House Crashing: Lesley & Jeff

We can’t wait to share this house crashing adventure because you’ve actually seen how Lesley & Jeff live…. but that was over 4.5 years ago (before they had two sweet little boys and moved into a new home for their growing family). It’s actually a mid-century split level house in a charming woodsy neighborhood right here in Richmond, and of course Lesley and Jeff have completely made it their own.

But first, just to refresh your memory, here’s their first house – which we crashed all the way back in 2008!

But back to their new place. You guys might remember that Lesley is a master of making ugly things into assets. For example, she didn’t like the dated iron columns full of swirls and zig-zags on her new front porch… so they trained some vines to grow around them and cover them. So charming right? No more swirly iron posts. And it was a lot more cost effective than demoing them out and redoing the porch (although they’re open to tackling that down the line).

One of our favorite things about Lesley’s stye is how she mixes things. And not just anything, meaningful things. See the red chandelier in the mirror of her entryway? That was actually something she spray painted red years ago for her wedding. She and Jeff danced under that in their reception tent and now it graces their hallway. And lots of their furniture is secondhand (hooray for worn and loved pieces made from solid wood!).

Here’s another corner of their entryway, complete with a pillow with a meaningful number and upholstery fabric that she chose to give the old seen-better-days chair a fresh look.

The family room was one of my favorites in the house. Why? Because it’s paneling, people! But they decided to embrace it. It wasn’t that flimsy faux paneling, it was thick solid wood and Lesley called it “embracing her inner Golden Girl.” How hilarious is she? So instead of drywalling over it or even painting it, she and Jeff added a few other retro touches (like that awesome old laundry sign that Lesley got from a local cleaners that was going out of business – she just asked for it and they gave it to her). Lesley is a master at effortlessly mixing and matching textiles (check out the layered patterns of those pillows, the rug, and those ottomans) to create a cozy and welcoming vibe. It was definitely one of those rooms that draws you in where everyone ends up. And see that pair of wing chairs? Lesley got them for $50 each on craigslist and didn’t even have to recover them (they had been covered with protective plastic for decades since they were bought!).

How awesome is this framed secondhand art that Lesley scored on sale for $50? Oh and the throw over the sofa is from her friend’s etsy store.

You know what John went wild for, right? This map. Lesley got it on ebay. I think the bright teal color looks awesome against the paneling with that chic gold lamp layered in.

Here’s the kitchen, complete with dark stone floors (the tile is just simple durable tile store stuff, but Lesley upped the ante by laying it in a herringbone pattern), dark painted beadboard for the backsplash that they DIYed themselves for under $40, creamy white cabinets, and dark hardware that ties into the dark floors and counters.

They also have a wall where they measure the kiddos and have bright silhouettes of each of them. You know we’re suckers for those personalized details.

Lesley also made the curtain from happy and bright fabric with some fringe on the bottom. And check out that crane to the left of the curtain that Lesley rests her dishtowel on. Yup, I was certifiably crazy about it. And the aqua foo dogs.

There’s an awesome sunroom off the back of the house that Lesley and Jeff converted into a playroom. They added functional toy baskets, a big train table, some rich color on the brick (Woodcliff Lake by Benjamin Moore) and the door (Goldsmith by Benjamin Moore) along with some beautiful and architectural plantation shutters. As you might guess, Clara made a beeline for that room and basically never left.

Upstairs in the bedroom is more patterned fabric, and touches of wood. And how great are those framed blueprints (from West Elm a while back)? I love how Lesley hung them in a fun offset way.

This is the guest room, complete with dusty grey blue walls, orange patterned bedding (from Pottery Barn), and a giant thrift store sailfish over the bed. And how awesome are those sculptural side tables (from PB Teen) and the textured white table lamps (from HomeGoods). It’s awesome how Lesley tempers her bold colors and accents with crisp white or rich wood to keep rooms from being too chaotic – even with a big ol’ fish on the wall.

One of our favorite things about Lesley is her work-with-whatcha-got spirit. She actually embraced her pink tiled bathroom to the point that it feels totally like her. Isn’t the ornate thrift store mirror, the bright green rug from Target, and the blue-gray wall color (Metro Gray by Benjamin Moore) mixed with the ruffled curtain (from Anthropologie, but found on craigslist) so sophisticated and fun? I love how it doesn’t look too “serious” or “over designed” – it’s just easy and everything goes without being matchy-matchy. So I was so excited to share this picture for anyone else out there with a pink bathroom.

Her sons love sharing a room, and we loved how their beds were the same color/style (found on the cheap thanks to craigslist) but that the bedding was slightly different along with what was hanging over each bed (they were both secondhand finds – the flag was found locally and the old bus scroll was from ebay). We think it’s really cool to personalize each corner so things aren’t cloned but still tie together really well.

And this is Lesley’s office down in the basement. I loved everything from the black storage boxes and table lamps (those are HomeGoods lights for 30 bucks a pop) to the casual stacks of books going in all directions. Even with the blanket draped over the chair and the flowers in the vase, it definitely didn’t feel crazy-styled thanks to those random ribbons on the shelves and all of those colorful stacks of books just shoved in there. There’s something very easy-yet-chic about Lesley’s house. Like she’s not trying too hard but it still looks awesome, cozy, and personal.

So we’re sending out a huge thanks to Lesley, Jeff, and her two sweet boys for having us over so we could share all the photos with you guys! Hope you got some inspiration from things like the pink tiled bathroom and that paneled family room! Let’s play the whats-your-favorite-part game. Mine is the smart vine trick they pulled on the porch to hide those columns and the boys’ room with those matching but not too-matchy craigslist beds. And of course John loves the framed blueprints and that awesome teal map. No surprises there.

Psst- Don’t wanna stop snooping around? You can check out dozens of House Crashing adventures right here.


  1. Caitlin says

    ahh i LOVE this house! it’s so eclectic and fun; definitely what I strive for in my own first house. Any idea what that blue/gray color is the guest room – I’ve been looking for the perfect color for my fiance’s almost finished man cave (and he’s already talking about having replicas of the fish he has caught made….sooo, good to know that color looks great with a big fish on it!) Thanks!
    PS- I was all set to go and meet you guys at West Elm in Boston, but called to NYC last minute. such a bummer!

  2. says

    I really love this style and the “work with what you got” philosophy. It’s nice to see unpainted wood! It makes me feel like I’m not horrible for not painting my kitchen cabinets. And provides inspiration for how I can make them work better.

    • Lesley says

      Hi Traci. My grandmother bought that for me at an antique store in downtown Richmond on my 20th birthday. It was my first piece of real furniture! I love it so much because she gave it to me, and it will also never go out of style. :)

  3. LauraC says

    What a great house! I am always drawn to shared kids’ rooms (’cause ours share) and I love how she coordinated them. Their living room paneling is identical to what we have, only ours is exclusively in our closets. I haven’t painted it either, because it’s real, solid pine (and being behind a closed door is just fine).

  4. says

    I love her house and how well she personalized everything. That’s what makes great design. We looked at a house a few years ago with a link bathroom. I totally fell in love with it! There are some awesome forums out there for people with pink bathrooms. There is also a great history lesson behind. It was practically the first time that women had a design choice of what color tile to use.

  5. Kimi says

    It is nice seeing the paneling! The Map looks great against the wood.

    Again it’s nice to see the wood paneling! I don’t see it much and we have plenty of it in our home that we sort of like. We considered painting it but we like the look of wood. Thank you for sharing!

  6. says

    I love her their house, it’s a beautiful home. It looks lived and loved and so put together over time. It’s full of charm and warmth. Love their style. It’s the look and feel I want to embrace in my house.

  7. says

    Framed blueprints – what a genius idea!! We have the original blueprints of our house and our neighborhood up in the attic (from 1950s). Can’t wait to frame those bad boys!!

  8. says

    I love this house for the same reason as everyone else – it is beautiful but doesn’t look overly ‘styled’ and feels very homey all at the same time. I love personalising with thrift store finds too. I really love that grey wall and yellow door in the sunroom. Gorgeous! Ok, now I have a question, I am renting and need to ‘work with what I have’ so if anyone has any ideas of how to work with black shag carpet in a formal living room (I have a dark brown leather sofa in there) I would LOVE to hear some ideas! :)

    • Lesley says

      What about bringing the black in somewhere else so it doesn’t seem random? Like a bunch of black frames on the wall with b&w photos, or black and off white wide stripe canvas curtains on the windows?

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