Every Square Inch of This Richmond Townhouse Has Been Designed for Form and Function

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Back of brick building with patio dining area with white umbrellas, cement driveway, wood fences, string lights

Nicole McQuade, husband Mike, 7-year-old son, Levi, and 11-year-old Boston Terrier, Lola have shared this three-bedroom house for six years: We moved to Richmond, Virginia, in search of a small walkable city and have been here seven years now. My husband and myself run a small design studio and rent a studio workspace a few blocks away from our home. We have a 7-year-old son and an 11-year-old Boston Terrier and have tried to design our space to be a place we want to hang out in (and we do!) and a place we can comfortably live, create, and host our friends for dinner parties and/or play dates.

Ironically, this space is smaller than the loft we lived in (pre-kid) in Chicago’s West Loop so even though we moved from a major city to a small city, we’ve had to downsize and every square inch of our space has to be designed for form and function, it’s a constant battle of clutter and making sure we’re not over collecting “things.” Toys are hidden and organized in baskets, bookshelves are built-in, and packed to the brim, items we buy/acquire are carefully considered. We tend to gravitate towards simple furniture pieces and carefully consider those as well, making sure they’re functional, comfortable, mostly neutral, and made to last.

We’re designers at heart, and I feel that our home is a reflection of that. Just like we do in our daily work, we fuss over the details (we tried many many shades of white before selecting one for the walls, collected tons of fabric samples for our couch before finally deciding, etc). We constantly try to edit the things in our home, I do not deal with clutter and feel the home is so much more calming and inspiring with fewer things around. While our walls are mostly white, we’ve tried to create a cozy space with lots of natural fabrics, warm dimmable lights, layering textiles on couches and beds, lots of house plants, and warm tones in anything possible.

Describe your home’s style in 5 words or less: Comfortable, neutral, plant-filled, simple, functional

What is your favorite room and why? Our living room/dining room is my favorite room because it’s an open floor plan with plenty of natural light thanks to our huge windows. We really miss living in our old loft and this room is as close as we’ll get these days.

What’s the last thing you bought (or found!) for your home? After considering a new couch for literally years, we finally pulled the trigger on a Room & Board Sterling sofa in Cognac velvet and we love it. It’s comfy, stylish and the velvet color is the perfect mix of pink and tan.

Close second would be our “art-room.” Instead of having a guest bedroom, we turned our third bedroom into what we call the art-room, which is where we spend many afternoons and evenings making art, sewing, playing, building things, or just hanging out.

Any advice for creating a home you love? Consider the pieces you buy as much as possible. I’m not an impulse purchaser when it comes to home things and like to really think about how a piece will look and function with the rest of the house before purchasing it.

Also, do a purge every few months of closets, drawers, baskets, and shelves, it’s incredible the amount of “stuff” that accumulates in homes, especially a home with a young child, and without these quarterly purges it’s easy to overwhelm a house with unnecessary things. Unless you have a gigantic home in which case keep it all, but we do not have that luxury!

Thanks Nicole!

This submission’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
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