Lucy & Thomas Say Goodbye to their Artful Family Home

Lucy & Thomas Say Goodbye to their Artful Family Home

Sarah Rainwater
Apr 12, 2012

Name: Lucy Hitchcock, Thomas Brendler, and their two daughters, 8 and 5
Location: East Side, Providence, Rhode Island
Size: 1,400 square feet + finished basement
Years lived in: 12 years; owned

Lucy and Thomas spent 12 years in their cozy and meticulously curated home — starting and growing their family within its walls — and are now readying to move to a larger space they hope will provide as many treasured memories.

Lucy, a professor in the Graphic Design department of the Rhode Island School of Design and an independent book designer, and Thomas, a strategic planner and fundraiser for NGOs and non-profits, have created a space with an envy-inducing balance of style and livability, effortlessly mixing family heirlooms with well chosen design objects and Ikea essentials. They are sure to approach their next chapter with the same sense of humor, creativity and love that is obvious in their first home.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Eclectic, modern — but appreciate humor, color, and antiques.

Inspiration: We love the way the Eames' house combined modern forms and materials with natural, hand made, and warmer elements, so that style is always in the backs of our minds. Also, throughout the house we have artwork created by friends and former students. The work itself serves as permanent inspiration as we move through our days.

Favorite Element: The light that comes in the kitchen, and also the lovely
fabric we used when we had my grandfather's old chair re-done. Thanks to Kreatelier on Hope Street in Providence, RI. I also love the orange wall in our bedroom which cheers me up every time I see it. Finally, my favorite object is the Nakashima triangle table which I inherited from my parents.

Biggest Challenge: Keeping it orderly with two rambunctious kids. When
everything has a place and is in its place, all is well. But kids are like tornadoes undoing things at every turn. The other thing is dealing with the huge number of books we collect. We solved that problem with a wall of Ikea shelves in our bedroom. I like sleeping with the books. They are comforting.

What Friends Say: That it's charming and has a great flow and is full of interesting art objects and tchotchkes.

Biggest Embarrassment: The counter in the kitchen really needs replacing. We just haven't gotten around to it. And I wish I could afford a new sink and faucet. I love and hate the wall where my kids chart their growth. It's a mess and looks like graffiti. But its also a record of real life so I love it.

Proudest DIY: Our friend Danny built and designed our deck (using wonderful
hard Ipe wood), and we helped him think through the design, including using cables instead of railing. We love how it allows light, air, and visibility, and we loved the curved shape and the way it meets the ground. I also really like the white tree on my daughter's green bedroom wall. It pleases me and I did it simply by using a painter's tape mask.

Biggest Indulgence: We re-did our basement and made it prettier than just about any basement I have seen. The entire space was like a creepy dungeon before the re-do. We had self leveling concrete poured onto the floor and we stained it with a soy-based stain (SoyCrete) that you had to rub in by hand. We had drywall put up over waterproofed basement walls, had the pipes and wires tied up and hidden. We had the ceiling painted, and added a laundry room, an office and a utility room. The whole thing was a huge deal and worth every cent. It's dry, friendly, and bright, with a huge number of track lighting elements to make it cheery and useful.

Best Advice: Surround yourself with objects you really value but also, don't be afraid of inexpensive solutions (Ikea, Craigslist, Home Depot, Target, the junkyard, the street). Buy art from your friends.

Resources of Note:


    • Grandmother's table
    • Runner from an antique shop in Beacon, NY


    • Ikea coffee table (Not made anymore the best buy of the century! Wish they'd bring it back.)
    • Grandparents, table and desk
    • George Nakashima triangle end table from my parents who lived in Tokyo
    • Rug from a dealer in Santa Fe
    • Tolomeo wall lamp from DWR


    • Studio Hop on Hope Street in Providence has great mid century furnishings
    (they provided the dining chairs, the small bureau)
    • DWR George Nelson lamp over the table
    • The table belonged to Thomas's mother and is Dansk, from the 70s.


    • We love our pella doors with the roll-up disappearing screen, also the orange Kitchen Aid and our Samsung Fridge.


    • The wonderful Reve bed from Design Within Reach with the amazing Sonno Mattress (the most wonderful mattress in the world) was a splurge when I was first pregnant. We decided a bed was really going to matter. And it did! It is the most comfortable bed in the world.


    • Ikea's reversible "bunk" bed and also bureau and desk.

Thanks, Lucy & Thomas!

Images: Sarah Rainwater

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