The mailbox is the first hint that Deitz and Terry Lilly’s home, just off Hooper Road in Forest, is not going to be the standard, run-of-the-mill house. Rescued from Black Dog Architectural Salvage in Roanoke, the ornate box not only directs people to the Lilly home but is a small indication of what’s inside.
Terry and her husband Deitz built their remarkable home in 2007. Deitz owns Deitz Lilly, Builders Inc., a construction company in Forest known for its quality. He has built homes in Lakepointe, Wellington Court, Brookstone, Walker’s Crossing and Grand Oaks. It is a family business, with his son at his side on the construction end and daughters in the office and in real estate. However it is his wife Terry who takes on the very important role of the designer in the homes they build for themselves and others.
Terry Lilly exudes talent from every pore of her body, and has a real knack for design. With no formal training, she has style with a capital “S”. According to Joanne Nash, a well-known artist specializing in professional finishes, Terry does not think “in the box.” Nash has worked extensively with the Lillys on projects in this house as well as in previous homes. She explains that Terry “is open to texture and color. She can communicate with an artist and can see what she wants.”
There is definitely a designing woman in Terry Lilly. Although she does not have an art background, Terry was at one time a hair stylist. “I loved doing hair color,” says Terry. “It allowed me to be creative.” Little by little Terry developed her sense of color and today she has a real eye for it. “I can key in on a color,” she explains. “If I know the base colors in a particular shade, I will know if I want it. The colors mix in my mind and I know what it will ultimately look like.”
Deitz builds homes and Terry designs the interiors. Lilly homes are always customized and decorated with Terry’s flair and unique style. “I am always looking for something different, and create in my mind how I want the layout to be. And then it all comes together,” she explains. “I have done a lot of houses, and each one is different.” Deitz Lilly homes have a look all their own; what is special for others is ordinary for them.
Both Terry and her husband Deitz share many similarities in their style preferences, making them a perfect match to work together. “Our tastes are very similar. The idea is kind of born with me and I talk out loud and draw things. I show Deitz and ask him how we can make it happen. We are a good team. He knows how to get it done.”
The lodge style of the Lilly’s latest personal home features a design all Terry Lilly’s own. A stamped concrete driveway and distinctive landscaping complement the home’s rustic style. The feeling on the back deck area recalls sitting in a tree house. “This is where we live,” says Terry of this area. Growing up in rural Big Island, Terry likes her privacy. The setting on an oversized lot with many trees and Serene Creek below provides the perfect mix of peace and quiet, while still offering the convenience of restaurants and shops a few miles away.
The mortar and brickwork provide another distinctive touch. The bricklayers used extruded mortar joints when laying the brick, which creates the rustic look of mortar oozing between each brick layer. A great deal of proficiency is necessary to complete this technique, but the charming effect is well worth the effort.
Inside the home, Terry’s magic touch is evident—in every room and every corner. A splash of color here and a decorative piece there is quite typical in most homes where a professional designer has had a hand. At the Lilly home, Terry has done more of the unexpected, used unusual materials, and mixed markedly contrasting things together in a way that surprises, amuses and plays with the senses. What may be entirely out of place in one situation is lovely when Terry uses it! For example, her draperies are burlap. Yards and yards of burlap unfurl from the ceilings and blend with beautiful and shimmering silk. Terry can truly transform a sow’s ear into a silk purse. By combining burlap with silk, she has achieved a delightful mix of textures to produce enchanting window treatments.
Every room has Terry Lilly’s signature style. This is the tenth home that Terry has designed for her family, and this one has a rustic Southwestern feel. Exposed beams and reclaimed flooring from Antique Building Products in Amherst provide just the right touch. The master bath features glass sinks which Terry discovered online, as well as a mural done by Joanne Nash. However, it is the powder room that truly draws attention. The entire room embraces copper theme, right down to the commode. The sink is copper as well, and the countertop is a piece of cement with a painted faux-copper finish. Terry commissioned Joanne Nash to do faux work on the toilet as well as a finish on the walls. “I saw a piece of art in a book and loved it,” explains Terry of her inspiration for this room. She asked Joanne to copy it on her walls.
Terry says that things “speak” to her. So when she sees something she likes, she buys it and knows that someday she will find the perfect place for it. A few years ago while visiting Black Dog Salvage in Roanoke, she found a piece of a theatrical prop in the corner covered with cobwebs. “It spoke to my heart,” she says. So she bought it and put it in her basement. When the Lillys began building their present home, it became the perfect cornice over a window in the laundry room. The burlap fabric used as window treatments throughout her house “called” to her as well. She discovered the fabric on a shopping tour in San Francisco’s Chinatown and carried the 30-yard bolt of fabric all over the city.
There is often a touch of whimsy in her designs. Both her laundry and side entrance hall perfectly illustrate this. A small table in the laundry has two legs—that is, what appears to be a person’s legs dressed in faded jeans and work boots. The hall features a topiary mannequin. Terry found it in a shop in Farmville and fell in love with it. “I love finding stuff in local places. [The mannequin] spoke to my heart and here she is! She greets me as I come in,” she says.
The kitchen is an eclectic mix of the traditional and the surprising. The elegant cabinetry was created by Stevens Custom Cabinets. Joanne Nash put some finishing touches on the cabinets and also did the faux work on the concrete slab that serves as a bar and serving area. The walk-in pantry features a screen door at its entrance.
One of the coziest rooms in the home is the den. Comfortable seating and warm colors make it a room just right for relaxing, curling up and reading a good book. Terry wanted the walls in here to appear old; Nash achieved just the right look in another faux treatment evoking weathered and time-worn plaster.
Terry chose the furnishings throughout the home with comfort in mind. Most can be moved around from room to room. And she is known to do just that quite often. “My husband says that he has to check and see if the chair is there before he sits down!” says Terry.
Her style does indeed make an inviting atmosphere, which is exactly what Terry is trying to achieve. “It is important to me that our home is warm, inviting, and definitely lived in,” she says.
One reason why Terry Lilly is so successful in her work is that she is not afraid to think of and try new things. For example, she mixes Tiffany lighting with chandeliers fashioned from antlers. She believes that you must do what you love and have the confidence to go for it. “I think that I have done it so much now and I love what I am doing. It works for me and I don’t care what other people think,” she says.
What is next for Terry Lilly? “I have been having an urge to sling some paint,” she says. She plans to take up painting and build a small art studio in their home. This is perhaps the next career for this talented lady. If Terry Lilly can “sling paint” as well as she designs and decorates homes, you just may see more of her talent on display around town soon!