An 1800s Living Room Gets a Facelift Fit for Royalty

Despite its historic prestige and white-gold color palette, this Covington space is far from stuffy thanks to some eclectic touches.

It may very well have been fate that brought Mandy Lehman to the Hearne House. Before the designer got her hands on the space, she and her husband actually considered buying it.

Lehman, the brain behind design agency MANMAN Studios, jumped at the chance to turn a section of the historic Covington mansion into a sophisticated condo that pays loving homage to its past. When she first arrived, the living room walls were painted a hodgepodge of colors that distracted from the finer details of the space, like the original plaster ceiling medallion. Her 21st century solution? Whitewash everything, save for a stripe of gold to bring out the detail in the crown molding.

Lehman also kept the focal point of the room—the home’s insanely cool mantel mirror—painted gold to instantly lift the space and draw the eye all the way up the mile-high ceilings.

The stately Victorian was built in 1874 by Jonathan David Hearne, who was instrumental in the construction of the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge. Today, it’s available to rent through Cincinnati-based Neat Suites.

Despite its historic prestige and white-gold color palette, the space is far from stuffy. Lehman’s eclectic fingerprints are all over, from the cow-hide rug under the coffee table to the pink arrangement blooming from the bar cart.

PHOTOGRAPH BY ROBBIE BARNETT

1. DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH

The vases lining this alcove may look priceless, but Lehman has a secret: They’re actually upcycled pieces from second-hand stores like Goodwill, transformed by local artist and model Laura Cianciolo.

2. PUT YOUR RECORDS ON

Guests at the Hearne Condo can take full advantage of the record player in the living room, which has been stocked with a curated collection of vinyls from the ’60s and ’70s, plus a few modern hits.

3. SWING FROM THE CHANDELIER

Pairing a funky chandelier with a century-old ceiling medallion may seem counterintuitive, but this fixture from Modern Forms breathes fresh, unexpected life into the space.

4. THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS

“We left the [mirror] in the living room gold so the space felt elevated and regal and painted the one in the bedroom black to make it a little more sexy and dramatic in there,” Lehman says.

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