After 17 years in North Falmouth, these parents of four realized life was drawing them increasingly over the bridge. With one son attending high school in Boston, the husband commuting to West Bridgewater, and multiple hockey games off-Cape, the couple began “loosely looking” for a new home. And then, the house found them. They had pulled into a driveway to reset their GPS while scouting another property, looked up and spotted a sign saying the house was for sale.
Last September, the couple moved into this Milton gem. School is now only ten minutes away and everything’s more accessible. “The house, built in the early 1800s, had been completely gutted and renovated with a new addition,” said the wife. “It’s very charming with an old look but completely modern inside.”
A new project with a familiar face
Donna Stearns, interior designer and co-owner of Sundries Furniture in East Falmouth, MA, had worked on the family’s Cape house, so it was natural to enlist her talents again. This time, however, the owners sought an ambience in tune with the urban/suburban location.
“At the Cape, we have a very colorful décor,” the wife said. “I wanted this one to be homey, but also have a modern city feel. I have a minimalistic, clean aesthetic. Life can feel so cluttered – maybe because I have four kids – but I think with minimalist well-organized space, you do better and feel more peaceful.”
Stearns was excited the wife wanted something different for this home. “She’s fun to work with and she’s brave,” said Stearns. “I love that she’s willing to take a leap of faith and try new things.”
Purple really can work
The wife’s only caveat, when it came to the home’s décor, was that she doesn’t like purple. Ironically, Stearns had just chosen an eggplant-toned Thibaut wallpaper for the dining room. In the end, both agree it turned out beautifully.
The room began with two pieces the wife purchased years ago from Sundries: a chest with a slightly distressed pale green finish and a sideboard, both by a California artisan. Stearns found a “gorgeous rug from Capel” with a similar pale green hue and hint of blue. “It’s ‘vintage-y,’ but not old-fashioned,” Stearns said.
The wallpaper’s metallic element adds glamour and its circular pattern is echoed in the three large circles of a mirror hung at the foot of the stairs.
In the kitchen, a table of reclaimed wood set on black iron legs and a matching bench set an industrial vibe. Stearns softened the look with “sweet” chairs by Lee Industries, slipcovered in a fresh fabric.
Space dedicated to the children
Upstairs, a long narrow space between the master bedroom and children’s wing presented a challenge. Stearns suggested they “make it look like a student lounge” with areas for the kids to study, play music or watch television.
“That was all Donna,” said the wife. “I was daunted by that space.” Now, every inch of it is well-used, from the high sturdy table for laptops to the four rounded-back club chairs in different tones of durable Sunbrella fabric.
On the basement level, a media/family room is youthful and comfortable with a sectional in another Sunbrella fabric, a pub-height table behind the sofa for added television viewing, and a leather ottoman whose four triangular wedges unite to form a circle. The rug’s driftwood grey, slate blue and wedgewood blue incorporate Cape Cod hues.
A master oasis
In the master bedroom, Bella Notte linens and a Thibaut upholstered chaise share space with a shag hand-knotted pearly rug – actually, two standard size rugs laid together versus going the custom route. With such a lively household, it’s no surprise the wife treasures the quiet palette of the master bedroom. “I love our bedroom,” said the wife. ”It has a traditional feel but a modern flair with the upholstered headboard. It’s very simple, airy and peaceful. The chaise is a great place to sit and have a minute to myself.”
And a minute is probably all it will be before it’s back to the busy household that makes this versatile house a home.
Article published in 2013-14 annual issue.
Want to read about more interior design projects? Check out this gambrel-style home that successfully mixes the old with the new.