Sarah Walor photos
When Rob Womack and Catherine Roseberry, the artists behind the one-of-a-kind painted furniture of Coloratura, decided to buy their 1830s farmhouse 20 years ago, they knew they were committing to major renovations. "It was unique and very old — we felt like we had to do it justice," Roseberry says.
Luckily, Womack and Roseberry are art and restoration experts. For the past 28 years, they've used antique furniture as a canvas for their original art. The couple selects well-designed pieces of furniture from the past that can't be restored to their original state, carefully researches the period when they were made and uses the information that they find as inspiration to turn each one into a work of art.
They apply the attention to detail found in their work to the items in their home as well. "We are connected to everything through art history or our history or our family history," Roseberry says. Rather than focusing on matching the décor to the house's architecture, they have filled their home with items they love from a variety of eras, making for a creative, meaningful style.
Anderson Johnson paintings
Womack and Roseberry bought several of this Newport News artist's folk-art pieces after meeting him in person. They love the way that Johnson depicts faces in his art.
Womack wasn't able to preserve the original black paint, so he repainted the fireplace and then distressed it to mimic the original.
Coloratura Coffee Table Womack and Roseberry often put finished pieces in their home until they sell them. They like how the modernist styling of the 1950s coffee table that Womack painted contrasts with the 19th-century feel of the rest of the room.
Roseberry and Womack found this piece the first time they visited one of their favorite shops, Squashapenny Junction in Doswell. "We both looked at it and said, ‘1930s,' " Womack says. "It was probably made as a prep piece for a bronze."
Elie Nadelman Plaque
This horse plaque is a piece by major American sculptor Elie Nadelman, who worked from the early 1900s through the 1950s. The couple found it at Ouroboros Art Pottery and African Arts owned by Sylvia Regelson at Antique Village in Mechanicsville. Regelson's shop is one of their favorite places to look for art and antiques.
Linvel Barker Cat
The couple used to be involved with the Folk Art Society of America. When Womack saw Barker's work, he wrote to him and asked him to make a sculpture: "I think it's really elegant," he says of the cat.
Since moving in, Womack has carefully removed layers of paint and restored three of the house's original pine doors to reflect their original finish, meant to resemble tiger maple. Each one took hours to complete. He also carefully stripped away layers of paint on the doorframes to reveal the original soft-gray milk paint: "It's a really
Beth Jasper Bird-Rattle Sculpture
Much of the art in the couple's home was made by artist friends. One evening when Womack and Roseberry were at the Jaspers' house sculpting with clay, Beth Jasper made the bird. After she glazed and fired it, she gave it to them as a gift.