Variety is not only the spice of life, but also one of the key elements in an inspired interior. Throughout Janette and Michael Heitz’s Central Avenue townhouse, you find classic taste intermixed with adventurous art, global souvenirs, and family heirlooms.
Janette’s design philosophy focuses on using “high and low, new and old to create traditional style with a slant.” This translates into mixing high-priced items with bargain finds, incorporating new furnishings alongside antiques, and blending in contemporary art. She says, “Our furnishings are a mixture of fine furniture, consignment store finds, family hand-me-downs, auction finds, and on-line shopping. I like a collected look that is cozy and inviting.”
And, Janette is a bit of an expert. Readers glean decorating advice and more from her successful “The 2 Seasons” lifestyle blog, which features DIY projects, recipes, travelogues, design ideas, and personal stories. The former journalist started the blog with her daughter, Jordan, eight years ago with the intent of sharing “two generations, two states, two styles.” Now, it has grown into a part-time job. “It serves as a creative outlet. I love it, especially interacting with the readers,” she says.
Janette’s audience has been able to follow each stage of the townhouse’s renovation since the Heitzs purchased it in 2018. The couple had downsized to a two-bedroom home, but, as Janette says, with a laugh, “Then our kids, for some reason, started getting married and having babies.” So, when they saw an open house for their current home, they decided to check it out and, consequently, made an offer. Janette states, “Our home is special because we saw its potential. We knew that it would be a lot of work, but we also knew that we could make it beautiful. We love a good project.”
To fulfill the home’s potential, they employed architect Jack Stewart, as well as builder Koller Warner Construction and Plum Carpentry. The full renovation on the 1980 colonial townhouse took nine months and involved repurposing and opening up old spaces, as well as creating new ones. Janette explains, “For instance, we removed a wall in the foyer to open up the new dining room. We turned a former dining room into an office. We used some of the space in the former open foyer to create a walk-in closet for the master bedroom. We stole space from two bathrooms to create a laundry room. We made all of the doorways on the first floor seven feet high to accommodate the height of Michael, a former basketball player.”
But, perhaps the biggest undertaking was moving an exterior wall to make way for a great room, which required removing a brick wall and two brick fireplaces and adding a steel support beam. To give a rustic touch, the beam was wrapped with wood reclaimed from a New York City skyscraper.
Once the construction was completed, Janette immersed herself in the redesign and decorating process. To begin, she chose a neutral color palette with navy accents. She says, “Navy has been my favorite color for as long as I can remember.” She also added pops of color in each room for interest. Then, with the help of interior decorator Beth Harper of the Lone Re-Arranger, she placed furniture and hung art.
Her “high and low, new and old” philosophy is reflected throughout, starting in the airy dining room where the traditional wood table and stately armoire from her previous residence commingle with a bamboo bar cart bought on Facebook marketplace, contemporary blue and white artwork above the mantle, and a colorful abstract painted by Janette, herself. But, the room’s pièce de résistance is an antique high-wheeled bicycle, known as a penny-farthing, that was built in the 1880’s. Janette says, “I saw it hanging on a porch in an antique shop in Danville and knew I had to have it. It is the item that I would save if I had five minutes to get out of our house in an emergency.”
Michael’s office, which is located off the dining room just beyond a set of French doors, also contains a couple of unusual artifacts, including a vintage plaque depicting the logo of The Hartford, where he was long employed, and a framed “Original 13 Rules of Basketball” with handwritten notes by Dr. James Naismith.
During the remodel, one room received extra attention. “I’m a kitchen girl,” says Janette, an accomplished cook. She knew exactly what she wanted and knew that Debra Willett Hupman of Creative Kitchen & Bath could achieve it. The result is a room that is both utilitarian and stylish with a combination of low-maintenance Alleanza quartz countertops and walnut countertops from Burton Made; a Kohler farmhouse sink; custom cabinetry in crisp white; and Thermador appliances, including a raised dishwasher. There is also a bar, in Janette’s signature navy blue, with a plate backsplash. But, the most eye-catching element is the unique, white powder-coated stove hood with sleek stainless-steel straps. Janette says, “I wanted a hood that was a showstopper.”
Next to the kitchen is a combination walk-in pantry/office with cabinets, drawers, shelving, and a built-in desk from Premier Garage.
The adjacent living room again combines traditional couches and chairs with heirlooms like a wormy chestnut trunk passed down from her grandmother and modern touches like Samsung’s The Frame television.
Janette loves art that wasn’t first intended to be art. So, the walls, boast everything from a map of United States with French wording purchased from a Paris flea market to vintage magazine advertisements to framed sheet music from World War I that she rescued from her grandfather’s barn. “Art gives a house personality,” she says.
The ground floor also houses a mudroom, enclosed breezeway, and both powder room and full bathroom. All the home’s bathrooms were also designed by Creative Kitchen & Bath.
In addition to a master suite, the second floor contains a nursery, full bath, laundry room, and guest room. Each offers more examples of Janette’s eclectic aesthetic. In the guest room, you’ll find an antique chest, which was a gift to them as newlyweds; a French painting from the fifties purchased recently from the Bluegrass Trust Antique Show; and lamps made from vases acquired in Singapore. Both Janette and Michael are avid travelers, having visited 80 and 100 countries, respectively. Naturally, they find treasures abroad, but Janette states, “Even when we travel, I make sure that the souvenirs we get will fit into our house.”
The townhouse also has a finished third floor, with a large “dorm” room designed especially for visits from the grandchildren, and replete with a craft room, full bath, and guest room just next door for “adult supervision.”
Throughout, extra touches like solar tubes, which capture sunlight from the roof and deliver it inside, make it truly special.
Now, Janette is looking forward to warmer weather, so she can begin making the outdoor space, which consists of a front yard and courtyard built and designed by United Landscape, her own. “The courtyard has room for an herb garden, something I have had for forty years, and colorful, flowering annuals. We are also adding a fountain this spring.”
Janette will continue to share her remodeling journey, as well as tips, tricks, and personal anecdotes on her “The 2 Seasons” site. Join her there.