Text: Emily Jackson
Images: Hector Sanchez
Exterior Image: Natalie Thompson
For Yancey Seibert Shearouse, preservation has been a lifelong passion. As a native of Natchez, Mississippi, home to the nation’s most distinguished pre-Civil War residences, accessibility to such historically significant structures instilled a reverence for classic architecture. “I didn’t have a normal upbringing,” says Shearouse. “In the third grade, I was talking about furniture. I completed my first real projects, a 1915 Colonial Revival and an 1870s Federal Greek Revival, as a college student.” Over the years, the designer’s inherited appreciation has helped hone the hallmark of her residential work— highlighting a home’s beauty while creating livable spaces.
When her Augusta clients, a family with three young children, found their perfect abode in a 1927 Colonial Revival in the Federal style, Shearouse was enlisted to oversee a renovation of the interiors as well as the exterior. Kept in the same family for 54 years, the home boasted a well-preserved main house with soaring ceilings, elegant millwork, and a sweeping foyer staircase. A 1985 side addition encapsulating the kitchen, den, and two bedrooms didn’t naturally relate to the original structure architecturally, but its potential was revealed in the home’s initial plans. In studying the original hand drawings of the house, Shearouse discovered a parapet design, a sidewall that extends past the roof line, that had never been built. This feature would allow for a new front lawn-facing facade wall to be erected while disguising the raised ceiling height.
“In incorporating the parapet, I was able to seamlessly tie in the addition with the original architecture, so it doesn’t feel foreign. The oldest part of the house talks to the newest part,” she says.
Exterior Before and After
Staircase Before and After
Living Room Before and After
The living room runs the length of the house, offering access to the side porch.
Kitchen Before and After
Shearouse’s first order of business was designing her client’s dream kitchen—a black, high-gloss space incorporating two Hudson Valley light pendants.
The updated quarters now function to fit the family’s active lifestyle and penchant for entertaining with a generous family room, porch, breakfast room, and open kitchen design. “The kitchen is the heart of the home, so it needed to flow visually into the family room and outdoor spaces while also connecting to the main house,” she says. A line of sight from the high-gloss black island draws the eye toward the entry staircase through the home’s main hallway. Sophisticated paneling cleverly conceals a powder room directly across from an airy cased opening that gives a peek into the peacock-hued dining room. The bold palette, echoed throughout each well-appointed space, is a reflection of the homeowner’s personal style.
“Your house needs to look good on you. Once you understand your colors, they don’t ever change, they just fade. This house is a true example of this—she loves black, peacock, and chartreuse, and it really is a reflection of her,” says Shearouse. A black-and-gold patterned wallpaper enveloping the foyer and entry staircase makes the original arched doorways and detailed trim stand out while acting as a practical surface for little hands and feet. In the period living room, white walls temper pops of chartreuse introduced on the drapes and ottoman to enliven the traditional space. A mix of contemporary upholstered seating and abstract art play off the room’s antique appointments, such as the carved mantel and elegant sideboard. “We balanced the classic elements with more modern, unexpected touches to keep the house fresh and youthful,” she says.
The designer was careful to source pieces that would convey the fun, casual verve her clients desired. A minimalist Kelly Wearstler chandelier holds court in the dining room, while a large-scale peacock sectional in the family room invites all manner of relaxation. “The home is rooted in classic design but is still approachable,” she says. “Our goal was to make this old house come back alive but live new.”