The once stark Norwell home of a father and his sons gets a masculine makeover that’s meant for comfort.By Lenore Cullen Barnes | Photography by Darren Pellegrino
It’s hard to put a value on peace of mind, but it’s priceless when you find it. For this South Shore homeowner, peace of mind came in the form of Laura Urban of Urban Design Interiors. After enduring two failed—and pricey—attempts by one design firm to create the home he desired, the busy father of two was more than ready to hand over the reins to a trusted expert. Urban had previously worked on his Cape Cod home, so he “completely trusted her creativity and execution.”
“I didn’t have a lot of time or patience to do an interior makeover,” says the homeowner. “Laura took care of everything, soup to nuts. I gave her my thoughts about the tone, feel and the look I was trying to create. She’d run things by me, but I’d defer to her expertise. I didn’t want to have to make a million choices.”
Urban’s task was to inject personality into the neutral palette of this home, formally a model home, decorated predominantly with browns and grays. “The bathrooms and bedrooms looked like hotel rooms,” the homeowner notes. “I wanted Laura to make it warm and homey, with class and style.” He also wanted a masculine, but not austere, setting for his two sons and him.
Already familiar with her client’s tastes, Urban had no problem bringing his vision to life. She began by reupholstering some pieces to make them less feminine, choosing a navy, sand and cream color scheme. Orange accents provide pops of color while maintaining the masculine feel. “We kept the main pieces pretty neutral and brought in color through pillows and artwork,” says Urban. “We wanted warmer tones and an overall more transitional style.”
In the great room, Urban used the existing sand-toned sectional and brown leather chairs as a base; then enlivened the space by layering patterns through the rug, pillows and drapery. She recovered a beige ottoman with a navy herringbone-patterned chenille. Two new end tables hold oversized navy ceramic-based lamps topped with linen shades.
In the adjacent dining area, a table made from reclaimed distressed wood, covered with a glass top, is perfectly suited for both family dinners and adult dinner parties. Urban reupholstered the previously half-skirted chairs in a navy, gray and ivory stripe and added host and hostess chairs in navy and ivory.
The den had remained unused before Urban’s involvement, so she started by painting the walls a dark chocolate hue. She brought in a navy sofa and patterned wing chairs. Ottomans are covered in an embroidered faux leather fabric, trimmed with nail heads. Orange patterned pillows and a large abstract painting above the sofa contrast with the darker tones in the room.
Urban personalized the entryway with a navy and earth-toned grasscloth wall covering and added a lantern pendant and custom runners. In addition to furniture and textiles, the homeowner asked Urban to take care of all the artwork.
“I brought in over 20 pieces of art,” Urban says. “[The homeowner] did have input on that. He wanted color and more transitional pieces, like those in the entry and master bedroom. He also likes maps. We included some nautical touches as well—the bow of a boat image over the sofa in the great room and bright-colored sketches of boats along the stairway.”
Urban brought life and individualized touches to every room in the home. The owner, who couldn’t be happier, summarizes his satisfaction: “She did it on time, without any hassle, and it came out beautifully.”