A Maple Ridge home is transformed to merge the home’s era with today’s style.
Designer Lance Cheney considers the dining room the “prettiest room” in this recently transformed 1920s Maple Ridge home. The designer focused on black and cream neutrals, letting the dining table remain the centerpiece of the room.
When interior designer Lance Cheney began a project at a classic home in Tulsa’s
Maple Ridge neighborhood, his task was to bring the ’20s-era home into the 21st Century.
Built in 1925, the Spanish Colonial is nestled on its own little peninsula between streets, so it’s hard to drive by without noticing it. A tiled roof and terrace accented with Mexican tile, curved windows and doorways, built-in woodwork and other architectural influences inspired the project’s leader, Cheney of Richard Neel Interiors.
“It’s such a strong house,” Cheney says. “I loved all the arches in the doors and windows, and the first thing (the homeowner) talked to me about was leaving all the woodwork dark.”
Cheney’s team helped the homeowner, Dr. Lisa Owens, who commutes between Tulsa and Texas for work, create an updated look for the home’s first and second floors and full basement. The goal was to highlight the original integrity of the home while incorporating a modern feel with art, furniture and accents. The outcome is a chic but unfussy retreat for the busy family.
“I thought the experience with Lance and Richard Neel was fantastic, and I’m so pleased with how comfortable my home is,” Owens says.
The project began this past summer in the upstairs area. Owens updated the home considerably after she bought it, but she wanted to refresh her bedroom and study, which the design team did with new furniture, bedding and accents. Now, it’s a relaxing and calm space to unwind.
The arched chestnut moldings and original woodwork are the home’s signature features, so when designing the first floor — with its media-free sitting areas and a dining room — Cheney let the architecture and the client’s lifestyle take the lead.
“For the living areas, we really wanted them to be comfortable and rooms that people really wanted to be in,” Cheney says. “You can sit in the library area by the fireplace with all the natural light coming in through the windows.”
Although the first floor has plenty of space, it’s not arranged the way many homes are today. The homeowner and designer did not want to sacrifice the home’s original details for a trendy floor plan.
“It’s not an open floor plan,” Cheney says. “In the 1920s, the kitchens were separated — not like how we live today.”
By using smart design choices, such as creating an eat-in area and subtle café curtains for the arched windows, the design team created an open and airy feel without hiding the beautiful features that defined the home.
“We knew we had to have some type of curtains for privacy at night,” Cheney says. “Once we had them installed, I knew (Owens would) say, ‘I’m probably never going to close them.’ She loved the natural light, and we wanted to keep that for her.”
Keeping her personal touches also was important to her, so they integrated them into the design.
For example, Owens wanted to keep some family portraits hanging in the living areas, so to work them into the new design, Cheney had them reframed to be consistent with the new art she selected.
“I think it is important when working with a designer to be honest about the selections they offer you,” Owens says. “Don’t worry you will hurt their feelings. After a couple of meetings with the boys, they knew my taste and rarely presented me with anything I didn’t like. Let your designer know what you like and your budget. That way, you will have the home and the look you love.”
All the items used for the interior came from Neel’s Brookside storefront, “home,” which made redecorating simple and convenient.
“(Owens) really is great about making choices,” Cheney says. “She was decisive and knew exactly what she wanted, which made my job so much easier.”
For the dining room, which Cheney thinks is the “prettiest room of the house,” he focused on blacks and creams as neutrals. The focal point is a stunning table by Mr. Brown London, which is round and open. The base and top are wood, which adds texture to the room.
For the dining room art, they also went for texture — but in an unexpected way. The oversized, up-close photographs of marble resemble a landscape from afar.
“It almost looks like a grassy field,” Cheney says.
Because the view from the dining room was so perfect, looking right out to the pool area, they kept the windows free from curtains.
Owens loves to spend time with her three children, but instead of cluttering the first floor with flat-screen TVs and other entertainment necessities, they converted the basement — with full-height ceilings — into a comfortable media room with custom elements. It was a great way to keep the simplicity of the first floor without having to create room for TVs, Cheney says.
“She really wanted the basement to be a fun room, and she knew they would use it lot,” he says. “It really came together. She already had an 80-inch TV, so we knew we needed a custom sofa to fit the space.”
Owens chose a modern sofa from the showroom, but because of moving and installation concerns, Cheney requested two 60-inch pieces custom made from the manufacturer. And for an accent, they chose a “recliner” made by North Carolina’s Vanguard Furniture that looks like a sleek mid-century modern chair.
Because Owens commutes between two cities for her career, hiring the Richard Neel team was not only a time-saver, but also helped her make the many decisions necessary in a project of this scope.
“I liked being presented with options and not doing all the running around,” she says, plus they were able to envision the homeowner’s wants and needs.
Comfort plus style — that was the key for the entire house.
“It was incredible,” Cheney says. “It is such a charming house.”