What we do

What’s the biggest challenge as a designer working on your own home?

When you’re exposed to so many design influences, there’s a temptation to try out solutions that have been kicking around in your head over the years. That the home has a strong circus narrative – in a way, its own “client” to please – helped to focus the effort.

Did you feel limited by the home’s history?

As a preservationist, the goal was to honor the history while adapting it for current living That’s the best way to ensure the future for a historic home, rather than re-producing lost details. First, I addressed the functional issue that we no longer live like the original owners in the 1890s, so we chose to sensitively shift the family hub from the original kitchen location to what had been the dining room. Since the home went through years of institutional use, we could do this without removing any details that were lost decades before. Instead, we took the opportunity to re-interpret the home’s gothic details in a new context in the kitchen, inserting the appliance bank in the location of the lost built-ins. This allowed a generous island to hold court where a dining table would have been.

Did your kitchen re-location have a domino effect?

That the first Victorian owners had 3 separate parlors allowed us to claim the nearest to the kitchen as the new dining room.  Rather than a dedicated formal dining space, we used a double chesterfield sofa as a combination banquette for dining, with its companion side anchoring a seating area around the fireplace.

The original kitchen was the perfect scale for an intimate media room. Along with a new exit to the side yard through the mud-room we created, these rooms make up the more relaxed family core of the home, while the formal areas are its public face. The home’s original layout was surprisingly open for its era, and those spaces flow well for entertaining.

Two of the parlors are formed by the home’s turrets. In what was once the “music room,” the circular space now reads as a “tent room” with a wink to the circus. The new painted wall motifs throughout the first floor set a festive tone in their larger-than-life scale, not unlike a performance.

Project Brief:

  • New custom kitchen design with Butler Pantry
  • Integrated lighting, including back-lit onyx at the re-created fireplace and stove
  • New Media room with cherry casework & tufted nailhead lighting valence
  • Library/Study with curved ironwork book-cases in the turret, Bradbury & Bradbury wall-covering
  • Master Bedroom featuring architectural salvage Victorian balustrade & built-ins

Whether the starting point for your project is a new build, a kitchen/bath re-model, a renovation or restoration with historic considerations – even an up-date with finishes and furnishings – we will get to know your life-style & goals to tailor a solution that expresses your personal style & supports a life well-lived.