches of nature. Unique to most dining spaces, she was even able to include a cozy seating corner for intimate and comfortable conversation.
“The pieces I like best are my seating cubes which can be used
as end tables and combined for a coffee table,” Burton said.
“My favorite part of every project is when all the pieces are in place.”
A room’s architecture doesn’t have to define its style. Formal can still be fun! Mixing modern with traditional elements is a contemporary way for a room to transition from feeling pretentious to becoming comfortable and inviting.
Master Bedroom
In contrast to some of the more public spaces of the home, the master bedroom had a more calming palette. For Troy Deacon with Estates & Consignments, the master bedroom was an ideal room to mix modern and classic pieces to form an eclectic yet coherent style to create a soothing retreat. Deacon incorporated pieces all from different estates in and around Lynchburg. By anchoring the room with light and airy linens and neutral colors, he created an atmosphere of peace and tranquility. By repurposing already loved pieces, Estates & Consignments was able to bring new life to an outdated, timeworn space.
“The four-poster canopy bed is the focal point of the room, which was originally a 1980’s craftsman red and has been repurposed and painted to linen white,” Deacon said.
On any budget, refinishing, reupholstering and repurposing old furniture is a classic and affordable
way to breathe new life into a room.
Front Left Bedroom
Kathy Potts of Decorating Den Interiors was tasked with decorating a smaller bedroom to function as a guest room. With a garden theme as her foundation, Potts utilized the colors of nature and spread blues and greens throughout the walls, drapes and bed linens. Inspired by sunshine, Potts brought in pops of orange as an accent color. The floral duvet cover was her central inspiration. Adorned with dragonflies, butterflies and water lilies, the room truly reflects the diversity of nature.
“A guest room should provide your friends and family with comfort and the subtle feeling of ‘getting away’,” Potts said. “The cool backdrop of blue and green scattered with pops of orange will calm and excite your guests at the same time.”
Studying the natural world is a great way
for any novice to learn what patterns,
colors and textures can go together.
Front Right Bedroom
Coincidentally, Tera Auch with Tera Janelle Design also drew inspiration from nature—the Virginia countryside. Her goal in styling the other guest room was to represent a comfortable, pared-back Southern style by incorporating linen fabrics with classic patterns and textures. Her interpretation of a modern style resulted in a comfortable space that is both restful and approachable, allowing guests to relax without feeling cramped or over stimulated. By focusing on textures and finishes above color, Auch’s design draws the eye to the aged woods and polished metals that are present as well as to the worn leather and plaid patterns. With a combination of garage sale finds,
off-the-shelf accessories, and investment pieces, she was able to speak to any budget with her design.
“This home is clearly a grand one, but that doesn’t mean the design has to be pretentious or overdone,” Auch said. “Homes with grand architectural style pair beautifully with simple design. It allows the home’s architecture to take center stage. Those pieces are what give a home a sense of soul.”
Don’t hesitate to mix investment pieces—such as a high quality leather chair and tufted headboard—with more affordable décor, like the floor lamp handmade from salvaged pipe.
Kaycie LaGrone, co-owner of Circa Studio downtown, found the perfect backdrop in nature when setting the stage for her styling of the outdoor areas. Accenting views of the yard by framing the scenery with sheer panels, LaGrone incorporated distinct furniture and accessories, selected for their bold contrast of blacks, whites and turquoise, and making the porch area more eye-catching to arriving guests.“Winter played a large role in our side porch design,” LaGrone said. “When selecting pieces to display, we had to make sure they would be durable enough to withstand the elements while still making a visual statement.”
Porches and patios can offer unique challenges
since the furniture and accessories need to be
weather resistant. Today’s market has many beautiful
fabrics, furnishings and area rugs available that can
transition for both indoor and outdoor use.
Haley Pavao, owner of Pastiche Interiors of Pastiche at Main, created the Modern Gentleman’s basement, a classic, yet trend-setting room in today’s culture. Taking it a step above a “man cave,” she invoked a sense of nostalgia by incorporating vintage pieces all locally sourced. By repurposing brass lighting, industrial wood furniture and unique trunk side tables, she created a space that felt natural for everyday living. Adding structure and function to an often-overlooked room, the custom painted fireplace directs attention to the focal point of any entertaining space—the television.
“Most times as a designer you get to suit the taste of the client and use their furnishings,” Pavao said. “It was unusual and really enjoyable to choose the items I thought would appeal to the broad spectrum of men and women. My main goal was creating a warm, laid back atmosphere that felt natural to the space and inviting.”
Taking the time to purposefully design even the common rooms in your home can lead to an
elevated style throughout and make you more appreciative
of the spaces you have.
To learn more about the next Lynchburg Design House or the services of the YWCA, please visit: or

Heather Cravens is a Lynchburg native with 10-years of experience in the interior design industry, including owning Becoming Designs. Heather is passionate about creating environments that inspire and build families through the hospitality of their homes. She mirrors that passion with her own family by spending time with her husband and their one-year old son.