Neither Julie Metzinger nor Natalie Officer could have imagined that a chance meeting while out shopping would lead to a lasting personal and business relationship.
“I met Julie at a random clothing store,” Officer explained. Metzinger introduced herself, and the two became friends over the next year. Today, they are not just close friends, but they also work together at Officer’s company, Natalie O Designs. “By the time we started diving into this beautiful home renovation, we were connected already,” Officer said of the project.
Dining for dozens
Metzinger was the owner of a traditional ranch home in Northfield, and she already had a good idea of what she wanted out of the renovation — the major aspect being a space large enough to accommodate nearly 40 people.
“It was very much about function,” Officer said. “The way that they live in their home and the way that they entertain in their home is very communal. (It’s) a true home for a family that hosts monthly gatherings of 35 people plus.”
The roughly 900-square-foot addition, which Officer describes as a “massive dining room,” is more than just a place to serve meals.
“It’s a fireplace room; it’s a community workroom,” Officer said. “It is really the epicenter of birthday parties for everyone in the family, friends’ birthday parties, small weddings, all the things that you want to do and connect with your people — that’s really what this house is about.”
The portraits in the dining room were painted by the homeowner’s mother-in-law, Helen Metzinger. (Photo: Courtesy of Luke Metzinger Photography)
The room, as it is on a daily basis, has enough seating for about 20 people. Extra tables and chairs that Metzinger brings in for special occasions doubles its capacity. Paintings by her mother-in-law, Helen Metzinger, adorn the space and serve as inspiration for the rest of the home renovation.
“We took (the) color story and tried to use it as much as possible throughout the house,” Officer said. She also explained that the ample natural light in the space was created with intention.
“We always joke that women are plants,” she laughed. “We grow through natural light, and we wanted to infuse as much natural light into this space as humanly possible.”
Inspired living space
Signs of the chosen color scheme and purposeful natural light are most evident in the living room, which boasts extra-large windows and built-in shelving.
“That is custom shelving,” Officer said. “It was created as something to hold all of [Julie’s] personal treasures.”
The keepsakes she described include photographs, books, vases, and other mementos. Like the paintings in the new dining space, these items helped guide the look of the home’s interior. Julie laid it all out at the start of the project, Officer explained.
“She brought it to me and said, ‘I want to design a house around these things.’”
Two large windows provide ample natural light in the home office. (Photo: Courtesy of Luke Metzinger Photography)
Each of those pieces influenced everything that was chosen to fill the Metzinger abode.
“It’s kissed by midcentury efforts,” Officer said of the home, “but I think it’s something that’s far more elevated, but also relatable in the realm of interior design and architecture. It’s really an artful expression of architecture and interior design together.”
Keeping it local
In addition to fun pops of color, Julie’s living room also features a custom-made concrete fireplace crafted by Matt Barber of Louisville Concrete Studio.
“He poured all of the slats in concrete and then retrofit it over an existing, traditional fireplace,” Officer said.
She and Julie incorporated the work of multiple local artisans throughout the house. In the dining room, the firewood holder and buffet were created by Louisville metal fabricator Rockerbuilt, as was the mudroom coat rack; the wood roll art in the den was an Instagram-inspired wall hanging put together by independent art installer and University of Louisville graduate Brandon Harder; and the circular wood light in the den is from an Oldham County native who runs Ovmi Designs — and that’s just part of the list of locally sourced furniture and accessories.
“There’s been a lot of focus on essential versus non-essential in this moment,” Officer said. “I think that the innovation that is happening … will once again cue the essential quality of design. So really, the microfocus on the craftsmen and their craft ideally proves their work essential.”
Furniture maker David Bramblett built the acrylic and burlwood table in the living room. (Photo: Courtesy of Luke Metzinger Photography)
She added that the renovation was not simple; it required careful thought, a lot of collaboration, and many curated pieces coming together in just the right way.
“Every single detail had to be walked through,” she said. “That collaborative energy is something I can look back on and really appreciate — especially now that we’re all in isolation.”
Know a house that would make a great Home of the Week? Email writer Lennie Omalza at email@example.com or Lifestyle Editor Kathryn Gregory at firstname.lastname@example.org.
nuts & bolts
Owner: Julie Metzinger, designer and project manager at Natalie O Design.
Designer: Natalie Officer, principal and owner of Natalie O Design.
Home: This is a 5-bed, 3-bath, 2,950-square-foot, ranch-style home that was built in 1954 in the Northfield neighborhood.
Distinctive elements: Acrylic and burlwood coffee table by David Bramblett, art by Matthew Metzger, and concrete fireplace by Matt Barber in the formal living room; firewood holder and buffet by Rockerbuilt, and portrait artwork by owner’s mother-in-law in the dining room; counter light by Billie Bradford in the kitchen; wood roll art by Brandon Harder, marble table by Rockerbuilt, circular wood light by Ovmi Designs, and mudroom coat rack by Rockerbuilt in the den; wood vanity by David Bramblet in the hall bath; pillows throughout by Natalie O Custom Design.
Applause! Applause! Covenant Construction, builder; Britney Groneck, architect; and Perfect Earth, landscaping.
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