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In the living room Lesley combines a variety of traditional elements in un- expected ways by mixing pattern, colors and layers of accessories. The unusual curved sofa conveyed with the home. The trunk came from a neighborhood yard sale, and she found the rug on eBay. Photo by Todd Wright
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The Glotzls — Lesley; Ford, 4; Louis, 3; and Jeff — relax beneath a sign Lesley rescued from a defunct Cary-town laundry. The wingback chairs are a Craigslist find: They had been covered with slipcovers for years and were in perfect condition. Photo by Todd Wright
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Here, Lesley mixes it up with a sleek modern sofa, swanky new brass lamps, funky art and a $12 thrift-store recliner. “I don’t want every-thing to be old,” she says. “You’ve got to mix it up. Otherwise, it just looks like a bunch of old stuff.” Photo by Todd Wright
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Lesley used the sailfish as inspiration for the color scheme in her guest room. Photo by Todd Wright
In her youth, Lesley Glotzl never for a minute entertained the ridiculous idea of doing something as uncool as growing up and living in a suburban split-level. Fast-forward a decade or two, add a pair of active, young boys and a husband who works from home, and suddenly that split-level doesn't look so bad. In fact, that split-level becomes the ideal family home.
"The inside of a split-level makes perfect sense," she says. "For young families, they are great. You never need to worry about your kids falling down a big flight of stairs. The bedrooms are all at one end
so you can make a lot of noise at the other end of the house and not bother anyone.
"And I love having a beer fridge downstairs," she adds with a laugh. "It's very suburban and
comfortable." And in the Glotzls' case, anything but conventional.
The couple purchased the 3,200-square-foot Sleepy Hollow home in 2009 from its original owner after Lesley sold Clementine, her Carytown consignment boutique. They loved the family-oriented, centrally located West End neighborhood and were attracted to the livability of the home, with its large rooms offering plenty of space for husband Jeff's home office (he is a photographer and professional retoucher) and for the boys to play.
Because the house was in great condition, the Glotzls have not had to do any major remodeling since moving in. Instead, Lesley, who started her own interior decorating business about a year ago, has focused on outfitting the home in her collected style that combines traditional elements with flat-out funky stuff.
A consummate thrift shopper and bargain sleuth, Lesley says about half of her furniture was purchased on Craigslist. She caught the thrift bug at an early age from a babysitter who would take her to yard sales on Saturday mornings. "I would buy doll clothes and gifts for my grandmother," she recalls. "I was totally taken with it from the beginning."
In high school and while she attended art school at Virginia Commonwealth University, Lesley did nearly all of her shopping in thrift stores. It's what led her to open Clementine in 2003. "I felt like there was no reason every thrift shop had to be run by old women and had to look so institutional," she says. "Clementine was geared toward people my own age who wanted an interesting shopping experience while they were consigning or buying consignment."
In its first weekend, Clementine almost ran out of merchandise. "My parents took me out to dinner to celebrate, and I remember just sitting there and crying," Lesley recalls. Word spread, she was able
to restock and Clementine is now a mainstay in Carytown. She sold the business before her second son was born in 2009 to concentrate on raising her family.
Today, with the boys, Ford, 4, and Louis, 3, becoming more independent, Lesley is again nurturing her entrepreneurial streak by focusing on her design business, though the opportunity to help others decorate their homes was not something she sought. After Richmonders Sherry and John Petersik featured the Glotzls' home on their wildly popular Young House Love blog last year, people reached out to Lesley for her design expertise. They also liked the interiors she designed for Clover and Ashby in Carytown (both consignment shops opened by Clementine's new owners).
"Since my kids were a little older, I decided to go for it," she says. "From the work I did in Carytown, I made a lot of contacts and built relationships with tradespeople like painters and carpenters. You wouldn't call me to do a renovation or addition — I am not going to make a CAD drawing of your kitchen. I am definitely more of a decorator than a designer."
Clients are drawn to Lesley's sharp eye for combining one-of-a-kind thrift-shop finds with new, more modern pieces. "I love the juxtaposition of colors and shapes and like the composition of things," she says. "I love piecing everything together."
Making that mix work can be a tricky business, but Lesley has it down pat. "For something to look cool, you have to have something else that looks like nothing beside it," she explains. "Everything can't be a cool showstopper. You want the really interesting pieces to jump out." Another trick is to mix high with low, say a $10 thrift-store recliner with an upscale, new brass lamp. "You've got to mix it up," she says. "Otherwise, it just looks like a bunch of old stuff."
We asked Lesley Glotzl to share a few of her hot shopping spots:
11088 Washington Highway (Route 1), Glen Allen, 798-0567
"The best antiques and oddities in the area. Amazing prices. Where else can you buy your very own wooden gas mask box for $30 and a French Bergère chair for $80 in the same trip?"
9750 Gayton Road, 750-2200
"An ever-changing selection of antiques, furniture and accessories. Great place to find upholstered furniture that is clean, chic and only a few years old. They often have surprise pieces, too, like a Midcentury chandelier I saw on a recent trip."
"Be specific about what keywords you use to find exactly what you are looking for. If I sat down and counted, I think I'd realize half of my house was purchased on Craigslist!"
5813 Grove Ave., 716-1742
"Amazing selection of paint to change the look of any room, exterior or piece of furniture that needs an upgrade. If you want a lacquer look on a piece of furniture, this is the place to buy the paint. I never realized how vibrant and luxe paint could be until I started shopping here."
"You never know what will come up during one of these twice-weekly vintage flash sales on Facebook. It is fun to refresh the page every few minutes and bid."