We are fortunate to visit a wonderful home today that is a place of enchantment and beauty. Karen Keysar and her husband Bob moved to Charlottesville, Virginia four years ago. They were lured by the lifestyle there and all of the amazing beauty that surrounds them. Karen doesn’t have any full room photos as she is transforming the home now. She does however, generously share many moments of beauty in her home along with her comments.
“Tulips received on Mother’s Day from my daughter. My son, Paul painted the peaches. I watched him paint it in my office when he visited me a few years back. He pick the branch set it up and had it painted in a day.. Which doesn’t happen much. I wish you could see it in person. I had to have it! I love tulips and hydrangeas!”
Karen is still doing design but winding down. She currently is working in North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia and New York. She works mostly still around the Washington, D.C. area as that is where she had her business for about twenty years.
“I started realizing I loved design in my twenties and was offered an internship when a designer saw a few things I had done for some friends. I interned for a few years and then started my own firm and became a member of ASID. I was blessed with a lot of clients around the beltway. I have done a lot of commercial design and residential but really prefer residential. It’s so much fun figuring out the personality of the client and making their home a reflection of them.”
“We had a second place at Wintergreen Resort in the Blue Ridge Mountains and that is where we would escape to once a month from the hectic, busy schedule owning a business. We fell in love with the area and after doing a search up and down the coast decided we wanted to retire in the beautiful Charlottesville area. We purchased twenty one beautiful acres and we were planning on building but this house came up for sale and we took a look at it for fun but felt at home as soon as we walked through it.”
“I knew there would have to be some major changes but it had so much quality as a foundation to build on. It had 150 year old reclaimed pine floors, a copper range hood which we put a beautiful French Lacanche range with. We have a steam shower and heated floors, with a footed tub in the spacious master bath. There are three covered porches and a soap stone patio. We have beautiful winter views of the Blue Ridge mountains as well and are minutes from several vineyards and downtown Charlottesville.”
“The house has almost 6,000 square feet and even though it’s just us…we wanted a place big enough to have our growing family come and stay for long weekends. We have three children and their spouses with eight grandchildren ranging in age from one to fourteen years old! We have a blast here when they all come for cousin weekends. The house has a swing set and firepit tucked in to the woods and a half basketball court tucked over the detached garage…perfect for the family to enjoy and for us to build memories.”
“The last house I had was a colonial revival surrounded by trees and this is a big red farmhouse with a more open plan with lots of windows and natural light. So the feel of the rooms needed to be a bit more relaxed and it called for the colors to be brighter with the lighting. I have always just mixed in antiques and family pieces with comfortable upholstery.”
“I am an anglophile…love England. I adored John Fowler and Nancy Lancaster. My last house has a definite French/English mix with a bit of American in it and I still have that here but with a brighter, more relaxed mix of things. The funniest thing is I live five minutes from Nancy Lancaster’s beloved Mirador. It was her childhood home, owned by her grandfather. She said it was where she learned to love her surroundings. She purchased the house herself at one point. All of her gardens are still intact and her family members’ homes are all nearby as well. I pass it nearly every day and it’s a treat as it is just beautiful.”
“Virginia is a beautiful state, especially in the Piedmont area which is where I live. I am so thankful to live here! It’s a beautiful drive just to the grocery store. There is much to do here as well.”
“This is my previous living room. I am working on recreating our space.”
“Enjoying pink peonies from the garden on this rainy Saturday. The small painting is one my son Paul did years ago.”
Family room will be going through changes.
“I think this is going to be it. Loving the fresh greens! Neutral sofas ordered, as are brown buffalo check slipped chairs with grass green welt. Baily Rose added in and I have to use that Parish-Hadley trellis somewhere!”
“I obviously went through a bad addiction period (with majolica). I have it all over the house! I do enjoy it. I love green and anything with leaves. I am also in love with blue and white. If if you look, I have it all over as well. Blue and white looks good anywhere and with anything!”
“Library table. This is my old kitchen table that I had made years ago. It was way too small in the space here so I had to have a 9′ table made. This worked perfectly and I’m glad to keep using it.”
“Because of the way the numbers are painted on the face of the clock, it appears to be from around 1800-1810. Back in the day the “works” and painted face came from England and the case was typically made in the US. The reason being, so many damaged traveling across the sea. I know by the markings that the works, etc are from England.. made by a well known family that made them during this time period. Not sure on the case. It could be as well. It’s a beautiful mahogany with the brass finial. The face has the beautiful paintings showing different scenes that change seasonally. It has all its parts and works well but I do need to get it serviced. I love a chiming clock!”
“Finally Peonies! From my garden to the foyer this morning.”
This picture was taken on an evening walk here in Virginia.
“This picture shows my pantry which is stocked with lots of blue and white vases, bowls, plates and serving pieces collected over time. I love blue with green!”
“A cheery cyclamen in the kitchen for winter.”
“I was cooking up chicken noodle soup and chocolate chip cookies…Everyone was sick!”
“Beautiful flowers from daughter and family.”
“This cat is the sweetest thing. We have always been golden retriever owners and haven’t had cats. She was a feral cat that found us and is very loving and sweet. She has added a lot of love to our house like pets will do! We are glad she found us. We have never been a cat family but we adore this little kitty. Our kids (who are dog lovers only) think we’ve lost it!”
“Blue hydrangeas dried to enjoy through the winter in my kitchen.”
“The other night, after the storm at sunset. There was so much fog and a mist covering everything earlier and when it rose it caused the sky to be so blue. I pulled over just to watch the sun set. It was beautiful and surreal all evening. God did it! I just snapped it with my I Phone.”
“Dining table was ready this morning…16 feet of farm table isn’t big enough for us anymore. What a blessing!”
“I picked up this antique French gilt mirror with the original glass. Loving it in my upstairs hall with the lavender topiary from… Costco!”
The master bedroom
“I have always loved blue and green together. The house we bought had a bathroom floor with blue tiles mixed in so this worked great with it. Lots more to do!”
“The peach trees are in full bloom on this gorgeous Virginia day. This is a shot of an orchard that’s nearby.”
Upstairs hall in afternoon light.
“Under the eaves. A guest room in the attic. It feels good up there as it has a double window and two sky lights. It’s a great space that is used a lot when the families are here!”
A slipcovered antique chair
“A more masculine guest room with Brunschwig & Fils hunting toile, “On Point.” The painting is by my grandfather who studied in one of the first classes at The Corcoran School of Art in Washington D.C. The tall chest and bed were left to me by my great uncle who was a descendant of Alexander Hamilton. The chest belonged to Hamilton and was passed down through the family.”
“As far as the gardens goes, I have just started to have time to play in the garden. I never did before with my schedule. I am thoroughly enjoying learning about the different plants and flowers and just planted two large perennial gardens on each side of the patio. I also have a stone path with the urn at the ending focal point….which isn’t finished yet. I bought some roses yesterday to plant behind the urn on either side. I have a lot to learn and look forward to. Life is good and I am thankful!”
“I’m thinking it might be a good idea to use as a card next year. It’s cold, so the snow is hanging around but everything is straight outside so we can get around. No school for the kids in Virginia and Bob is working from home tomorrow.”
A glimpse of Karen’s work. You probably recognize these!
“This room was in a beautiful little 1930’s stone cottage near Washington, D.C. It still has the original paneling and stone fireplace. It felt like a hug when you walked in.”
“Did this many years ago with another girl for a showhouse. I had the floors and walls done by a very talented faux artist named Judy Robinson. She is so great. We worked together for many years.”