Photo by Barry Fitzgerald
A fireplace, adorned with 17th-century blue-and-white tiles from Copenhagen, and a mantel found at Caravati’s, is the focal point in the cozy living room that features Swedish, French, Italian and English antiques.
Kim Faison, owner of Kim Faison Antiques, has always loved Kingcrest Parkway in the Grove Avenue Crest neighborhood. She used to walk her dogs on the street looking for a little house she could transform. In 2009, she finally spied a foreclosure sign in front of one of the mere 38 homes on this two-block street.
A Stately Home
When you see Faison’s newly renovated home on the Historic Garden Week in Virginia tour on April 23, you’ll immediately note her long love affair with antiques. The 1925 Italianate house is filled with 16th-, 17th-, 18th- and early-19th-century furnishings from around the globe.
“Everything is 200 or 300 years old, so I think it all works,” she says.
Faison lived in the basement while the house underwent extensive renovations. In the dining room, she knocked out the wall and removed a small door, replacing it with French doors leading to her kitchen and family room. A Swedish table with Tuscan chairs, along with Italian, Dutch and French pieces, dance around the space like an international smorgasbord. A friend painted a pattern on her kitchen floor that was inspired by an antique charger. A sophisticated range backsplash made of 18th-century delft tiles form a framed portrait of Rembrandt’s wife. The powder room and other bathrooms received an upgrade with sinks tucked into antique chests of drawers.
“The family room had a vaulted ceiling and a skylight that just didn’t go with the house,” Faison says, “so I dropped the ceiling to give the room more warmth.” This room also features an international blend of furnishings — including some with provenance. Faison has owned the 18th-century black lacquered blanket chest since she was young. Inside is the name of the former owner, Lady Winnifred Shea. A big-screen TV is tucked into a French armoire, which sits next to an Italian secretary. A rare, tall case 18th-century Swedish Gustavian clock dominates one corner. Adding to the continental mix is needlework from the 1700s preserved under the glass-top coffee table.
French doors from the family room lead to a stone terrace Faison added to dramatically transition from home to garden. Lilacs, English laurels, azaleas, roses, peonies, hellebores and oak leaf hydrangea outline a curved walkway.
In the living room, an antique, Flemish four-panel screen is displayed on the wall above the sofa. Delft tiles, c. 1600, form the fireplace surround.
Faison frequently trades items between her Grove Avenue antiques shop and her Kingcrest Parkway home, one of the many perks of working in the antiques business.
Another perk is that Faison gets to travel the world — sometimes with her mother and son.
Faison opened her first antiques shop in a little yellow bungalow at 5608 Grove Ave., just across the street from her current store at 5605 Grove. She used to stand outside and wait for her children to walk home from school at 3:30 p.m. When they arrived, she would close the shop and they would go home together.
“When they got older, I wanted to stay open until 5, so I told them if they would do their homework from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in the shop, I would give them 5 percent of any proceeds,” she says. “They’d be working on an antique dining table, and a customer would come in and say, ‘This is an interesting table,’ and they’d jump up and fondly touch the table making sure the customer could get a good look. It’s no wonder my son, Ben [Cochrane], is in the business today.”
Like her son, Faison grew up as the child of a dealer. Her mother, Caroline Faison, still has an antiques store in Greensboro, North Carolina, and Ben works alongside his grandmother.
When they travel abroad together, it’s all about the shopping. “We go to fairs in the South of France, Stockholm, England… I’ve been going for 35 years,” Faison says. “I’m not shopping here in my own backyard.”
And when she’s invited into the home of a client or friend who has one of her finds, she greets the piece like a long-lost friend. “I say, ‘Hello, child of mine,’” she says. “I just love antiques. They are in my blood.”
Garden Week Planner
The Garden Club of Virginia’s Historic Garden Week in Virginia runs from Saturday, April 18 through Saturday, April 25 in various locations around the state. Richmond-area tours include:
Saturday, April 18: Ashland
Wednesday, April 22: Hermitage Road area
Thursday, April 23: Kingcrest Parkway area
Friday, April 24: Cary Street Road corridor
Tuckahoe Plantation in Goochland also will be open April 22 through 24. Homes and gardens are open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tour ticket prices vary by location and range from $15 to $50 per tour. Tickets can be purchased at a discount in advance or on the day of the tour. For details, visit vagardenweek.org.