The Wades lived in their 1935 Hampton Gardens home for eight years before embarking on an extensive kitchen and great room renovation that transformed the back of the house. (Photo by Barry Fitzgerald)
It had the potential to be an awkward marriage, the union of a stately old brick Tudor and a vaulted, airy addition crafted in wood and glass.
But creative architectural design and the homeowners’ clear vision produced a complementary match between the Hampton Gardens home and its new kitchen/great room. The rear addition, a graceful segue between indoors and outdoors, is barely visible from the street.
“We just didn’t want to have a big box on the back,” says Margaret Wade, a Richmond real-estate agent who shares the home with her husband, oncologist Dr. Seaborn M. “Donny” Wade, their son Mac, 15, and daughter Liddy, 13.
Along with the construction of the multi-purpose room, the renovation flipped the existing living and dining rooms and included the installation of a powder room, mudroom and coat closet in the old kitchen’s space.
Dramatic metallic wallpaper in Bridget Beari’s Buscemi pattern makes a bold statement in the powder room. (Photo by Barry Fitzgerald)
The addition was completed in spring 2014, eight years after the Wades bought the home. The house has classic Gothic-Tudor-English Revival features and an easy flow, but its Achilles heel was a dark, narrow little kitchen.
“I really didn’t like to be in there,” Margaret says, laughing. Her friend Kristi Lane, principal of Visible Proof, the Cary Street architectural/design firm that birthed the new addition, adds, “She didn’t like to cook and I was like, ‘Well, no wonder!’ [The new kitchen] should encourage her to entertain more.”
A challenge was how to gracefully connect the new wing to the house. “You always worry that the addition will look like it ate the original house,” Lane says. Using matching materials wasn’t a priority. “Tudor brick and slate is expensive and heavy,” she says. “[Margaret] really didn’t want that feel. We built it out of wood (Hardie board siding), with lots of doors and windows, kept it light and also kept the price-point down.”
A massive custom lantern from Lowcountry Originals required three men to hang and features real wax on the outside of the electric candles. (Photo by Barry Fitzgerald)
On the interior, old and new were united by a glass gallery, an interstitial walk-through space that builds drama as you enter the kitchen/great room. Your eyes immediately are drawn to the cathedral ceiling buoyed by decorative framing trusses and lit by a massive light fixture that required three men and a 30-foot ladder to hang.
For years, Margaret had planned what she calls “a big girl kitchen,” clipping photos from magazines and making mental notes as she showed clients some of Richmond’s most beautiful homes. With the renovation, her wishes came to life.
The new kitchen features tall white cabinets, stainless appliances, double sinks, an island with a Carrara marble top and a gray-and-white arabesque tile backsplash. The symmetrical work area is flanked by deep pantries that house the old kitchen’s refrigerator and some of its cabinets.
A vaulted ceiling with wooden trusses and clerestory windows combine to create an open, airy kitchen in Margaret and Donny Wade’s Hampton Gardens home. The dramatic pendants are from Visual Comfort. The countertops are Carrara marble, and the backsplash is from Daltile. Ben Moomaw of Wichello General Contracting built the custom cabinets. The rattan counter stools are from Restoration Hardware. (Photo by Barry Fitzgerald, styling by Courtney Crane Dauer)
A dining table and four chairs were relegated to a corner of the great room once the Wades decided to devote central footage to relaxation space. “Donny really wanted that family gathering space,” Margaret says, a place where he could decompress after difficult days with patients.
“Everyone likes to be in this room,” Donny says. A 60-inch TV hangs above the stone fireplace; a reclaimed railroad tie serves as the mantel.
The room is painted and furnished in soothing creams, grays and whites. It has the look of an orangery — a bright, airy garden room with large windows and three sets of French doors painted dark greenish-brown so the mullions recede. The doors open onto two new terraces, one with a fireplace and outside dining table.
The great room addition designed by Kristi Lane of Visible Proof features three sets of doors that connect the bright and airy room to the outdoors. The family gathering space is furnished in a soothing neutral palette that puts the spotlight on the lush greenery outside. Furniture is upholstered in durable indoor/outdoor fabric for stress-free living. (Photo by Barry Fitzgerald, styling by Courtney Crane Dauer)
The space can flex from big to intimate or indoor to outdoor with minimal effort. Wheeled indoor/outdoor dining furniture from Restoration Hardware can be swapped between the great room and terrace. “It’s not formal,” Lane says. “They really wanted it to appear casual and comfortable.” The rolling furniture also makes it easy to clear the floor so that Liddy’s friends can line up their sleeping bags for overnight parties, Margaret says.
The renovation included the addition of a new outdoor living space, complete with a fireplace and ample room for entertaining. Virginia Hope at Greenhouse II designed the container plantings. (Photo by Barry Fitzgerald)
The seven-month project was completed with the Wades living largely undisturbed in their existing home. During construction, “Our goal is always, if possible, to have people essentially open the door to their new building and not lose any of the amenities of the house,” says builder Ben Moomaw, owner of Wichello General Contracting. Once the addition was complete, Moomaw’s crew razed the old kitchen and finished its replacement spaces in about four weeks.
The Wades have hosted several fundraisers, a supper club and other events, living up to a promise to entertain more. Although the expansion is a rousing success, Margaret admits she still isn’t cooking that much. “Takeout works well in this kitchen, too,” she says.