Endless summer – a prospect many New Englanders dream of and few ever experience. The Callahans of Wellesley cannot quite lay claim to that elusive lifestyle, but they have succeeded in transforming their cramped 1920s kitchen into a light, warm and airy kitchen, dining and family room space, featuring a coastal palette and some special reminders of their favorite beach destination.
“We were looking for family-friendly space and functionality,” said Susan Callahan, who, with her husband Christopher, juggles the hectic lives of four children ages eight to fourteen. “In the original space, all six of us couldn’t fit in the kitchen at one time. We were looking for a place where we could cook, eat, watch TV, enjoy the fire and play games together.”
Photography by Shelly Harrison
In addition to expanding and updating the original kitchen to twice its size, they added a dining alcove with windows on three sides, a family room, a spacious mudroom that is the organizational envy of any mother, a pantry and three new entryways. A powder room off the foyer was also redesigned. The 18-month project, working with architect Christopher Hall, builder Paul Crowley, cabinetry-maker Joel Medeiros and designer Stacy Carlson of Lou Lou’s Décor, required the family to move out of the house for several months. Worth it? Without a doubt!
Susan knew she wanted a light kitchen; the cabinetry, some with glass-fronts, is painted in Benjamin Moore “Cottonball” and the wall color is “Sailcloth.” Soapstone counters and an oversized mahogany island provide contrast and grounding to the room. White ceramic tiles hand-painted in France cover the backsplash and the piece de resistance is a large shell motif above the Thermador range.
Functionality was at the top of the list in bringing this home into the 21st century, but maintaining a casual and comfortable, “happy” summery tone was as integral to the outcome as high performance. The Callahans turned to Carlson, co-owner with her husband Brett of Lou Lou’s Décor, based in Portsmouth , RI, to help achieve the desired ambiance throughout the new and renovated areas. Carlson has worked on various rooms with the Callahans during the past ten years, so they were all on familiar ground.
“Susan’s a wonderful client to work with and we have similar tastes,” said Carlson. “Christopher is also very involved in the decision process.” Their shared taste includes a proclivity for “soft and inviting tones with punches of color.” This is serenely manifested in the sea-foam-hued fabrics in the family room, on the kitchen island stools and dining area chairs.
A customized round coffee table with four wedge-shaped cushioned stools that slide under the table fills the area between the sofa and fireplace. The surface of the coffee table features a chart map of Sakonnet Harbor in Little Compton, RI, where the family vacations every summer.
For the “punches of color” that both Carlson and Susan Callahan embrace, Carlson selected a poppy print Romo fabric in raspberry and cream to cover two swivel club chairs in the family room. Artwork and accent pillows reinforce the color combination. A floor-to-ceiling, raised hearth stone fireplace provides another commanding focal point and reiterates the emphasis on natural, found-at-the-beach materials. Cushioned window seats flank either side of the fireplace and built-in bookshelves complete the cozy area.
The biggest surprise to the Callahans upon resuming life in their new and-improved home was simply how easy swiss replica watches it was to adjust. “We moved back in and it was like we were here forever,” said Susan Callahan. “I thought there’d be more of a transition. The kids just felt so comfortable immediately.”