Over the past 10 years, Richmond’s first — and only — glossy shelter magazine, R•Home, has published 56 issues, providing an inside look at hundreds of Richmond-area houses and the people who call them home. In celebration of our 10th anniversary, we are sharing some of the most memorable homes. We even checked back in with the homeowners and found that, for the most part, these beautiful spaces have stood the test of time.
Year 1 - Winter 2006
Homeowners: Jim and Sandra Starkey; Architect: Chris Fultz; Photographer: James West
The house is situated on a rolling ridgeline overlooking the James River. Architect Chris Fultz designed the structure to maximize the river views. (Photo by James West)
Our first issue featured Jim and Sandra Starkey’s contemporary tree house overlooking the James River. Designed by architect Chris Fultz, the sprawling home is anchored by a central hearth from which the kitchen, great room and dining room radiate.
Jim says that little has changed about the home since it was built in 2001, with the exception of some new furniture. Though all of his previous homes have been more traditional, Jim says he has thoroughly enjoyed living in the contemporary structure with its expansive views of the river. “There’s always been quite a bit of interest in this house,” he says. “The architect still brings potential clients by to see it.”
Year 2 - Spring 2007
Homeowners: Janie and John Molster; Designer: Janie Molster; Photographer: Thomas Kojcsich
Layered tribal rugs in spicy hues make a big impact in the small spaces. (Photo by Thomas Kojcsich)
Bold, graphic wallpaper and the saturated colors of tribal rugs defined the entry to interior designer Janie Molster’s near West End home when we visited in 2007. Though she had the wallpaper custom made in 2001, she says it no longer hangs on the walls. “I see this all the time,” she says. “Not just with my own self, but with my clients and the projects we’re working on. People’s tastes continue to evolve and change.” Today, instead of black-and-white wallpaper, black-and-white artwork hangs on the walls, which are now covered in a pale gray textured paper. “I toned it all down and it’s much quieter,” Molster says of the new entry, which features a neutral rug and a “more edgy” Midcentury light fixture of Lucite and glass. She’s repurposed the rugs and chandelier in other rooms, testament to her advice to “buy and use things you love.”
Year 3 - June 2008
Homeowners: Deborah and Thomas Valentine; Designer: Deborah Valentine; Photographer: Kip Dawkins
A clear glass backsplash is sleek and easy to clean. the island top is made from pine floor joists salvaged from a Fan home. (Photo by Kip Dawkins)
Thomas and Deborah Valentine added this 600-square-
foot kitchen to their home in 2007 and have thoroughly enjoyed cooking and entertaining in the space ever since. “I probably would not do anything differently if I could do it again,” Deborah says. “I might be inclined to put in a more contemporary light fixture, but I do like the big lanterns that are in there.”
Purchased from Scott’s Antique Market in Atlanta, Deborah says she was told the lanterns originally hung at the Cloister at Sea Island in Georgia before it was renovated. They are a signature element in the kitchen’s rustic-meets-modern design, as is the stone facing on the massive island, a detail Deborah says was husband Thomas’ idea. It ties in with the stone that surrounds the swimming pool that is visible through the kitchen windows.
Deborah, who previously practiced interior design in Richmond and owned the shop V for the Home, closed her doors in 2013 and is now “enjoying retirement.”
Year 4 - Jan./Feb. 2009
Homeowners: Freddie and Lawrence Gray; Designer: Amanda Nisbet; Photographer: Patricia Lyons
Amanda Nisbet designed the onyx coffee table. Local metalsmith Brad Robinson fabricated the base. A Robert Stuart painting reflects the yellow and green color palette of the inviting room. (Photo by Patricia Lyons)
Freddie Gray says her sunny living room hasn’t changed since we photographed it in 2009. “It still feels fresh to me,” she says. “Every time I walk into that room it still makes me happy.” With a palette inspired by her upbringing in tropical and glamorous West Palm Beach, Florida, the inviting room exudes warmth. Yellow can be a tricky color, but here, Gray got it right with Benjamin Moore’s “American Cheese.” Longtime friend and well-known New York interior designer Amanda Nisbet helped Gray with the design, which has stood the test of time. “Everybody loves gathering in that room,” Gray says. “It is still as warm and welcoming as it was the day it was finished.”
Year 5 - Nov./Dec. 2010
Homeowner: 2010 RSOL Designer House at Rothesay; Designers: Kevin Malone and Kathy Morgan of Williams & Sherrill; Photographer: Barry Fitzgerald
Before the room was transformed for the Symphony Designer House, the walls and lattice were all painted the same shade of pale green. (Photo by Barry Fitzgerald)
Kevin Malone of Williams & Sherrill jokes that the painter is still recovering from the task of painting the lattice in the sunroom of the 2010 RSOL Designer House. That lattice detail is what drew Malone to the room. “It was just so beautiful and needed to come back to life,” he says. “When we put that dark blue and white on it, it gave it so much depth it was amazing.” Malone recalls that he and co-designer Kathy Morgan received much positive feedback from designer house visitors. “People would walk in and actually say, ‘Wow,’” he says. Malone adds that many of his clients were interested in replicating the look after visiting the Designer House, but that once they learned how expensive it is for a trim carpenter to build lattice, they changed their minds. “We got a lot of geometric and lattice wallpaper jobs from it,” he says.
Year 6 - Jul./Aug. 2011
Homeowners: Neil and Jamie Gregory; Designer: Suellen Gregory; Photographer: Todd Wright
The vintage sign was a Christmas gift to Neil from her mother-in-law, interior designer Suellen Gregory. Neil, a graphic designer, creates letterpress stationery. (Photo by Todd Wright)
Neil and Jamie Gregory’s first child was born a few months after we photographed their urban Manchester loft. When
their son was about 7 months old, they moved to Bellevue, a Northside community popular with young families. “We loved [the loft], but the only issue was having a screaming baby and only one room,” Jamie says.
Recently, the couple made another move, this time to a Midcentury split-level in Roslyn Hills, where they recently celebrated the birth of their second child. With the help of Jamie’s mother, interior designer Suellen Gregory, they have begun to settle in with much of the same furniture that filled the loft. The shelving has been rebuilt in the new space, in Jamie’s favorite configuration yet.
Still, Jamie says they miss Manchester and wish it had been more family-friendly. “Relocating from Chicago, Manchester for us … was basically the place we would have had in Chicago could we have afforded it.”
Year 7 - Sept./Oct. 2012
Homeowners: Jennifer and Graham Gardner; Architect: Original home: Demetrios Mavroudis; Renovation: Michael Shearman; Photographer: Kip Dawkins
The late architect Michael Shearman designed a renovation that allows the family to feel like they are outside, even when they are inside the house. (Photo by Kip Dawkins)
Widely known as “the igloo house,” Jennifer and Graham Gardner’s Cherokee Road home is one of the area’s most distinctive modern structures. Over the years, the couple has worked to transform the architectural oddity into a functional — and fabulous — house that suits the active lifestyle of their family of five. Since the house was featured in the magazine, Jennifer says they have added a music lounge, complete with a raised stage, to a corner of the living room (in a space that had formerly been a bathroom). After traveling to China, the couple purchased a replica 7-foot terracotta Chinese warrior that now looks proudly out the window over the James River. Jennifer says people are still curious about the house, but most have gotten used to seeing it from the Willey Bridge. “They have stopped slamming on their brakes as they go by,” she jokes. The Gardners’ next house project will focus on the landscape, although there are no big changes in store. “At some point we have to stop working on the house and just enjoy it,” Jennifer says. “I think that’s where we are right now.”
Year 8 - May/June 2013
Homeowners: Dianne and Bill Nordt; Designer: Dianne Nordt; Photographer: Barry Fitzgerald
The welcoming center hall hints at the scale and architectural grandeur of Riverview, built in 1850. (Photo by Barry Fitzgerald)
Dianne Nordt says that her center hall still looks the same as it did when we photographed it in 2013. “When we first looked at the house, that space just really struck me,” she says. “And to this day, every time I walk in, it stops me. You really feel the age of the house.” The Nordts enjoy opening the doors on either end of the center hall, to allow the river breeze to pass through the house. Serious molding, pediments and dark wood floors speak to the scale and grandeur of the home. Natural light floods the hall from a window above the staircase. Tone-on-tone damask wallpaper, a brass chandelier and a small collection of antiques round out the enduring appeal of this classic space.
Built in 1850, the home, Riverview, encompasses 400 acres of farmland on the north bank of the James River in Charles City County. Nordt raises Merino sheep there and hand weaves blankets in her home studio.
Year 9 - July/Aug. 2014
Homeowners: Katherine and Richard Wintsch; Designer: Koprowski & Associates; Photographer: Ansel Olson
Although the Wintsches built the pool in 2013, it melds seamlessly with the 1920s house and looks as if it had been a part of the landscape for years. (Photo by Ansel Olson)
Though it is only two years old, Richard Wintsch says he and wife Katherine have already made a big change to their pool area, adding a roof over the pergola this past July. “We basically wanted to make it more of an outdoor room,” he says. “We liked being out there so much, we wanted to use it as much as possible.”
The new roof provides shade on sunny days and shelter when it is raining. A new TV in the space also expands the use of the area. “We definitely spend as much time as we can out there,” he says. “Especially in the evenings.”
The Wintsches’ two children have become skilled swimmers, and the pool is a popular gathering spot for family and friends. “We had a big neighborhood picnic this year and a lot of people came back to our house for a swim,” he says. “We love spontaneous events like that.”
Year 10 - July/Aug. 2015
Homeowners: Bill McKenney and Dana Bensinger; Architect: 510 Architects; Photographer: Kip Dawkins
Bill McKenney says everyone asks about the unusual collection of antique hose nozzles displayed above the windows. (Photo by Kip Dawkins)
After living in their newly remodeled Fan home for one year now, Bill McKenney says the house has “worked out better than we thought it would.” The open floor plan has made for easy entertaining, and now that the temperature has dropped, he and partner Dana Bensinger are enjoying the warmth of the fireplaces.
The room still looks the same, he says, and he so far has resisted the urge to add accessories and furniture to the mix — the couple vowed to downsize their possessions when they moved into the house. McKenney says people still comment about the R•Home story which featured their dogs throughout the layout. “They are outside in the front all the time and people recognize them from the magazine.”