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November 25, 2014
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At home in a country inn: Restoring past glories

Victoria Lesser stands outside the North Branch Inn
TRR photos by Jonathan Charles Fox


Lesser’s extensive research into the history of the inn, coupled with her design expertise, inspired what she describes as “an eclectic mix” that preserves the original motif, while updating and repurposing space for a new generation. Meticulous to a fault, Victoria is passionate about her work and finds herself “rarely satisfied” to rest, moving from one project to another, in an effort to make all things beautiful. A peek at Lesser’s online diary (www.designgrl.blogspot.com) allows one inside the creative process. “Woke up in the morning thinking about color and how inspired I am by the palette Mother Nature provides,” it reads. “When I choose colors for inside or out,” it continues, “I take into account what colors will be missed most after all the leaves have fallen and we are left with winter’s mark.” It’s that fascination with the change of seasons that led Lesser to stray from Florida and expand her design horizons in this neck of the woods. One renovation led to another and eventually led to her scoping out the inn, which had gone into foreclosure and “was a wreck.” Most folks would have instantly passed on what had become an eyesore, but Lesser has the ability to look beyond the surface and “see the bones of what lies underneath.” Undaunted by the task before her, she toured the grounds and structure and “instantly fell in love” with the place, ignoring her friends and family, who advised her to walk away. “I knew what was there,” she claimed, “after pulling at some old carpeting and searching below the layers, the old bowling alley resurfaced and excitement set in.”