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before & after: how to celebrate your (home’s) age, gracefully

a skillful renovation that was just enough to embrace, not undo, the past

When my clients walked into our gallery last Fall to share they had purchased a home in our island town and wanted me to work with them to help update the interior, I could barely contain my excitement. (Anyone remember that scene in Love Actually when Laura Linney’s character had to hide behind the stairs to jump up and down with excitement before returning to her boyfriend to continue their romantic evening?  It was JUST like that.)  This is a couple who have impeccable taste, have renovated/decorated six homes in the past twenty-three years together and are hands down just fantastic people. I couldn’t have been more thrilled. Then I saw the house…

And the excitement rose. In addition to being exceptional people, they can spot an exceptional home, even in the rough. This was one of those. On the coast, but nestled into a woodland setting, it has all the advantages of a water view, but the privacy and protection of a country home — complete with mature gardens and a stone outbuilding perfect for the gardening shed. The interior needed more natural light, expanded views to the water, a new kitchen and bathrooms and careful editing. What it didn’t need was a total gut and rebuild project, and my clients knew this and held the line throughout the design and construction process to ensure we kept every bit of character intact while improving the home.

Foster Associates architects reworked the floor plan to fix flow problems, enhance views and add functionality. We finished what Foster started, selecting the right combination of finishes and materials to embrace the original details of the house (be sure to get a good look at the ceilings) and our clients extensive collection of antiques, from near and far.  Chuck Millard’s team of master builders and carpenters executed the renovation to a tee, resisting the urge to fix the eccentricities in the house and embrace the age, just as my clients’ mandated from day one.

And I’m so thankful they did. Take a peek at the before, during and after photos below.  Now, nine months later, I still need to contain my girlish excitement with the project.

Only the best,

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The breakfast room benefited from built-in cabinetry and chic chinoiserie furnishings.

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Simplified details and natural materials returned this cottage Kitchen to a space that emphasizes casual gatherings.

 

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The ornate was edited out of the original kitchen and replaced with generous proportions and classical finishes.

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The original balustrade and ceilings were lightly restored to retain all of the character, including cracks in the newel post caps that conjure a story about the house and its inhabitants over the past one hundred years.

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The fact that my clients’ furnishings and collections fit so perfectly into the new/old house is a testament to their unwavering curation and commitment to good taste.

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The Powder Room refresh includes a bamboo chest repurposed as a sink vanity and a light-hearted lattice wallpaper.

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The second floor hall boasts a fantastic view to the water, thanks to new windows supported by a built-in for treasures.

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The master bedroom is a serene getaway thanks to trim upholstered furnishings and a peaceful dollop of blue.

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The master bathroom is neat and efficient and a perfect complement to the master bedroom palette.

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Many thanks, as always, to the team assembled to help bring sophistication and style to our clients’ home.

Foster Associates, Architect

taste team members Michaela Doehler and Ashley DelVecchio

Charles Millard Inc., General Contractor

Apex Kitchens, Kitchen Cabinetry

Rustigian Rugs, Area Rugs

Reagan Baker, Photography

 

About the author patti watson

appreciator, generator and collector of all things well designed; founder and principal of taste

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