How Anne Hulcher Tollett Created a Fully Custom Builder-Grade Craft Farmhouse


How do you take a new build from blah to good? That’s the question asked of Richmond-based interior designer Anne Hulcher Tollett by a client she describes as “fun, traveler and stylish”. The couple wanted their home – a 5,100 square foot cottage farmhouse in Charlottesville, Va. – to reflect that personality.

“It was very well built, but it lacked life,” says Hulcher Tollett. “It was in a prized location, so the client saw the builder-grade items that came with the house. Like many new builds, the lighting and equipment left a lot to be desired. »

The duo commissioned Hulcher Tollett to personalize the spaces in the home without cutting out too many high-quality new features. To do this, Hulcher Tollett and his team focused on cosmetic upgrades that were economical but would still impact the design: think paint, new hardware and accessories, swap from the color of the cabinets and the renovation of the unfinished lower level into a media room.

“We painted the walls and the ceiling the same color to make the space comfortable without adding additional carpentry,” explains the designer. “We replaced hardware rather than replacing cabinets. We used crazy wallpaper to distract from a hallway that didn’t have many interesting architectural elements. And we traded in builder-grade fixtures, fans, and lights that looked like they were from big-box stores with some really cool parts.

The owners came to the project with almost no existing furniture but with an abundance of “little treasures” collected on their travels. Hulcher Tollett then mixed furniture that would reflect the couple’s globetrotting lifestyle and feel layered and effortless, as if it had evolved and accumulated over time.

“They couldn’t bear to live in a house that looked like it had elements that hadn’t been carefully considered,” says Hulcher Tollett. “But they didn’t want it to look like they hired a designer. We achieved this vision by blending the old with the new. Some pieces we had custom made, some were new and ready made, and some were vintage and antique.

What once looked like a suburban home that just happened to be in the mountains is now a perfectly curated ode to the art of blending.

Dining room

Shown above.

Adding wallpaper to the ceiling created an architectural dimension without carpentry. Art and sconces replaced a “weird wall light feature”. Leather chairs will patina over time, adding to the collectible feel. Texture layering helps minimize “the echo of an open floor plan,” says Hulcher Tollett. A subtly monochromatic palette complements the adjoining living room.

Living room

Helen Norman

Farrow & Ball’s Drab Lounge adds warmth to this living space. Hulcher Tollett painted both the walls and the cabinetry the color to conceal the “less desirable” components of the builder-grade cabinetry while highlighting the attractive parts of the millwork. “Now the ceiling beams and columns are jumping,” she says. The rug was custom made in Nepal, the trunk is vintage and the rattan, leather and velvet create texture. Greenery and more branches in the vessels infuse life into the space.



Helen Norman

The front vestibule “felt forgotten,” says Hulcher Tollett. The designer relied on one of her favorite tricks as a solution: source an oversized branch from the property and place it in a standout vase by the front door for an “instant wow effect.” A vintage rug, carved table, and sculptural greenery create a simple yet graceful scene for the rest of the home.

master bedroom


Helen Norman

To combat what Hulcher Tollett calls the “suburban quality of space,” she painted the set ceiling, walls, and even the shutters in Farrow & Ball’s Dove Tale. She wanted the space to feel “sleek, masculine, monochromatic, textured, layered, and well traveled.” Stunning mountain views add natural art.

Back room


Helen Norman

To liven up a blabla hallway, Hulcher Tollett added wild wallpaper, a reworked vintage rug, and fun light fixtures. A chair doubles as a coat rack.

Media room

home theater media room

Helen Norman

With no windows, this unfinished lower level was the perfect place to create a cozy media room. A complete renovation, Hulcher Tollett had to re-clad the ceiling to accommodate weatherproof ductwork and create a natural space for the acoustic tiles. The art panels are stills from customer favorite movies and also have acoustic backing, and the cement floor has extra padding for better sound absorption. A bar-height table and chairs behind the sofa add additional seating for friends and family. The mural is Down Pipe by Farrow & Ball.

Living room

recording room

Helen Norman

Farrow & Ball Inchyra Blue has transformed this once sterile space into a warm and inviting one. Groupings of furniture — a game table, dining table, bar area, and pool table — combat a feeling of an empty, open floor plan. Comfortable furniture with fun profiles add personality.


home office

Helen Norman

“This study is another example of paint that solves all the problems,” says Hulcher Tollett of Farrow & Ball Vardo shade. “It instantly elevated the space and made it more cohesive. This is where our clients trusted us and took a chance: we told them we wanted to use all shades of intense blues as well as khakis and cherry reds to intensify the chroma.We found the two vintage chairs with red leather seats to perfectly pop out of the blues in the vintage carpet and new blue desk.”

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