Sunday, December 3, 2023

Where We Live: Cool and contemporary in Kingsmill

When a contract on a townhouse in Kingsmill fell through at the last minute and with the closing date on their current home quickly approaching, Donna and Olivier Raoust had to act quickly.

The couple, who had fallen in love with Kingsmill over the years for its history, community and beautiful trails and trees, arranged to view five homes for sale in one day. The fifth, at 101 John Paine, spoke to them in a way the other four didn’t.

“As soon as we saw it we just knew,” said Donna Raoust. “It didn’t look a thing like it does now. But it makes you feel like you’re living in a treehouse. And having the ravine behind us, and having the wooded lot, we just fell in love with it.”

The home wasn’t aesthetically in very good shape. Little had been updated since it had been built in 1984. The was old carpet everywhere, dated and builder’s grade tile and woodwork, and generally just not to the new owners’ taste. The layout of the kitchen was cramped and a staircase to the basement cut off a large portion of space on the main floor.

“We basically gutted everything,” Donna Raoust said. The construction wasn’t simple, but the couple made it work, fashioning a makeshift kitchen in the den. They left the master bathroom renovation for last, so they didn’t need to move out of the home.

“As per usual, the eight-week renovation lasted five or six months,” Donna Raoust said.

The couple opened the kitchen up to the rest of the main floor and opted for an island instead of the peninsula to make better use of the space. Removing the basement staircase made way for more expansive main floor and a better flow for the family.

The bathrooms all received modern upgrades, and the fireplace got a much-needed makeover. The surround is now made up of handmade glass mosaic tile, while the inside uses a specialty fire glass instead of more traditional logs.

Despite nearly every surface of the home being painted, refinished, repaired or replaced, Donna Raoust said the design came together fairly quickly.

“Two of my best friends are very talented interior designers, and in my last home I was never confident enough to do things on my own,” Donna Raoust said. “I would always consult with them or in a couple situations I just hired them. And this time Olivier and I said ‘You know what? We’re going to do this on our own.’”

The couple’s design philosophy has made the space stylish, comfortable and unique.

“I’ve always really loved mixing contemporary pieces with something like that French industrial bar cart back there,” Donna Raoust said “Then you have this console piece that has some Asian influence while behind the sofa is a French piece from my husband’s family. Just a whole mix of unexpected stuff.”

But aside from the finishes, Donna Raoust also appreciates the bones of the house, which was the main reason her and Olivier Raoust purchased it.

“This house is super easy to live in,” Donna Raoust said. “The room above the garage can easily be a room for a nanny or it could be perfect for an in-law to have their own space. If you have teenagers you could turn the basement into a cool teen space, gym or a home office. There’s so many things you could do with it with just a little imagination.”

To learn more about the home, click here. 

Where We Live is a weekly feature looking at homes in the Historic Triangle. Do you have a home, on or off the market, that our readers may be interested in seeing? Let us know at

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