Labor of Love

By SHERRY LUCAS • Photography by ABE DRAPER

This stunning renovation of the Lovelace home, one of Oxford’s oldest structures, pays homage to three centuries, melding old and new, thanks to a meticulous reimagining by residential designer Frank Tindall

The Lovelace’s expansion of Lindfield took the formerly one-bedroom home (left) to a four-bedroom profile. Cedars out front were planted at the same time as those at nearby Rowan Oak.

     Lindfield House in Oxford has a foothold in three centuries but is anything but stuck in the past. A freshly modern renovation and expansion seamlessly meld respect for its history with an embrace of twenty-first century comfort and style.

     The porticoed Greek Revival cottage dates to 1832, according to a sign out front nestled in the shade of a half dozen cedars, planted at the same time those at nearby Rowan Oak went into the ground. One of the oldest houses in Oxford, it’s believed to have been built for David Craig, a relative of one of Oxford’s three founders who purchased the land from the Chickasaws’ Princess Hoka.

     Another nineteenth century owner was the local jeweler Edward Hustace, a Brit whose nationality saved his home and his store on the Square from being burned by the Union Army during the Civil War, one story goes.

     Dee and Katie Lovelace settled on the one-bedroom house after a several-years search in the popular college town, won over by its location and charmed by a family friend connection.

     “We wanted to be close to town, and I’ve always loved this house,” says Katie, noting that previous owner Tommy Lamar was the uncle of artist Nicole Lamar, one of her best friends. After his passing, they bought the house from the estate in 2018 and moved in early 2020.

     Frank Tindall, originally from Indianola, designed the remodel, more than doubling Lindfield’s living space and quadrupling its bed and bathroom count. “The challenge is keeping the old, but adding the new—keeping the integrity of the front rooms of the house, and then we step it up in the back,” he says. They worked with Oxford Historic Preservation Commission guidelines, for an expansion that complements the original structure. “I appreciate the efforts of the Commission to keep this historic district looking as it should.”

     Lindfield’s parlor, dining room, central hall (once an open gallery), and the front bedroom are all original. Old, hand-rolled glass in the seven-foot windows adds a cool ripple to the view outside, as if little time has passed in its nearly two centuries on South Eleventh Street.

     In the redo, the Lovelaces re-milled and re-installed the heart pine floors (reclaiming wood from other areas of the house as needed) and added a herringbone design in the front hall to boost visual interest. A zebra rug adds zing.

     Fresh white walls take full advantage of classic twelve-foot ceilings, enhancing that wide-open feel. In the parlor, a cowhide rug and furnishings anchor the room with contemporary style. A floral abstract by Nicole Lamar holds the spotlight above the preserved original mantel. “The way she does her colors is amazing,” Katie says. Additional art—nude figures from Ole Miss art sales, a work by Katie herself, and two by her friend Jessica Perkins—adds more wall interest. The inviting taupe velvet sofa and coral-patterned side chairs came from Dee’s stepmother Susan’s interior design store, Lovelace Interiors, in Destin. The baby grand piano was a gift when Dee’s dad, the late Sparky Lovelace, and Susan downsized.

The original windows with wavy glass nod to the home’s historic roots, while contemporary touches inside embrace the passage of time.

     An eighteenth century carved mirror from Louisiana—“I’ve been on the prowl for it,” Katie says of the recent purchase—finds a perfect home above the dining room mantel. The oval dining table, another gift from Sparky and Susan, is a classic fit, and the antelope patterned rug underfoot adds a dash of contemporary decor. A pair of large Asian ancestor portraits flank a dining room window. Purchased by Oxford artist and designer Lucius Lamar (Tommy Lamar’s nephew) on his travels, they once decorated the home’s original mantels. “We bought them with the house because we loved them,” Katie says. The historic home’s refurbished chandeliers now twinkle and shine with their original glory.

     Before their return to Oxford, the Lovelaces lived in a mid-century modern house in Jackson, “which I loved, with all the glass,” Katie says. She wanted to pull in that modern aesthetic, and the expansion delivers with big windows across the back and in the kitchen that send light streaming in. The eight-foot ceilings of a former add-on were removed and the historic height extended for an expansive, airy feel.

     “We have this nice, full, original lot that stretches between Lamar and South Eleventh — in Oxford it’s rare to find the space that lets you spread out a little bit and have enough room to do what you want to do,” including add the pool, Tindall says. “Even as it’s right in the middle of town, it has great privacy.”

Their daughter Kathleen’s room, adorned with pink touches, Nicole Lamar heart art, and LOVE accent pillows, pays tribute to the Lovelace surname and more.

     The Lovelace’s two children are now adults on their own, but guest bedrooms carry stylish nods to each. The home’s sole original bedroom became daughter Kathleen’s, its parlor entry walled off and its fireplace converted to a closet. Now a bedroom for Kathleen and her husband Sam Morrison, its harmonious details weave a message of love—LOVE throw pillows, Nicole Lamar heart art, a 1989 Yves St. Laurent poster (a find in France), and heart-shaped ottomans. They also subtly salute the Lovelace surname, Katie’s Valentine’s Day birthday, and the year she and Dee wed. A whimsical Kate Spade chandelier casts a classy, contemporary light on it all.

The Lovelace’s son Witt’s room combines marine blue and crisp white hues, inspired by the trophy sailfish he caught while in college.

     Son Witt’s room is dominated by the sailfish he caught on college spring break in the Dominican Republic. Pillows, rug, and drapes pick up the marine blue hues, offset nicely by crisp whites. Old and new find a happy mix. Katie’s grandfather Harlou Lamb’s writing desk reminds her of their close connection, with memories of his nightly routine writing letters and paying bills. Acrylic bedside tables and desk chair dodge visual clutter and pull in modern accents. Adjoining bathrooms with each room wed classic, old-school tile with white walls and streamlined, luxe gold hardware for a clean, timeless look.

     The open kitchen-breakfast-bar area is a spacious oasis for entertaining, anchored at either end by compelling visual magnets. A pair of Furies by artist Rod Moorhead draw the eye immediately to the kitchen’s large island in Calacatta Gold marble. At the other end of the room, the large bar/cabinet’s counter picks up on that marble. The bar is an all-purpose hub for drinks any time of day, with a small fridge, ice, wine cooler, and coffeemaker right at hand. That solved a space problem, too, when the Lovelaces nixed the idea of a double refrigerator in the kitchen and opted for another window instead.

The pair of sculptures from Rod Moorhead’s “Fury” collection are a compelling focal point in the kitchen.

     A long snake rug at the foot of the bar adds a fun, irreverent touch. The bar’s soft bluish black hue (Farrow & Ball’s Railings) and metallic grasscloth are an appealing backdrop for the dreamy rainbow lineup of handblown glasses by Wauhatchie Glassworks of Chattanooga. “We use them for everything,” says Katie, ticking off a long list that starts with cocktails and ends with candy dishes. Estelle purple coupe glasses add an elegant note, and a painting by Tony Mose (Esom Art) is another fun diversion. 

This stunning bar anchors one end of the open kitchen area. The collection of hand blown Wauhatchie glassware adds pops of color to the display.

     The kitchen’s white leathered marble countertops gleam in the abundant natural light, and Wolfe Studio birds add pops of color along the windowsill. “I wanted the biggest windows we could get,” Katie says. Art on a partial wall includes a nod to the style of Theora Hamblett by James Becker and cow paintings that charm by Lucius Lamar and by Lee Harper. 

     More art perks up the big den, including a Paul Edelstein piece that makes splashy, colorful impact, another painting by Nicole Lamar, and a pair of crowned figures from Tony Mose’s Coronation series that face off on either side of the big-screen TV. Relaxed comfort lies in the sofa, saddle leather easy chair, and tufted ottoman, all from Lovelace Interiors.

 

Artwork by Tony Mose (Esom Art) and Nicole Lamar add contemporary intrigue to the roomy den.

     In the master bedroom, a teal velvet upholstered headboard and cream bedding are both restful and radiant. An old bench recovered in bouclé adds textured charm. 

     The spacious master bath has his and her sides, including a walk-through shower with a door at either end. Tindall crafted the design of the tub’s marble backsplash, adding visual appeal. He’d probably have framed the big mirrors over Katie’s sink, he says, but now loves her no-frames, clean-lines result. “This is so great. … It gives you that contemporary edge.”

The plush teal velvet headboard flanked by modern gold-leaf mirrors, provides a rich focal point for the master bedroom.

     Sherwin-Williams Downing Slate makes Katie’s study a classic, cozy retreat, where her burlwood desk is a statement piece. Paintings by Nicole Lamar and Susan Woodward bring in contemporary color, while an antique pine chest from Dee’s dad adds a touch of the past.

     The brick back porch has the height to catch a breeze and the space to accommodate parties, whether gathered around a table or lounging around the TV. Hydrangea blooms add a pretty floral top note to a delightful setting in blues, greens, and heirloom charm—Dee’s grandmother Pearl Lovelace’s china, Katie’s maternal grandparents’ cabbage leaf bowls, Estelle emerald glasses, and Katie’s Chantilly sterling. 

Favorite pieces in Katie’s cozy office include paintings by Nicole Lamar, her prized burlwood desk, and an antique pine chest from Dee’s father.

     Lavender, petunias, lamb’s ear, olive trees, thyme, gardenia, geraniums, and lantana fill the planting boxes. McCarty Pottery mobiles—some with fish, others with beads—come from Dee’s mother’s collection, adding movement, whimsy, and artistic flair to the scene. The porch’s joint pine ceiling, with a stain atop heavy pickling, suits the breezy setting, and the pool makes as cool a view as it does a retreat. Its surrounding fossil shell limestone stays cool, too, even when the weather’s hot. “I wanted the Hamptons look—I wanted it all sleek,” Katie says, with a seamless flow for pool and hot tub and a refreshingly modern feel. 

     It’s the same approach that weds historic rooms with a modern expansion inside—living areas united by white dove walls, high ceilings, and an airy, open flow. Room to hold onto the past, relax into the present, and welcome a comfortable future. 

The gorgeous fossil shell limestone that surrounds the pool was chosen because it stays cool even when the weather is hot.

 

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