SUTTON, W.Va. -- Anthony and Cindy Majestro settled on Sutton as the location for a second home based partially on its position about an hour from Charleston. Before they purchased the house, they frequently stayed at Café Cimino Country Inn during weekend getaways, where they enjoyed the owners' hospitality and Chef Tim Urbanic's delicious meals.
"Melody and Tim Urbanic made us feel so welcome, just like family. We still feel that way," Cindy said. "Sutton is a beautiful, historic town full of friendly people."
Sutton is also a convenient stop for their college-age children. Elder daughter Gina just graduated from WVU, where her younger sister Anna is still enrolled. Son Tony attends Virginia Tech.
"They can pop in whenever they want. It's not too far," Cindy said. They all enjoy outdoor activities on nearby Sutton Lake, the Elk River that borders their property, and local activities and arts.
It was during one of their stays at Café Cimino that they spotted a historic house for sale several doors down from the inn. "We're suckers for older homes," Cindy said.
At the time, they were considering adding a garage to their hillside home in Charleston, and knew its location on a steeply graded hill would necessitate expensive reinforcement to support a garage. They looked at the Sutton home and considered the price.
"I realized that we could buy that garage and get the house free in Sutton for less than it was going to cost to add a garage here," Anthony said.
The exterior of the Kelly House, named for the original owner who built the house as a hotel, had been restored by the previous owner, who was also a talented woodworker. He added the decorative brackets under the eaves and restored the exterior. A section of the original wrought-iron fence found in the backyard completed the front-yard fence that is shown in an 1880s photo.
The Majestros bought the house before the previous owner completed indoor restorations. One of their first projects was to remove vinyl paneling that covered some of the original plaster walls. The house was furnished in heavy Victorian pieces with walls painted dark navy and lighter neutrals or papered in busy floral prints.
When Cindy turned her attention toward furnishing the Sutton home, she decided to use secondhand furniture that would withstand the family's leisure-time activities.
"I didn't want anything new. I wanted it to be fun, durable, inexpensive and no fuss," Cindy said.
"I'd been in The Purple Moon and loved the stuff there. [Owners] Connie and Chuck Hamsher found about a third of the furnishings for us," Cindy said. The Purple Moon, on Quarrier Street, specializes in mid-century modern furnishings.
Connie photographed the house and selected the colors for each room based on the bright furnishings that would go in the rooms. She chose a red from a painting for the two-floor hallway walls, a lime green found in the sleeper sofa fabric for the den and turquoise for the master bedroom's sitting room.
To augment the pieces she obtained through the Hamshers, Cindy pored through eBay, attended auctions and frequented secondhand stores in Columbus and Cincinnati that specialized in mid-century modern pieces. "I started about four years ago, when it wasn't so popular. I paid much less than you'd have to pay now," she said.
One of her first purchases was a hard-to-find sleeper sofa with turquoise and lime upholstery from the 1950s. She wanted a sleeper sofa to accommodate guests. She'd found it online, then traveled to Cincinnati in a U-Haul truck to pick it up. It was one of many trips she made to track down and buy purchases. Sometimes the trips were a disappointment when a photo online didn't live up to an item's actual appearance, but often another item snagged her attention, like the time she spotted a sturdy 10 1/2-foot dining room table.
A skillful faux wood painting job disguised linoleum that covered the tabletop. The table had formerly been in a fraternal lodge in a little town in Ohio. "It was the centerpiece of the lodge meetings. Apparently, the guys would jump on the table as the evenings went on," she said. Cindy had the linoleum stripped and the wood under it refinished. The table easily seats 10 or 12 with chairs that were salvaged from an old restaurant.
Colorful pieces of art, largely from local artists, fill the walls and also inspire wall colors. The red hallway walls frame the steps upstairs, where bright turquoise, dramatic brown/gray and lime green color the bedroom walls.
Cindy stripped the yellow flowered wallpaper from the walls of the girls' bedrooms, but left the paper on the closet walls. When the closet door is opened, the wallpaper's busy pattern contrasts with the furnishings' clean lines and bold stripes on the bed linens.
Not every piece is vintage, but most fit in with the mid-century modern theme. The globes in a light fixture in the master bedroom sitting room are in the shape of martini glasses.
"It's all just fun. The bright colors are cheerful and appeal to me," she said.
Reach Julie Robinson at jul...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1230.