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By Elaine Markoutsas | Photo: by Werner Straube | January 31, 2018
Some fine-tuning by Julia Buckingham takes a Southport Corridor home to a new level of comfort and sophistication.
The more time, energy and money that Lisa Radomski invested into her custom-built brick-and-limestone home in the Southport corridor, the more passion she had for it. Some decisions were more tedious than fun, but she looked forward to the day she could settle in and call her home done. Still, in spite of all her enthusiasm and self-educating, she realized she needed help choosing the right furnishings, lighting, accessories and art that could elevate the space to one she couldn’t wait to return to after a long day’s work as a financial wealth manager.
“Lisa not only had the vision and passion,” says interior designer Julia Buckingham, “she is proficient in all of the terminology, but she had put her life on hold, making all of the decisions herself. She was totally immersed—and by this point overwhelmed and confused.” As the designer sized up her new client, she says, “It was obvious that blue was important, specifically a certain turquoise—almost the color of her eyes.” So Buckingham incorporated blues and silvery grays throughout the interiors of the 4,000-square-foot home, along with a yin-yang balance in tailored treatments paired with glamorous textures and sheens.
In the living room, a striking limestone fireplace creates a focal point—“I spotted this slab of limestone early in the design process,” says Radomski, “and knew I wanted to create a floor-to-ceiling focal point.” But when it came to furnishing the rest of the small space, she wasn’t immediately sold on Buckingham’s insistence on four chairs instead of conventional sofas. “Of the three or so layouts, it wasn’t my first choice,” says Radomski. “I was thinking a love seat and a couple of chairs. Now I wouldn’t do it any other way.” Buckingham agrees it isn’t a traditional furniture placement, “but a sofa and two chairs would chop the space,” explains the designer. The four chairs center the room and ground it, making the space feel larger and perfect for conversation.
Since Radomski loves to entertain, a formal dining room was in the plan, but that meant dealing with an off-kilter tray ceiling. “We had to reconfigure the ceiling to make sense of the room,” says Buckingham. “There are two small doors on either side—the room is essentially a pass-through. So we had to be careful where the table was centered.” Now, it is one of Radomski’s favorite spaces and is filled with eclectic materials and moody art.
In the crisp all-white kitchen, onyx backsplash tiles offer a hint of blue shimmer as they catch the light, while 5-inch-wide white-oak plank floors are a warm contrast. Buckingham designed a built-in banquette, which sits beneath a window opposite the island. A weathered reclaimed-oak table with bronze legs paired with silver bamboo chairs strikes a cool balance.
A more casual cottage vibe was incorporated in the family room, with a classic skirted sofa upholstered in cotton velvet and natural split rattan chairs that keep the look fresh. A vivid geometric rug anchors the seating, and blues are repeated in the pillows. Buckingham designed a Roman shade that stretches across the glass wall. “It really warms the space,” she explains. “You don’t want to block the view, and there’s not a lot of wall space, so the fabric actually feels more like a piece of art.”
Radomski gives full credit to Buckingham for the mix of fabrics, which set an especially elegant tone in the master bedroom. The bed is upholstered in a gray cotton velvet, while blues are introduced in a cut velvet with a circular repeat on the tufted ottoman, paired with a splashy print on the window shades. “She did such a great job. If I were doing it myself, it would be totally matchy-matchy,” Radomski admits. “Lisa had just seen a small sample, and we all said it reminds us of Van Gogh’s ‘The Starry Night,’ which is one of her favorite works of art,” says Buckingham.
Now that Radomski is satisfied and settled, she can look at the details and marvel. “It’s fun when you feel like, ‘Oh! I got that right!’”
CURREY & CO.
Coquette chandelier in dining room and Fantine chandelier in master bedroom
Window fabric in master bedroom
Manoa rug in living room
Swivel chairs in living room and ottoman in master bedroom
Suzanne Kasler benches in foyer and Wellesley bed in master bedroom
Great Plains and Mokum Kabuki fabrics for sofa frame and cushions, dining room chairs and Pierre Frey fabric in master bedroom
JULIA BUCKINGHAM FOR GLOBAL VIEWS
Tide side tables in living room, black Earring lamps in dining room, Bracelet vases in dining room, white-and-gold Bracelet vase in living room, blue Teardrop vase in kitchen
Cocktail table in living room, nightstands in master bedroom
Barclay lounge chair in master bedroom
Glass bubble lamps in master bedroom
Villa Nova fabric in office, Zinc and Iridos fabrics in master bedroom
Cordoba Star fabric on living room windows