published Saturday, October 20th, 2012

Burns' Sewanee home reinterpreted with furniture, fabric, paint

Amy and Bob Burns' kitchen was designed to blend with the outdoors.
Amy and Bob Burns' kitchen was designed to blend with the outdoors.
Photo by Dan Henry.
  • photo
    The living room and kitchen of Amy and Bob Burns' Sewanee., Tenn., residence was recently renovated by Chattanooga designer Susan LeSourd with a focus on fabrics and textures throughout.
    Photo by Dan Henry.
    enlarge photo

SEWANEE, Tenn. — A watercolor painting of irises Amy Burns spied in the window of Chattanooga's In-Town Gallery 18 years ago has become the inspiration for the decorative reinterpretation of the home she has shared for a year with her husband, Bob, in the University of the South community here.

Chattanooga designer Susan LeSourd used the muted colors in the painting, which now hangs above the stone fireplace in the 7-year-old Craftsman home, to help select the furniture, fabrics and paint in the reinterpreted living room and kitchen.

"I knew how I wanted [the living room] to feel -- cozy, warm, comfortable," Burns said.

"And I wanted the kitchen to be dreamy," she said. "When I cook, it's my therapy. It had to do with being colorful, comfortable. It should blend with the woods and the outdoors."

LeSourd said she carried the irises painting around Atlanta while selecting ideas for the home.

The couple -- both retired from Tennessee Valley Authority -- then went to Atlanta for what Mrs. Burns said was an exhausting but fruitful day. They returned after choosing much of what wound up in the rooms.

"It was so much fun to come up with a plan that pulled everything together," LeSourd said. "The most important thing is the cohesiveness."

The first piece of the puzzle was the fabric for the

living room drapes and for the two antique side chairs. The tobacco-colored cloth with a dark green leaf pattern -- sewn by Lori Coleman of Chattanooga's Brick Path Studio -- blends with the outdoors, with the fireplace and complements the coffered pine ceiling, pine floors and pine trim. The living room ceiling was painted a Grecian green to match.

The custom-made furniture in the warm seating area in front of the fireplace includes a green Kravet couch, two oyster-white Kravet club chairs in a chenille fabric and the two side chairs. Beneath the arrangement is a custom-made brown, natural-fiber, wool rug.

The walls of the room are a creamy white.

The room also includes Mrs. Burns' grandmother's grandfather clock, a finely woven, hooked wool rug made by her aunt, two paintings by Mr. Burns, a painting Mrs. Burns did of their previous Monteagle mountain home and a Stickley harvest table that can double as a dining table when the couple has guests.

The kitchen retained its coffered pine ceiling, floor, door and several pine cabinets but was otherwise gutted.

The room, Mrs. Burns said, "was not particularly ugly. It just was not what I wanted." The new design, she said, "opened it up as much as it could be."

In its place are tree moss green walls, new stainless-steel appliances, a honed black-pearl granite countertop and travertine subway tile backsplash from Stone Source of Chattanooga, custom Shaker cabinets by Ana Woodworks of Chattanooga, a farmhouse sink, custom table, bench and two antique chairs. Among the appliances Burns chose was a Viking stove -- with induction cooktop and convection oven -- from Ferguson of Chattanooga.

"I wanted a high-end oven because of my baking," she said. "Cooking is my favorite hobby."

Burns also splurged a bit on the sink because of its design and finish. "I just had to have it," she said.

The oak table, also crafted by Ana Woodworks from a design LeSourd found in a magazine, was created out of wood from a Ringgold, Ga., barn destroyed in the April 27, 2011, tornado. "It's really special to me," Burns said.

The light blue chevron-design fabric on the bench and chairs also was sewn by Coleman. Burns originally thought the pattern was too contemporary but came back to it after considering others.

"Everybody loves it," she said.

Throughout the two rooms are flowers and accent pieces, including a unique branch-like plant stand, from Taylor's Mercantile in Sewanee, and additional accessories by Revival, a home-furnishings store in Warehouse Row. The kitchen is dotted with pieces of McCarty pottery the home- owner had that fit the color scheme.

"Everything really blends in," Mrs. Burns said.

LeSourd said that was the general concept for the space, which is smaller than the couple's previous home on the mountain and which she had helped decorate.

"It works very well," she said. "What's neat about working in a smaller space is you have fewer things but you can make them special."

about Clint Cooper...

Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...

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