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Joel designed the custom-made columns that adorn the front of the home and help return it to its Midcentury roots. In the evening light, they add an unexpected detail that adds warmth and character to the exterior. (Photo by Kip Dawkins)
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The strong rectangular shape of the family room required a creative solution. “Amy knew right away what should go where in this room,” Anne says. There are four distinct areas — dining around a Saarinen table, comfortable seating around the fireplace and a music space with a baby grand piano, plus a bar. Portraits of the children are by Jamie Pocklington, fireplace tools are from the 1950s and casual rugs are from Dash & Albert. (Photo by Kip Hawkins)
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Stairs from the front door lead up to the main level of the house. The planter on the right had been covered up by previous owners but has been returned to service. The burl wood credenza, from Lewis Trimble, is topped with matching lamps and family photos. The expansive Chinese screen, which hangs above, belonged to Amy, who gave it to the McCrays because it was perfect for the space. (Photo by Kip Dawkins)
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Pastel-toned paintings by Laura Talley from Palette warm the dining area in the family room. The lamps are by Stray Dog Designs. (Photo by Kip Dawkins)
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Anne and Joel McCray (left), with friend and co-designer Amy Pocklington, relax in the family room bar area, the space that made it to the finals of a Domino magazine competition last fall. They crafted the glowing look with a warm Tidewater cypress bar top, tropical wallpaper from Cole & Son and pink herringbone fabric on the vintage bar stools.(Photo by Kip Dawkins)
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The McCrays brought the dining room table with them from their old house and added new chairs from Verve Home Furnishings, where they also found the driftwood sconces. The wind chime chandelier reflects light from the large picture window with its view of lush woods. (Photo by Kip Dawkins)
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Joel’s masculine, wood-paneled study is a favorite spot to enjoy a nightcap. (Photo by Kip Dawkins)
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Brightly lit by a wide western window, the living room is more friendly than formal. The 120-inch-long sofa was bought from the previous owners, then recovered in soft blue velvet. The chairs were brought along by the McCrays and recovered with leopard and coral fabrics. Because Joel loves to tend a crackling fire, they removed gas logs and returned the fireplace to wood burning. The soft colorful rug from ABC Carpet & Home is made of silk saris. The sofa pillow fabric is from Pierre Frey, the mirror is from Verve Home Furnishings and the atomic floor lamp is from Lewis Trimble in Kilmarnock. (Photo by Kip Dawkins)
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We started with the silk curtains,” says Amy of the tranquil color scheme of the master bedroom. Soft hues and textures are the key components of the space, which is the preferred napping spot for the family’s Walker coonhound, Clyde. The 1980s brass headboard and lacquered bedside tables continue the retro theme of the house. (Photo by Kip Dawkins)
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The McCrays chose a Chinoiserie look for this bathroom adjacent to the main entry. Thibaut wallpaper, a decorative mirror and sconces, and a custom-made vanity give it a sophisticated ambience. (Photo by Kip Dawkins)
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Vintage bamboo twin beds from Circa Who in West Palm Beach, a bright green table, soft chenille rug and monogrammed linens create an oasis for daughter Meredith. (Photo by Kip Dawkins)
When Anne and Joel McCray left their traditional Georgian home on Kingcrest Parkway for a 1959 contemporary tri-level perched on a ridge south of Cary Street, they knew things would be different. Rather than imposing their previous home’s traditional aesthetic on their new Midcentury structure, they fully embraced the opportunity to start anew.
Back to its Roots
With enthusiastic assistance from their friend Amy Pocklington, a plan was hatched and the McCrays set about returning the house to its original Midcentury roots. Out went Colonial touches like crown molding and wainscoting as well as exterior shutters, recessed lighting and mullions in windows and doors. In came a few practical updates such as adding an island in the kitchen and closets in the master bedroom. Discovered in the process was a classic 1960s built-in planter in the living room — it now holds a lush indoor garden of swordlike mother-in-law tongue greenery. “We put a lot of effort into getting the house back to its original look,” Pocklington says. The result — a bright, colorful and comfortable family nest for four — earned them a finalist ranking in Domino magazine’s national design competition contest last fall.
Having made those initial structural and cosmetic changes, the trio of lawyers (Anne works for McGuireWoods, Joel for Sands Anderson, and Pocklington for Ogletree Deakins) made time in their busy schedules to start sourcing furnishings. The 5,000-square-foot house with five bedrooms and four baths was begging to be filled with Midcentury pieces, and Pocklington, whose off-duty passion is interior design, knew where to find the goods.
“We took shopping trips to New York, Charlottesville and West Palm Beach,” says Anne, “and we purchased many things from Verve Home Furnishings [Richmond] and online at 1stDibs, Chairish and eBay.” By casting a wide net, they were able to find the quality and quantity of lighting, art, furniture and fabrics that they needed, Pocklington adds.
Space to Spread Out
Part of the beauty of the house, in addition to its spectacular Midcentury decor, lies in the multiple spaces for the McCrays and their children, Griffin and Meredith, to entertain and just be. On the main level is their sunny living room with wood-burning fireplace, extra-long sofa (that conveyed with the house) and deep-seated chairs that welcome guests, readers and nappers. Adjacent is their dining room, lit by a large picture window with a view of leafy woods behind the house. “The dining room is mainly where we do puzzles,” Joel says. One level down is a spacious 60-foot-long family room with another fireplace and more cozy seating, plus a casual dining area and bar that glows with its wallpaper featuring parrots on a sea of pink. The bar, with its custom cabinetry, Tidewater cypress counter and three stools covered with pink herringbone fabric, is the space that won them their finalist prize in the Domino contest last fall. Just off the family room, is Joel’s favorite spot, a masculine study with wood paneling and low lighting. Late at night, this is where he chats with lingering guests over a nightcap. And last on the hangout list is a kids’ den that opens onto a slate patio and serves as a great place for Griffin and Meredith to watch TV with friends. Truly, places to settle in and enjoy moments alone or with guests can be found in this house from top to bottom.
Upstairs, the McCrays’ master bedroom is a calm combination of soft colors. “We started with the curtains,” says Pocklington of the gold silk drapes. The bed features an ’80s brass headboard with a pink bench at the foot. Light blue lacquered bedside tables topped with pink lamps flank the bed.
Down the hallway, with walls papered in a coral grasscloth, Meredith’s room also reflects the Midcentury vibe. Bamboo twin beds with monogrammed pillow shams are Meredith’s favorite feature of her new room. A leafy pendant lamp, lots of window light and cheery green and pink details make it a happy hideaway for her and her girlfriends. Griffin’s room is still a work in progress, Anne says.
Creative collaborations can often be challenging with differing tastes and opinions, but this one has been a success. Occasionally, Pocklington selected an item that didn’t thrill Anne and Joel and they returned it, but much more often, they were amazed at her choices. “She can walk into a store and start pointing, ‘We’ll have this and this,’ and it’s all just perfect,” Anne says. “We love how it’s turned out, and we’ve had so much fun doing it.” Pocklington agrees, “We have had the best time.”