Liz Foster’s talent for design can be seen throughout the home she shares with her husband, James.

It’s reflected in the sunroom with its inset lattice on the walls and robin’s egg blue floor featuring a golden compass medallion in the center.

One can see it in the Moravian star pattern of the dining room floor, accented by the tiny golden stars surrounding an antique chandelier.

The gourmet kitchen shows her love of airy and open spaces with its bank of cabinets that features an arched opening with glass shelves and a stone countertop that looks out into the space beyond.

Liz and her husband have been working to renovate and expand their circa 1942 home and craft outdoor entertaining space since they returned to Lynchburg from Charlotte in 2016.

The Fosters fell for the home on Peakland Place but Liz said it was just a little small for their needs, so they built an addition on the rear to create the kitchen and den downstairs and the master suite with its vaulted ceiling and his and hers closets on the second floor.

“It was just a nice looking basic two-story Colonial,” Liz said. “I liked the fact that it was brick that I could paint, it had some yard but not too big and it had nice-sized rooms. It was really perfect to bump out the back.”

Liz, an interior designer and one of the founders of Compliments of the House, found the house to the perfect blank slate for the couple looking to downsize.

When the Colonial came onto the market in the neighborhood in which they wanted to live, Liz recalled walking in the door and thinking, “OK, yeah, this is perfect because it hadn’t been redone.

“We knew it would be perfect to extend and have a big kitchen, family, utility, with a master suite and laundry above. It was kind of a no brainer.”

The couple hired an architect to complete the basic drawings of the new addition and used the services of contractor John Joyner, of Driven Builders, to complete the work. Liz said he understood her need to be intricately involved in the process — more so than a typical client.

“We figured out all the details together,” Liz said.

Construction on the new addition took about 18 months, longer than expected due to complications from severe weather. The couple lived in the original construction as crews worked to complete the new build.

“I have learned a long time ago that it’s just the way it works,” she said. “When you’re doing a renovation project, you can’t count on it going smoothly or quickly or costing what they tell you.”

That addition gave her a gourmet kitchen, with a dividing wall of cabinets that features an open arch in the center. The grey cabinetry was designed by Gary Ramsey of Ramsey Cabinets.

“It’s totally custom for what we needed to put in it,” Liz said, adding she used photos from an English cabinet company to guide the design because, “The English really do know how to do cabinets.”

The cabinetry divided up what would have been an unnecessarily large kitchen, while providing ample storage for a kitchen pantry and a place to hide an ice maker and the trash can. Even though the cabinet wall is massive, the arch provides light and air and prevents the space from feeling closed off.

“It was just fun to work on the kitchen,” she said.

The hallway side of the large cabinet also gave Liz a place to display some of the couple’s collections.

“My husband and I are big collectors, not of anything important but of things that we love,” Liz said.

“We needed a place for stuff,” she later added. “That’s what happens when you move from 6,000 square feet to 2,400 square feet, which is what the house had and then we added another about 2,000 square feet.”

Scattered in places throughout the home are bits and pieces the Fosters brought back from their travels, from Russian nesting dolls to tiny horse drawn coaches.

“I think a lot of people will probably say I have too much stuff in here,” Liz said. “My husband and I are both collectors and travelers, so there’s a lot of stuff. We needed to downsize but we weren’t ready to downsize too much.”

The tiny horse drawn coaches, Liz added, are her husband’s collection.

“My husband loves the house and the garden and making things pretty just as much as I do,” Liz said.

The kitchen looks out over the den, which features another unique floor. Large grey barnwood-look tile form large patches of floor that is framed by darkly stained heart pine.

“We designed the floor to fit the space but it’s really all about the seams,” Liz said.

The mantlepiece in the den is one the couple picked up from an antique store outside of Louisville and the tiles surrounding it were obtained on a trip to Spain.

Above the den, the master bedroom features a coffered, vaulted ceiling and his-and-hers closets. The attached bathroom features a soaker tub and a glass enclosed shower. The walls are hand-painted with blue ferns.

“This turned out great but it really was a challenge,” Liz said of the bathroom, musing about the difficulty of finding just the right white to pull the whole plan together.

Back on the first floor, the living room in the original construction features a soapstone trimmed fireplace that sets off the carved mantle.

A painting dominates the opposite wall in the space above the sofa.

Liz commissioned the piece of her and her daughters. The artist preferred to paint a story and at the time, they were planning the eldest daughter’s wedding, so that became the painting’s story. The women are gathered around a bench in a garden, while books full of photographs lay at their feet.

Since the house dates to the 1940s, it doesn’t have the high ceilings of some others constructed on Peakland Place so Liz painted them with a high gloss to reflect the light and make the rooms feel more open, the effect of which particularly is noticeable in the living room.

Liz’s favorite room is her office of sorts, a former family room converted to a sunroom is where she plans out her latest designs. It features a French balcony overlooking the gardens where Liz is crafting space for outdoor entertaining.

“That is our new go-to place,” Liz said. “It’s been fun doing a lot of the little things.”

The floor is painted a robin’s egg blue and features a large compass medallion painted in the center of the floor and lattice work embedded in the walls.

Sonny Harlow painted the intricate floor paintings in the sunroom as well as the dining room, and the blue tropical leaf pattern in the master bathrooms and other such decorative elements in the home.

Not quite visible from the Juliet balcony is a covered patio featuring an array of furniture along with a television and fireplace; a garden shed soon will double as a bar.

The Fosters’ house was slated to be part of this year’s annual Garden Day, which was canceled amid concerns surrounding the spread of COVID-19. For now, work on the garden has slowed, but it soon will feature peonies, hydrangea, laurel and holly, among others, for an informal European garden.

In the center of the space will be a small rose garden and another portion will be devoted to a fairy garden for all the little fairy homes Liz has collected for her grandchildren. It will include a little stream and tiny plants for the fairies to frolic among.

“We really do like gardening but we didn’t really need to have an acre of gardens,” Liz said. “We are going to recreate a small part of what it was in Charlotte.”

PHOTOS: Lynchburg couple handcrafted 1940s home into design showcase

Liz Foster’s talent for design can be seen throughout the home she shares with her husband, James.

It’s reflected in the sunroom with its inset lattice on the walls and its robin’s egg blue floor featuring a golden compass medallion in the center.

Sidener is the special publications editor for The News & Advance. Reach her at (434) 385-5539.

Sidener is the special publications editor for The News & Advance. Reach her at (434) 385-5539.

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