Home is meant to be a haven, and for a busy couple in the medical field, this was of utmost importance as they embarked on a new construction project in Memphis. As parents of four children, it was important that their home serve as a comfortable and loving environment for their family and friends to enjoy and feel welcome—a place to feel at ease amongst the chaos of day-to-day life.
Though it’s a new construction home and features plenty of bells and whistles (like a scullery, stunning covered porch, and high-end finishes), interior designer Lindsey Black of Lindsey Black Interiors ensured it wouldn’t feel too shiny or “new.” Instead, the space is artfully layered, and features a modern color palette and sophisticated furnishings. The result is an elegant, established space crafted with care. The designer tells us more.
First, we’d love to know more about the house. Where is it located in Memphis?
This home is in Midtown, in the historic Central Gardens neighborhood. The clients loved the architecture of the neighborhood, but wanted the amenities that a new home could offer. Their architect, David Anderson, designed a beautiful home that honored the historic style of the neighborhood while giving the clients those things, such as a large kitchen and scullery, that they couldn’t find in an older home. With the interior design, we also wanted to blend the old and the new and for the home to feel like it belonged in the neighborhood but was also unique to the clients. We avoided heavy trends and stuck to more classic silhouettes and finishes, and mixed those with modern art and lighting to make the spaces feel fresh and current.
What was your scope of work? At what point during construction were you brought on, and what was the collaborative process like with the architect and builder?
I was brought in during the framing stage of the home. While we normally would not accept a new build that had already begun framing, after speaking with the client, I knew the project was special and the clients were a great fit for LBI. I was more than willing to work longer days in the initial months to get caught up and get the work done quickly so as to not delay the build timeline. I also had an established working relationship with their builder, which made getting caught up to speed easier. While I had not worked with architect David Anderson before, I was thrilled for the opportunity.
The collaborative process with the architect, builder, and I could not have been better. The architect and I shared a mutual respect and would often consult together on specific details of the home. The builder was always willing to find a way to give us what we were looking for and had clear communication throughout the project. We had frequent site meetings with everyone present, which kept us all on the same page and helped to make sure plans were executed properly.
The home doesn’t really have elements that scream “brand new.” How do you bring in a bit of patina and history to a new space?
Choosing a foundation of classic elements such as traditional trim work and windows, inset cabinetry, and unlacquered brass hardware immediately makes the home feel established. I also think choosing to paint the trim work and doors a darker, contrasting color to the light walls makes the home feel more historical. Layering beautiful fabrics and artwork, along with mixing in antique and vintage pieces, is key to making the home feel lived-in and gives it the patina so many new homes lack.
How long did the project take, and what did the client say when they saw the finished space? From the initial architectural planning stage to completion, the project took four years. We were involved for about a year and half of that time working on construction selections and the furnishing plan.
For move-in week, we ask the clients not to be present. Installing all of the furnishings, artwork, and draperies took four days! We had candles lit and music playing and a champagne ready for the clients when they walked in the door. We had also incorporated personal photos and accessories throughout the home, so it immediately felt like ‘them.’ We were not present for the reveal – we prefer to allow the clients to experience the home without us so they don’t feel pressure to react in a certain way and can focus on their home and each other.
They face-timed us after seeing it for the first time, and they were overwhelmed! They said it was even better than they had expected or hoped for, which is what every designer hope to hear after a reveal. They sent photos later in the evening of their entire family relaxing in the living room together, which was the best thank you I could hope to receive. The greatest joy in this career is knowing you have exceeded a client’s expectations and have helped them to create a home for their family that is a place they immediately feel comfortable and at a peace.