Historic Blanton House, located on the edge of William Byrd Park, is a Colonial Revival structure that is experiencing yet another revival. And H.J. Holtz & Son is partnering in the process.

Built in 1920 by commercial florist Herbert Brown, Blanton House has provided administrative office space for the city’s Office of Parks, Recreation, and Community Facilities for more than 30 years. But the house is now also home to Richmond’s Cancer Retreat Center, the brainchild of Kristin Harris, former director of the Susan G. Komen Foundation-Central and Eastern Virginia.

Harris has a lifelong connection to cancer. Her mother was diagnosed when Harris was 4. At 24, Harris cared for her mother at the end of her life with a cancer recurrence. Then, at 32, Harris herself was diagnosed with cancer. Years later, she experienced a recurrence and is now living with metastatic breast cancer. With that background, Harris set out to create an organization – and a place – where people can find the support they need.

“There’s life before cancer and life after cancer,” Harris says. “We want to provide a space intentionally curated for the patient perspective and to destigmatize it. We hope to be a soft space where people can land.”

Currently, the center offers programming inside Blanton House in the living room and dining room, with plans to expand further in the future. To make the space as welcoming as possible, Harris enlisted the help of numerous professionals. H.J. Holtz & Son, Clay Bowden of Claiborne Design, Lizzie Cox of Lizzie Cox Interiors, Palette Paint, Benjamin Moore, and Green Front Furniture all donated services, materials, and furnishings to the effort.

The Holtz team removed a divider wall between the living and dining rooms, creating a large, light-filled area that allows greater flexibility in programming. Carpentry craftspeople patched and repaired the opening, matching original millwork. Holtz painters then stripped old paint and repainted with Benjamin Moore Simply White on the walls and ceiling and Cromarty by Farrow & Ball on the trim.

In the front hallway, Holtz painters recovered walls and the staircase using Simply White and Benjamin Moore Sea Pearl. The oversized front door is now Benjamin Moore Hale Navy.

The shades of blue and green were selected intentionally, Harris notes. “These are life-giving colors,” she says. “We really wanted to bring out the details in the rooms, highlighting the original tile surrounds of the fireplaces.”

The Holtz team also freshened one of the fireplaces. A broken tile was replaced with a new, plain tile, that was then painted by a Holtz decorative artist. “The match is wonderful,” Harris says. 

Cancer Retreat Centers – written in the plural, because Harris plans for there to be more – will offer integrated care through individual and group support, preventative wellness programs, recreation, and education. “Our key constituent base is for cancer patients and survivors, ‘previvors,’ family members, caregivers, and oncology health providers,” she says. “And everything we do here is offered at no cost. We’re addressing the needs that truly exist.”

H.J. Holtz & Son is happy to help. 

For more information about Cancer Retreat Centers, visit CancerRetreatCenters.org or call 804-803-1203.