When the Junior League of Winston-Salem rebooted their annual Tour of Fine Spaces last year after a COVID-cancelled 2020, they welcomed back tour enthusiasts – albeit in a virtual format – with the stately home of interior designer Lucie Matthews Patton.
As a perfect “we’re back” for Junior League supporters and virtual tour attendees, the Patton residence on Country Club Road checks off several notable boxes and serves as a who’s who of the city’s rich architectural heritage. Billed as a “Curated Classic” on the video, Patton’s narration begins:
“Hello and welcome to our home. Let me tell you a little bit about the history of this house. Built in 1936……the architect was William Roy Wallace. He joined the firm of Charles Barton Keene of Reynolda House fame.”
Even the Flemish bond brickwork of the Patton home’s Georgian style exterior gets a shout out – each Colonial-style brick handmade by brick-making pioneer George Henry Black who it’s been said literally laid the foundation for the city we know today.
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As the camera moves from room to room, it focuses in on a set of blueprints on the dining room table. Patton points out that the original blueprints indicate the home was built for Frank Dalton Esquire “near” Winston-Salem.
“We were out in the country back then,” she says.
When Lucie and her husband, Chuck, purchased the home in 1996, the 60-year-old house was due for some major updates and renovations.
The kitchen was gutted, and the butler’s pantry was eliminated in favor of a roomier eat-in-kitchen. With two active, growing boys – Charles and Baker – a laundry room was placed at the rear of the house in a modest bump-out off the kitchen.
The original maid’s quarters and the garage at the back of the house were transformed into a guest suite easily accessed from the kitchen via a now-enclosed breezeway.
And the former less-than-modest bathroom used by the help was enlarged by incorporating an adjoining space identified on the original blueprints as the “Lawn Closet.”
Today, the Pattons’ beautifully appointed Buena Vista manse is no longer “in the country” and sits both physically and figuratively at the heart of the city. That said, the talented Patton acknowledges that despite her home’s location, most of her work is outside Winston-Salem.
Shortly after Patton received her degree in interior design from Florida State University, she was promptly recruited by Drexel Heritage in Morganton. It was there that the young designer cut her teeth staging showrooms and galleries before focusing on furniture design – a talent that took her to Biltmore House, where she worked on a number of the historic home’s collections, designing dozens of pieces of furniture.
With a resume and a reputation like that, Patton has become a hot commodity in her field.
When Patton begins working with a new client she typically asks them for three words that best describe what they want their home to be.
Out on Figure Eight Island, her clients asked for “organic, unexpected, and edited” when it came to their new contemporary beach house (Southern Home, July/August 2021). The results are spectacular.
Patton was local restaurateur Lynette Matthews-Murphy’s designer of choice when the owner of Springhouse Kitchen and Quanto Basta decided to open up a second Italian eatery in Wilmington.
With a reputation for mixing the old with the new – the past with the present – Patton transformed one of Wilmington’s hidden historical gems into an airy, open mix of formal dining, beguiling courtyard and intimate private grotto adorned with oyster shell chandeliers. Quanto Basta, Wilmington became an instant favorite with the locals.
Back in Winston-Salem, my favorite example of Patton’s knack for giving each space its own special vibe is in the dining room where she’s upholstered the walls in blue velvet, a degree of sumptuousness that begs to be touched. Where else does one feel obligated to caress a wall?
As I say goodbye to Lucie Matthews Patton at the front door, a Madame de Pompadour quote emblazoned above an archway sums up this talented designer’s mantra: “Everyday, I wish to make the world more beautiful than I found it.”
Indeed, she has done that and more.