Peek Inside an Interior Designer's Stylish Sanctuary
A neutral palette, lots of light and lack of clutter create tranquility in this Wilmington townhouse.
A framed poster over the fireplace was the inspiration for the homeowner’s design.//Dianna Crystle
Liza Nicole Angelucci’s home is a mirror of her personal aesthetic, a serene space that artfully combines beauty and order.
“Your home should reflect you,” she says. “Your home should make you feel something when you come through the door at the end of the day.”
Angelucci is a designer, the founder of Liza Nicole Interiors. Her townhouse in Wilmington is an incubator of sorts, a place where ideas grow and mature. Her home is high on style and low on clutter. The emphasis is on the pieces that matter: sumptuous furniture, art that makes a statement and meaningful personal mementos.
It’s an unlikely setting for a hip young designer and her husband. The couple live in an over-55 community with a few homes designated for under-55 residents. The Angeluccis were out for a drive when they happened by the construction site. They were smitten by a lot that backs up to the old Hercules golf course.
“We knew that this would be our home and also a show house,” Angelucci says. “We knew that this location would provide us with lots of natural light, plus the privacy and view of the woods.”
The kitchen features Shaker-style cabinets and a marble backsplash.//Dianna Crystle
A truly custom home
Angelucci is accustomed to evaluating building sites. She grew up in Arizona during a housing boom. “My mom was constantly building new houses,” she says.
She was living in a house in Havertown, Pennsylvania, when she and her husband met. He owned a townhouse in Pike Creek. Their combined household reflects their wedding in Hawaii and their deep connection to the islands, as well as their affinity for soft, soothing colors.
“We are very neutral people,” she says. “I love neutrals and I love textures.”
Because their home was a new build, the couple could make design choices that suited their personal taste and lifestyle. Engineered hardwood floors throughout the house ground the space. “I like the dark, barn-y look of them,” Angelucci says.
She also designed features such as custom millwork and wainscoting.
“If you are building a home and you want something the builder doesn’t offer, push back,” she says. “The worst thing they can do is say no—and they probably will say yes.”
In the kitchen, the couple upgraded white, Shaker-style cabinets with bin-style pulls. They opted for stainless steel Viking appliances instead of a standard appliance package. The marble backsplash is set in a herringbone pattern.
The original plan for the master bathroom called for a shower with a half-wall and built-in seat, in keeping with the 55-plus community. Angelucci redesigned the shower, opening up the space by removing the seat and installing a seamless glass door. Instead of a single shower head, she installed two. “We wanted a big, luxurious shower,” she says.
She also reconfigured the closet in the master bedroom to a single spacious walk-in that she and her husband share. Storage is specialized, with hanging racks for shirts and dresses and drawers for folding clothes, socks, jewelry and other accessories. Organization helps to keep the closet tidy. So does mindfully reducing the number of clothes in it.
“Every season we purge,” she says. “We go through what we wear and what we don’t wear—and what would someone else want to wear?”
The console table accommodates lamps, a mounted shard of driftwood and a Tahitian wedding carving.//Jon Friedrich
Throughout the house, the decor is spare and lean. There is no clutter, no dense groupings of objects. Each piece is intentional, promoting a sense of peace and flow. “I love pretty things, but how much do we need?” Angelucci says.
The springboard for her design is art that hangs over the fireplace in the living room, a framed poster promoting the Musei di Praga, a museum in Prague. It depicts a bemused lady wearing a hat with a gloved hand at her mouth, rendered in soft shades of gray with black accents. “That was my inspiration for the whole house,” Angelucci says.
The result is an artistic blend of French-industrial and nautical styles. In an open-concept living and dining area, a painted black console table behind the sofa accommodates two reading lamps and accessories, including a mounted shard of driftwood, vintage wooden shoes and a Tahitian wedding carving. Beneath the table is a rustic wooden toolbox once carried by her grandfather. It holds vintage bottles retrieved from the sea by her husband, an avid diver.
Angelucci began planning furniture placement before the house was complete, attending to such details as installing electrical outlets in the floor where the console table would be in order to power the lamps.
“I knew the TV had to go on the back wall because the fireplace had to be the focal point of the room,” she says. “I am not a fan of putting televisions over fireplaces.”
Her favorite spot is a traditional wing chair upholstered in a geometric print. “I sit in that chair and read every day. It is my happy place.”
The dining area is anchored by a round table surrounded by upholstered chairs with a rounded detail at the top. “A round table is communal, very welcoming,” she says.
Two open cases display pottery, barware, and a vintage scale and weights. Three upholstered bar stools are stationed at a breakfast bar in the kitchen that adjoins the dining area. “It’s very informal, great for those nights when we have a glass of wine, an appetizer, and talk.”
Drapes in a linen blend reflect Angelucci’s affinity for textures and neutrals. Elongated French pleats add a touch of drama. She used the same fabric for Roman shades on the windows that flank the fireplace. The shades are unlined so light can filter through.
Organized and agreeable
A glass-fronted cupboard in the home office displays a
A second-floor home office is accessed through French doors that usher light into the room in place of windows. In keeping with her penchant for order, the designer keeps only her go-to samples in the space to avoid clutter. Her grandfather’s wood-scraping tool and folding rulers along with other tools of the trade, are on display in a glass-fronted cupboard. Clients can relax in upholstered swivel chairs accented with nail heads and review presentations on a flat-screen TV.
Art includes a framed topological map of the Hawaiian Islands. She discovered antique prints of sailing ships on a shopping trip to Lancaster. “They were filthy, so I just cleaned them up.”
Throughout the house, walls are painted in the same sophisticated neutral, Agreeable Gray by Sherwin Williams. “It’s a perfect blend of gray and beige, very chill,” she says.
The exception is the first-floor powder room, a dramatic space with a large brass and glass chandelier and vividly colored art. “I knew I wanted a beautiful, rich chocolate brown grass cloth, accented with vibrant art and brass fixtures,” she says. “I think a powder room is a great place to make a statement—and this one certainly does.”
GET THE LOOK
Embrace a restful palette. Liza Nicole Angelucci chose Agreeable Gray by Sherwin Williams, a soft neutral, in painting the public spaces of her home. Launch a peaceful purge. Don’t clutter your home with objects you seldom—or never—use. Stow them away. Or give them away. Customize the space to suit your lifestyle. The designer worked with the builder during construction on one-of-a-kind upgrades, such as millwork, an upgraded master closet and high-end appliances. Think long term. Cabinetry in the home office has the look of built-ins, but is actually a combination of individual cases that can be removed and reassembled. The couple chose their lot because it backs up to land that will not be developed. Get personal. The couple accessorized their home with family pieces and reminders of Hawaii, including koa wood paddles mounted on the wall in the guest room.