There was something familiar about the house. The homeowner had grown up in upper Bucks County, Pa., but the colors really reminded her of historical Williamsburg — soft dove gray, palace green, Colonial blue. Beyond the visual sumptuousness of the home’s aesthetic, the house proved to be a remarkable blend of traditional elegance and modern convenience; old and new side by side. Self-assured and quiet, she felt completely at home.

“When I saw the reclaimed barn doors in the great room and the heart pine flooring in the pantry, it just felt like I was home,” says the homeowner. 

And that’s the way it works sometimes. You’re looking for a new house and you stumble into something that reminds you of the past.

When custom-home builder Don Hamrick and interior designer June DeLugas teamed up (again) to design a new home in Buena Vista, one of Winston-Salem’s historical neighborhoods, it’s no surprise they chose to showcase traditional elements in the house.

What is a surprise, though, is how fresh and modern the tried and true seem to be in the hands of a seasoned design team.

Take the home’s “keeping room” — a term that dates back to Colonial times and seems to be making a comeback as an attractive feature in today’s homes. In short, the keeping room is a space adjacent to the kitchen where people can keep the cook company. In Colonial times, it was the warmest room next to the kitchen and where the cook usually ushered family members and guests to keep them out of the way.

Today, the keeping room is the perfect sidekick for this home’s open kitchen, which includes a large island and breakfast room. Antique heart pine gives the space a sense of timelessness and goes a long way to add warmth to the space.

In contrast to the rich amber patina of heart pine, the design team chose to match light blue bamboo geometric wallpaper with complementary curtains of the same exact pattern. It’s something that was done by decorators 30 years ago, says DeLugas. Still, add a few well-placed fixtures throughout the house — a gold patina pagoda lantern in the foyer, a hand-painted Oriental lamp in the office — and the 18th-century Far East seems to come alive and be right at home.

All through the house, a simple white palette of Benjamin Moore colors cover the walls and custom trim. Brilliant quartz countertops in the kitchen, laundry room, and butler’s pantry complement painted surfaces, and create a canvas for the modern Thibaut fabrics and fixtures used throughout the house.

“Mixing a new structure into a well-established historical neighborhood takes planning,” DeLugas says.

Understanding their market, both designer and builder chose to create a house that would attract more of a traditionalist, someone for which the classic and elegant aesthetic took precedence. It doesn’t hurt that the home also possesses a sense of permanence despite its many up-to-date conveniences.

Creating a home with great style, one both beautiful and efficient, is no simple task. We want a home to serve as both sanctuary and refuge; also to respond to our varied needs: family rooms, kitchens with the latest appliances, bathrooms featuring every luxury, home offices full of high-tech equipment, and great spaces to entertain guests. Most of all, we want our homes to express personal style, rewarding us with both physical comfort and visual pleasure.

For this month’s homeowner, the award-winning design team of Hamrick and DeLugas succeeded on all points.

Is it any wonder at all that the homeowner felt like she’d truly come home?

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