By Donna Ison


From your first step onto the front porch, this home seems to say, “Welcome, and prepare to have a wonderful time.” With its ample seating, vivid pillows in cheerful aqua and coral, festive floral door wreath, and oversized hanging baskets teeming with plants, it provides the perfect preview to what lies within.

The Victorian Foursquare on Martin Luther King Boulevard was originally built in 1904 by the Cromwell Family on what was then Walnut Street. For the past six years, it has been the home of interior designer Phillip Marcum and Tim Burcham of Burcham Solutions, which provides professional guidance to non-profit organizations to help them achieve their fundraising, strategic planning, advocacy and executive search goals.

The couple, who have been married since 2011 had one primary goal in mind when renovating the property—adding flow and function to the floorplan to make it an ideal place for entertaining, while keeping the original architectural intent. Tim says, “We were determined to maintain the historical integrity of the home while at the same time opening it up.”

With the help of contractor Bill Nuud, they accomplished this by expanding the kitchen and adding entryways, but duplicating the original pocket doors throughout. Once the lay-out met their needs, Phillip took over, putting his 25 years of professional experience and design philosophy to work. Phillip says, “I think every home needs the three key qualities of interest, character and depth. I like to achieve these by combining personal keepsakes, family heirlooms, high-end items, neoteric touches and original artwork. I like curating eclectic elements. It all started from going to flea markets and yard sales with my grandmothers.”

Phillip is also a proponent of using powerful patterns, vibrant colors, and an array of textures side by side. The result is a house where each room is a feast for the eyes.

“The décor reflects where we’ve been, who we are, and what we care about. Everything is this house has a story,” states Phillip.

Original art graces nearly every wall. Tim explains, “When we travel, we always set aside time to find a piece of art that really speaks to us.” Among these are paintings done by local artists Theo Edmonds and Dawna Scripps; several works from the estate of the renowned Robert Wolfe; a large portrait of Bono by San Diego-based speed painter and motivational speaker, Eric Wahl; and a pair of abstract dachshund prints purchased from a New York street artist. Having two dachshunds, art depicting the breed is displayed in several rooms, as are traditional blue and white ginger jars and peacocks, for which Phillip holds an affinity.

In addition to art, many of the walls are covered with exquisite, textured wallpaper. In the dining room, you find a graphic, trellis pattern achieved with black sand. The powder room possesses Ralph Lauren flocked wallpaper in a grey leopard print. And, leading up the staircase is a foil paper with an elaborate jewelry motif that is a replica of paper from the movie set of “To Catch a Thief.” Carpets from Carpet One and window treatments from DH Designs compliment the whimsical walls. Throughout the house, furniture pieces have been given new life by receiving lacquered paint jobs in dynamic hues and sleek hardware in crystal and silver.

The first floor houses the parlor, formal dining room, den, a powder room, and the fully renovated eat-in kitchen.

The parlor and dining room exemplify Phillip’s bold, yet balanced design aesthetic. Both possess revamped flea market finds, upscale items, contemporary details, sumptuous fabrics, elaborate tablescapes, and antiques all existing in exquisite harmony.

For the kitchen, all the cabinetry was gifted to Phillip by a client posing a particular challenge. “Making it work in this space was like putting together a puzzle,” he states. However, in conjunction with Derrick Whitaker of Creative Kitchen and Bath, they were able to make them all fit seamlessly. A stainless-steel Viking professional gas range, refrigerator, and industrial island stand in beautiful contrast to the cherry cabinets. The space is accented with quartz countertops, a hood decorated with an ornate relief, a trio of crystal chandeliers, and colorful flower and fruit wallpaper. A stone-look partial wall separates the casual dining area. It contains a large floating dining table and custom-built bar with wine fridge, ice maker, and shelving to display their collection of glassware.

The second floor boasts two guest rooms; a luxurious guest bath; and Phillip’s closet. Tim says, with a laugh, “He does not share well with others. He had to have his own space.” The closet provides ample storage with clothing racks, shoe shelving, a custom chest of drawers and silver leaf dressing table.

The gorgeous guest bath was recently redesigned by Bella Yunker Designs. The room is decked out in several shades of gray with different sheens and patterns, including a silvery peacock feather print wallpaper. Along with the marble tub surround with matching vessel sink and countertop, it evokes a feeling of old Hollywood glamour.

The owner’s bedroom is located on the third floor in what was formerly an attic. To convert the space into an airy and spacious suite, the previous owners added elements such as skylights, a cozy window seat, built-in desk, and conversation area. The master bath provides a dry sauna, dual sinks set in masculine black marble, and a soaking tub inset in a contemporary wood platform.

Stepping out the back door, it is hard to believe you are near the heart of downtown. The opulent oasis is replete with a koi pond with waterfall, classical nude male statue, multi-leveled deck and patio seating, and meticulously manicured flowerbeds planned and planted by landscape designer Ty Medaris of Medaris Design. “I spend all of my time right here,” Phillip says referring to the screened sunroom that overlooks the serene scenery. “This is where I go to get away from it all and find my Zen and meditate. I listen to the wind chimes and the waterfall and just escape.”

The exterior and interior of this home combine to create a property that is both cosmopolitan and comfortable. Phillip says, “The most meaningful compliment we’ve ever received about the house is that it is not only well-designed, but warm and makes everyone feel at home. That is what we want, for this to be a safe space for everyone who visits.”

And, literally, hundreds of guests visit over the course of a year. Phillip and Tim have hosted countless parties, many of them benefiting charities, such as AVOL, UK Feast on Equality, LGBT Center of Orlando and Arbor Youth Services. Each June during the Lexington Pride Festival, the two open their house for a Pride Brunch. Last year, there were 368 attendees. Both Tim and Phillip, are deeply committed to furthering LGBTQ rights, with a specific emphasis on homeless and disenfranchised youths.

At the end of the afternoon, it was easy to see what attracts so many to this spectacular abode. This downtown dwelling is steeped in style and a hub of hospitality. It is the kind of home you are eager to enter and always a bit sad to leave.