Classic Cool

A traditional Myers Park home gets an airy, modern, and ravishing renovation.


When Nicole Murch began interviewing builders to help renovate her new home in Myers Park back in 2014, the best way she could explain her vision was this: “I want to the home to look like it fits on the street, but be just that teeny bit different that it’s still a reflection of my personality and style.”

That style: traditional with a modern edge. Though the home she purchased was a circa-1938 red-brick cottage that hadn’t been updated in 25 years, Murch could easily see past the dated finishes through to the three-bedroom home’s classic architectural details and rich character. To help bring her vision to fruition, Murch enlisted the help of designer Karen Futrell, architect Andrew Woodruff, and builders Craig Jackson and Paul Vasseur of Vasseur Home Design. Together, the team brainstormed how to open the floorplan to create a less-choppy layout, which resulted in reconfiguring the kitchen, a task Murch had on the top of her to-do list, along with simply brightening up the home with natural light.

Futrell collaborated with Murch—who had formerly worked at abode design in South End and has a design background—on the interior aesthetic, which the homeowner wanted to be light, airy, and a reflection of her personal style. “Karen really understood what I wanted to achieve with the look of the home,” says Murch. The timeless traditional look with a dose of modernity is throughout the home and presents itself the moment you walk through the front door.

There, the living room features a traditional conversational seating layout, but it’s the pops of color from the orange throw pillows and soft green swivel stools from Darnell & Co. that update the look. A quartet of artwork that’s at once playful and sophisticated exudes Murch’s personal style. “I love riding bikes and even though the room is a little bit more formal, I wanted something that expressed what I love,” she says.

The dining room boasts the same elegant look, though, this time it’s the unexpected chandelier from Arteriors that brings in that modern touch without suffocating the home’s traditional details. At night, passersby can see the soft glow of the lighting through the metal French doors leading out to the covered porch, a touch Murch fell in love with once the chandelier was installed.

But it’s the speakeasy in the basement that best exemplifies Murch’s personal style. “At first I wanted to make it a wine cellar like everyone else,” says Murch, “but then I thought, ‘Whenever I travel I’m always looking up cool speakeasies in each city and I love cool, craft cocktails, so why not create my own speakeasy in my basement?’” With the help of Futrell, Jackson, and Vausseur, the one-time laundry room basement was transformed into a chic, modern speakeasy Murch affectionately named Bar 1919, the year Prohibition ended.

Today, the now-painted white brick home is a far cry from the dated cottage Murch set her eyes on a few years ago. What was once a renovation project has transformed into her home. “When I pull in my driveway,” she says, “I instantly feel happy.”

Photography by Dustin Peck.

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