Interior Designer Lesa Buckler shares a preview of her newly designed home
By Lesa Buckler
Photos by Kathryn Harrington
We wanted a house that needed to be totally redone to become a jewel box of a home, with all the elements we love. Richard and I have always had newer and larger homes, so when we found this charming but older house in Indian Hills, we viewed it as a blank slate, knowing we would get to make it truly what we wanted. We have literally touched every single surface in the process. I constantly compile files of design ideas, so when I get to bite into a new project like this one, the first thing I do is pull out the files and begin composing classic, beautiful, comfortable spaces.
When it comes to designing my own home, I’m a maximalist: more is more. However, the space to be designed dictates how to use patterns, colors and prints so as not to be overwhelming. With not as many open spaces, older homes need to have rooms that stand on their own, but with a thread that binds them together. We began opening up the house by building an addition that doubled the kitchen’s size with wide French doors that lead out onto the pool deck. Richard’s expertise is designing amazing kitchens and baths, so I gave him ideas and a look book of everything I envisioned, and he made it happen! He oversaw all the construction, including a new master bath, his and her custom closets, a new powder room, expanding the pool decks, roofing, landscaping, tree removal, railings, expanding driveways and so many other things. It truly has been a labor of love.
I describe my style as a modern take on traditional, infused with lots of color and glamour. Everything I design has a classical foundation, and I believe in using pieces, structure and finishes that will stand the test of time rather than anything that is too of the moment. Design aspects that I enjoy implementing are heirloom and antique pieces when they work, great lighting, which becomes like jewelry for a room, velvet upholstery and lots of color accents that heighten visual interest. It’s important to live your daily life but understand that you never have to sacrifice style to do so. For example, having a pool means people, pets and parties, so we made sure the surfaces on everything are very durable and beautiful. For example, the Ralph Lauren indoor/outdoor fabric for the barstools around a large island means no fading, and they simply wipe clean!
There are many favorite design elements in this house, such as the painted ceiling in the sunroom, which is wonderful with the checked tile floor and the palm tree drapery surrounding the room. I also had the kitchen floor painted high gloss black and trimmed entirely with a white Greek Key pattern. The Jim Thompson fabric used for the dining room window treatments brings pattern and art to the space. I painted the dining room pink and included pink velvet captains’ chairs to accompany my velvet and leopard monogrammed dining chairs we’ve had for years and I still adore. The ceiling is papered in a checkered pattern with metallic gold and silver grasscloth. I know not everyone would paint a dining room pink, but hey, I’m a designer and it’s such a fun and festive room.
The formal living room boasts a turquoise velvet sofa trimmed with Greek Key and bullion fringe. Again, Jim Thompson fabric frames the windows, the Italian burl wood table is from the Design Center of the Americas in Miami, the oil above the fireplace hung in Richard’s childhood home and is by Florida artist Harold Newton of the renowned Highwaymen. All is watched over by the keen eye of the hand-painted ceramic tiger I purchased at the Nashville Antique and Garden show from a Palm Beach dealer. I have collected Hermès scarves for years and decided to frame and hang some of my favorites along the stairway and upstairs hallway so I could enjoy them every day. One of the upstairs guest baths has my favorite palm leaf paper, which was going out of production, so I bought the last rolls of it years ago, even before I knew where to use it. I loved it and bought all that was left. When I was planning the design for the bath, I pulled it out, and fortunately, it matched perfectly with the existing tile, and we had just enough to do the walls and the ceiling.
The master bedroom has a soft palette of cream, gold and black that is easy on the eye and incredibly soothing to the senses, which is wonderful when trying to unwind from the day and relax. With all the design, colors, projects and business we do throughout our day, it’s lovely to end the day in a calming space. The master bath has simple Carrara marble with the Greek Key design, which is timeless, and a free-standing soaker tub. The window fabric is Schumacher, and the art is by artist Mary Hong. I use the Greek Key motif throughout our home, and it’s in almost every room. It’s on drapery, furniture, flooring, vanities and even highball glasses. The Greek Key is a symbol of the eternal flow of things or infinity; I like that thought and believe it brings good energy to our home.
When I was asked by The Voice what my favorite aspect of this house is, it was easy to answer: the location. Each of our daughters are five minutes away, the wonderful trees and rolling landscape make it like living in a park, the perfect neighborhood and people and we get to make our house just what we want.
Is a house ever really complete? I think not, so work continues on this house, as we are currently adding a larger front porch, a circular driveway, more landscaping and a new outdoor kitchen. Whether it’s our Louisville home, another vacation home, clients’ homes or even the Details showroom, projects like these make me happy and energized. Richard says I’m never happier than when I have a new project.
Details Furniture Gallery & Design
11816 Shelbyville Rd.
Louisville, KY 40243