Mod meets mediterranean – richmondmagazine.com

The city of Richmond has been good for Katrina and Johnny Giavos, and they’ve been good for the city. It’s where these restaurant titans started their many businesses, where they’ve lived for decades, owned two homes and raised a family. Still, when a Realtor friend told them she’d found a hidden gem of a property, they crossed a line they never imagined they would: into Henrico County.

“I never thought in a million years we’d leave The Fan,” Katrina says. However, the Giavoses — owners of Stella’s, Little Nickel and nine other restaurants in Richmond — were attracted to the idea of a lower cost of living and more “bang for the buck” in the county. But really, what they wanted was more space to create an oasis for family. “When the kids would come home [to visit] in The Fan, it was easy.


They could go out, Uber where they needed to,” Katrina says. “I wanted to build a place where they’d want to come and stay and hang out with friends all day.”

They bought the property in 2012 — an expanse of land tucked among established neighborhoods, not too far from what would become their Kuba Kuba Dos outpost in 2015 — but held on to it for a few years, letting the idea simmer. Katrina recalls the couple’s back and forth: “Johnny was ready, but I wasn’t sure. Then when I was ready, Johnny said, ‘Are you sure?’” They also wanted to find just the right team to build their home, someone who would understand their vision for an eco-friendly, modern building. “I respect and admire those who stick to one style, but I’ve always been eclectic,” Katrina says. “I wanted a little Mediterranean and a little California modern. I wanted to mix it up.”

There were a couple of must-haves on their list of features. First, a big, open kitchen, since it’s not unusual for up to 30 people to gather for a Giavos family meal. Their new home features an open floor plan that incorporates kitchen, dining and living areas in one big space overlooking the pool and patio area. In the kitchen, highlighting the expected top-of-the-line appliances is an unexpected backsplash: Farrow & Ball wallpaper covered in glass, which extends 18 feet up to the ceiling. Globe pendants illuminate a Carrera-marble island with a waterfall edge, a sink on one side and seating for six on the other. Polished concrete flooring throughout the first floor is softened with a vintage Persian here, a fluffy Flokati there. Comfortable, stylish furnishings in neutrals — grays and blushes, accented with greens and blues — underscore the welcome-home vibe.

Another must-have on the couple’s wish list was a first-floor master suite, which they’ve outfitted in soft colors and textures with an upholstered bed and a Persian rug given to Katrina by her mother, Stella — one of the few pieces that they brought from their Fan home. Walls are the palest of blue, with an equally quiet shade in the bath, providing a backdrop for bold, graphic tile in the shower.

Upstairs are three bedrooms for frequent visitors: one for daughter Maria; one for son Dean and his wife, Rachel; and one for Ruby, Dean and Rachel’s daughter and Katrina and Johnny’s beloved grandbaby, each space designed for the sometimes-occupant. Dean and Rachel’s room, for example, features a rock ’n’ roll-meets-glam vibe, with Farrow & Ball Breakfast Room Green walls, a plush cut-velvet upholstered bed in a salmony pink, spiky metallic lamps and a well-loved set of drums.

The pool is the backyard highlight, and a pool house is another guest’s getaway. With a wall of Martinique wallpaper (also featured in Little Nickel, perhaps one of the most Instagrammed restaurant walls in Richmond), the guest house is outfitted with a kitchenette, a sitting area, a bed and a full bath. “Having the pool house has been really nice,” Katrina says. “It’s like a little hotel room.”