Every other year, the Richmond Symphony Orchestra League enlists the aid of interior designers and other home professionals to transform a house into a showcase for the latest trends in home design. This year, as in past years, H.J. Holtz & Son is partnering with several designers in various locations, offering services in support of RSOL’s charitable goals.

“We’re always happy to help out with the RSOL Designer House,” says company president Rick Holtz. “It’s a great community fundraiser, and we get to work with designers to execute their visions as well as display the range of our employees’ skills.”

This year’s house, Holly Lawn, is on the National Register of Historic Places. Completed in 1901, the house in the Hermitage Road Historic District sustained significant damage in June 2016 when a 175-year-old red oak crashed into the house’s front façade. The home has been carefully restored by the homeowners and will be open to the public for tours during the RSOL event.

Kenneth Byrd, Library


Kenneth Byrd, principal of Kenneth Byrd Design, partnered with H.J. Holtz & Son at the last RSOL Designer House and has worked with the firm on several private residential projects. He appreciates the company’s work ethic.

“We know we can get the job done professionally and well; that’s priceless in this business,” Byrd says. “You tell them to do something, you know it’s going to get done.”

In Holly Lawn, Byrd’s design incorporates influences from recent travel, specifically from Morocco. Holtz & Son will paint the crown molding and ceiling in “as glossy a finish as we can get,” he says.

“The ceiling really is a fifth wall,” Byrd notes. “It gives greater depth to the design and more for people to look at. You can get a real bang for your buck by doing something on the ceiling.”

Ironically, Holtz & Son isn’t hanging wallpaper for Byrd in the room. Instead, Byrd’s team is using a double-sided painter’s tape to hang a boldly patterned design temporarily. “I’m testing the approach in my own home,” he says.

Sara Hillery, Child’s Bedroom


As principal of Sara Hillery Design, Hillery is approaching this RSOL room with a liberal attitude and her daughter – an 7-year-old who loves animals and the outdoors – in mind.

“Usually, I’ll do a kid’s room on a budget,” Hillery says. “Here, we get to blow it out, give it some real style.”

Hillery is having Holtz hang a recycled paper wallcovering that is similar to grasscloth. Workers will have to navigate the room corners, which have cut-out details and niches.

“It’s tricky because [the covering] has a felt fabric background,” she says. “It will add texture to the room, so it’s not just painted plaster walls.”

She’s hoping the bold approach will be inspirational. “I’m hoping this will encourage parents to think about their kids a little more, to think about whether their child would embrace something more than a bed, dresser and nightstand.”

Hillery worked with Holtz & Son in the last RSOL Designer House, in which the Holtz team painted the kitchen walls and floor. She is happy to partner with the firm again. “It’s hard to move on when someone offers that kind of detail,” she says. “They are just awesome.”

Melissa Mathe, Bedroom


Principal Melissa Mathe is happy to work with Holtz & Son in a second RSOL Designer House. “They’ve become my go-to,” she says. “I know I can always count on them for wallpaper install and custom paint treatments.”

In Holly Lawn, Mathe is having Holtz workers paint the room and an art rail. Walls and ceiling will be white, and the railing trim will be a glossy black. “I’m showing color by using the absence of it,” Mathe says. “I’m designing a room for children, but not young children.”

Mathe says it’s important to have experienced painters for every job, even when the task might seem simple. She notes that older homes, especially those with plaster walls – like the ones found in Holly Lawn – might have surface irregularities.

“You don’t want paint to highlight imperfections,” she says. “You want to have a quality installer who knows how to hide those imperfections.”

The Richmond Symphony Orchestra League Designer House hours are Sept 17-Oct. 14, Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sunday 1-5 p.m. Tickets are $30 per person. For more information, visit rsol.org.