When a young couple purchased this formal, colonial-style home in Cherokee Park in March 2020, they knew the house didn’t quite fit their personal style. Over a two-year period, Natalie Officer and Julie Metzinger of Natalie O Design worked collaboratively to develop the interior design, space planning, and renovation detail to transform the formerly traditional space into a more transitional abode.
“Our job was to deconstruct it in an artful way that catered to a much younger and less traditional family structure,” Officer told The Courier Journal. “It was not an approachable home for people who are world travelers, and who have that global reference. We wanted to make it feel comfortable.”
She adds that the homeowners appreciated the original architecture, but didn’t want to feel confined by it. Together, she and Metzinger created a more open and personalized space while honoring the home’s traditional bones.
“We danced playfully with the timeless architecture while [incorporating] current details,” she said.
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“Transition is not easy, no matter who is doing it or why,” Metzinger added. “Our work stretched the span of the pandemic, making both the work and patience for process imperative.”
“The owners are very specific about food,” Officer said, explaining that they wanted the kitchen to open to the indoor dining area as well as the outdoor spaces of the home, including the screened-in porch that was added during the renovation. This allows for al fresco dining on both sides of the house, creating entertaining options on three sides of the kitchen.
“The original dining room had a lovely set of built-in bookcases (that were) removed for the construction of a more open concept,” Metzinger added. “Local furniture maker and master carpenter David Searfoss created and enhanced the original design in collaboration with the [Natalie O Design] team and built custom, cane-front cabinets.”
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These cabinets now store heirloom pieces and other family mementos. The brass fixtures were matched to echo the original design, while the bottom closed-door storage provides tucked-away spaces for games and small craft supplies.
Unique works of art are spread throughout the home. Sometimes the pieces are complemented by bold wallpaper; other times, the wallpaper serves as art itself. The walls of the first-floor powder room, for example, feature bright kumquats.
“We wanted (to use) a fruit, but we didn’t want it to be on the nose, like oranges or lemons,” Officer said. “The kumquats are a conversation (starter).”
In the dining room, a painting of Frida Kahlo by Louisville Artist J. Cletus Wilcox was an early selection made for the home. Both the husband and wife loved the life it brought to the space, especially paired with the bold wallpaper.
“Each piece of art in the home has a story and reason for its use in the space,” Metzinger said. “The vibrant and modern composition [above the living room sofa] was inherited and became a centerpiece of the color palette for the span of the design. … It mirrors the modernity of the redesigned fireplace.”
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Open to the outdoors
Though the interior of the house underwent a major renovation, Officer emphasizes that everything about the home was designed to be open to the weather and the outdoors.
“The dining room,” Metzinger said, “opens with all the grace of an old movie to the large columns that punctuate the expansive veranda on the front of the home, overlooking the park neighborhood and treetops.”
Officer adds that the living room opens to both the front terrace as well as the back hillside gardens and patio; the dining room is accessible from the front terrace and kitchen, with a seating area and bay windows looking out toward the back gardens; and the kitchen opens to the back garden and pool, as well as the three-season room addition.
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The home also features French doors in every room, creating 360-degree outdoor access and an abundance of natural light.
“The home itself is incredible,” Officer said, “[but] the outdoor experience is exceptional.”
nuts & bolts
Owners: World travelers, business owners, and health and wellness enthusiasts live in this home with their young son and Labradoodle.
Home: This is a 4-bed, 3-and-a-half-bath, 4,100-square-foot traditional home classic colonial home in Cherokee Park that was built in 1922.
Distinctive elements: Regal front columns with an expansive veranda; three-season addition dovetailed into the original architecture; artful two-part renovation revised the entry, fireplaces, master suite, kitchen and dining spaces; winding garden and climbing stone staircase plateau atop the terraced space; stunning swimming pool offers play space for children while rivaling the elegant entertaining spaces of the interior; art in the entryway is comprised of hundreds of small leaves in a circular formation.
Applause! Applause! Wilkinson Builders for the dining room and kitchen renovation — which was a complete gut demolition and renovation of the space — along with the recent addition of the three-season screened-in porch; David Searfoss for his master craftsmanship of the custom furniture elements, stunning fireplace make-over, floating shelving, and the walnut gallery framing of the kitchen windows; Dax Shepard for the white oak lap wall application and curved segway in the hallway; Siosi Design team of Bloomington, Indiana, for the entry handrail; Waterworks plumbing fixtures sourced through Willis Klein, who came through and supported the project to completion despite supply chain issues and difficult communication; and the installation team of Natalie O Design for pulling the home together with a renovation at the start of the pandemic.