To Build or Not to Build? That Was the Question

The Cloisters provided the perfect setting for the Woodman family's dream home.

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Then later, about four years ago, good real-estate karma entered the picture when the Woodmans heard at a party that a family in The Cloisters was selling their home . . . and they saw an opportunity to make their dreams come true without starting from the ground up. The magnificent French-country style house in question was coincidentally located down the street from their existing lot; in a matter of two short weeks, they bought the place.

It so happens that Tricia already had a vision for her perfect home. She had seen the Nancy Meyers film, The Holiday (the one in which Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet exchange houses and boyfriends) and loved the look of the Los Angeles home featured in the movie. For help with translating this cinematic Hollywood ideal into a bricks-and-mortar reality, the Woodmans turned to their trusted friend, interior designer Lee Pruitt, who had decorated their previous home and a country cabin in Eads, Tennessee, as well as houses belonging to both Tricia’s mother and sister-in-law.

Tricia was happy to “listen to Lee” as her husband suggested, but not until first making Pruitt sit through the movie with her to see exactly the look she had in mind. There were also time constraints, because the Woodmans’ old home sold right away, which meant the designer had only a few months to get the new home turnkey ready, or as his clients put it to him, “down to the toothbrushes on the sinks.”

Tricia told Andy “they wouldn’t have to do much to the house,” but as is often the case, some serious renovations were under way within a matter of hours of their taking possession of the property. Tricia suggested the elimination of drapes and replacing small-paned windows to let in more light and to open up the house to the pool area, with its handsome fountain and landscaping, and to the green space behind their property. The interior of the house soon took on a cleaner, more modern look under Pruitt’s capable direction. Rounded arches were squared off, terra-cotta tile floors were replaced, and oak floors were refinished with an ebony stain.

Today, the Woodman home has a glamorously furnished entrance hall (which Lee Pruitt calls “the lobby”), an elegantly sophisticated and large dining room in the center of the house, a relatively small living/game room, a music room, a study for Andy, four bedrooms, a pilates room and, of course, a fabulous, state-of-the art kitchen complete with sitting and dining areas.

Fortunately, Pruitt was able to place all of the Woodmans’ furniture, including some rustic pieces from their Eads cabin. He used a color palette of browns and taupes for walls and fabrics throughout, mounted new sconces and other light fixtures (including a Murano glass chandelier in the entry), and handpicked a number of special pieces of furniture to add just the right touch. A 1959 mid-century modern Florence Knoll couch beckons visitors in the music room, and the art deco bar in the game room holds Kentucky Derby glasses in a nod to Andy’s Kentucky roots. All the doors are painted a bold and sophisticated deep black/brown.

Two long trestle-style tables in the spacious, sophisticated dining room can be used separately or joined together to seat a total of 12.


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