There is no doubt The Clifton has had a fascinating past. Originally built in 1799, the historic 100-acre estate once belonged to Thomas Jefferson’s son-in-law, Thomas Mann Randolph Jr. Husband to Jefferson’s oldest daughter, Martha, Randolph was a senator, delegate, and governor of Virginia, and used the land as an outpost for trade up and down the Rivanna River.
Since the mid-1980s, the 1,850-square-foot historic building has operated as the acclaimed inn, The Clifton. Due to a recent change of ownership, however, the interiors have been beautifully revamped by Blackberry Farm Design to give the space a more contemporary aesthetic.
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The inn was originally decorated in a neutral color scheme with pops of gold and traditional furnishings. "[It] actually was a great clean slate for us to refresh," explains the Tennessee–based design firm.
The structural bones of the inn were left intact, but the 20 guest rooms and main living spaces throughout were refreshed with new wallpaper, paint, and artwork, along with modern light fixtures and furnishings.
"We focused on a balance between modern and traditional in every space," notes the team at Blackberry Farm Design.
"We chose a classic chesterfield sofa covered in a green velvet for an unexpected punch of color. The printed fabrics throughout have a traditional pattern in a lively, colorful way. We placed vintage prints in the bar, mixing them with a large contemporary painting."
The veranda is the most popular place to dine at The Clifton, thanks to its large windows overlooking the lush back lawn. Blackberry Farm Design freshened up the space by painting the coffered-bead board ceilings and the wrought iron chairs in a soft green. The team also infused new light fixtures throughout.
Some of The Clifton’s original furnishings—like rustic pine demitasse tables in the foyer, along with an armoire and the bedside tables in the guest suites—were kept and paired with more modern pieces.
"We felt that keeping some of the antique pieces that had been at the inn for many years created a sense of character to The Clifton," adds the team.
"The arrangement of furniture is comfortable and traditional to preserve the feel of a historical inn. Meanwhile, the introduction of pops of color, modern textures, and style creates a more unpredictable look," continues the firm.