Not only would rooms need to change functions in order to accommodate the needs of kids, there was a larger design challenge at play. “Holly respected [the previous owner’s] aesthetic, but could see beyond it,” says Conroy. Exuberant yet formal, the house as it was included a number of eccentric touches.
For example, there was the first-floor bedroom suite, where Wood’s taste for chinoiserie was given free rein. Doors to the bathroom, for example, are made of Chinese screen panels that Conroy had helped locate at Oyster House, then fitted out with mirrors. The walls are covered with black wallpaper in a chinois pattern, and the double vanity is constructed from repurposed Chinese vanities finished in black lacquer. Trim in the bathroom—and the walls in the bedroom—are painted a color that Conroy calls “peanut butter.”
It works—in a lovably flamboyant way. But it’s not for everyone, and didn’t immediately align with the Davises’ prevailing tastes. Rather than going for the quick redo, though, they decided to take their time.
“We tried to take more modern things and figure out how to make them work with the chinoiserie,” Holly says. “I feel like it’s a neat marriage. It makes me do things in a different way than I would have.”
In this bedroom, for example, the existing décor is now offset by a serene Abby Kasonik painting hanging over the contemporary Crate & Barrel bed.
As for the raucous bathroom wallpaper, the Davises have found it more livable than they expected. Kevin Davis, an architect and UVA professor, is “metal and glass, modern modern modern,” says Holly. “But he says he doesn’t even notice it anymore.”