When Sarah* and her husband first visited the Goochland property they now call home, they were drawn to the expansive views of the James River. The view of the nearly 100-year-old Tudor house – vacant for five years – wasn’t as striking.

“The house felt dingy and dated – every wall was a pinky peach – and the rooms were intimidating, with high, curved ceilings and dark wood trim,” Sarah says. “Plus, we went into this project with historical easements in place. We couldn’t do structural changes without a deep dive into a historical process.”

The solution: Accept the structure and update the interior through paint and wallpaper.

Working with Lizzie Cox Interiors and H.J. Holtz & Son, the homeowners found ways to modernize the home while maintaining its integrity. Holtz & Son craftspeople sanded layer after layer of black paint from the original arched front door, revealing the hardwood below. After a window opening was cut, the Holtz team stained and sealed the three-inches-thick door.

“I have a wonderful 100-year-old door, but it was cramping the style of the house,” Sarah says. “It would cost a fortune to replace, but [the Holtz team] worked meticulously to get it perfect. It’s a very small thing in the scope of all the work [that was done], but it means so much to me.”

Inside the house, every wall was refreshed with paint or wallpaper. The dining room’s lacquered ceiling reflects the light that pours in from two sets of glass doors. To conceal vents that couldn’t be relocated, a Holtz & Son decorative artist hand-painted the grillwork to match the surrounding paper.

“Rick told me we couldn’t put paper on the vents because it wouldn’t line up properly,” Sarah says. “For someone to come in and freehand paint … is just amazing. That box on the wall literally disappears.”

The second-floor landing, which opens to a balcony overlooking the front drive, is also dramatically changed. Company president Rick Holtz and designer Lizzie Cox suggested removing the curve at the base of the ceiling, which added nearly two feet in height. Floor-to-ceiling curtains and wallpaper with vertical stripes make the nook feel even larger.

“It was this awful dark space, and now it’s the most beautiful, happy, light-filled spot,” Sarah says. “They did such a great job.”

Having worked with Holtz & Son previously, Sarah knew she could trust them with this project. “Lizzie [Cox] has always said they’re the ones to use, and we knew this house needed everything,” Sarah says. “You know [Holtz] is going to do it right; it’s not going to chip, it’s not going to peel. They’re such good guys.”