When a young Manhattan couple decided to swap their Upper East Side apartment for a house in the suburbs, they knew they wanted a spacious home for their growing family. They bought a five-bedroom Colonial on an acre of land in New Canaan and set out to blend their urban aesthetic with the more traditional lines of the home. The woman has a great interest in design and was determined to design the interiors herself. After a few false starts, she turned to the Décor Aid team for help. “I bought a couple of contemporary items with large tickets,” she explains. “But when they were all in place, the house looked very cold. I like modern and I wanted beautiful things, but my priority was to make the space family-friendly and livable. ”
Enter lead designer Alex Caratachea, who quickly figured out the situation and devised a game plan. “They love the modern aesthetic,” says Caratachea. “But everything had to be more in line with the architecture. We achieved this by adding softer accents and textures – a mix of tradition, transition and modernity. “
The Colonial Center Hall was built in 2005, and the homeowners kept the original mills and moldings, repainted each room, and redesigned the wooden floors. However, the “typical suburban lighting” had to go, says Caratachea. He updated and replaced nearly 30 lights – added sleek, modern sconces, pendants, table and floor lamps – and the effect was immediately noticeable. “It gave the house a whole new picture,” says the woman. “It made the modern pieces blend in with everything else.”
With lighting under control, the designer turned to heating individual rooms. First the living room, where the homeowners bought a sumptuous camel leather sofa, a pair of tufted black leather armchairs from Barcelona, and a black marble coffee table. “It evolved into a mid-century modern aesthetic,” says Caratachea, “but it was very cold.” He softened the harsh edges by adding French pleated linen curtains and a hand-knotted wool rug. A red cashmere throw refers to the red poppy in the painting above the fireplace; A cluster of black and white prints adorns the wall above the couch. “The whole effect is graphic and bold,” says the designer. “Your eye will of course be drawn from one area to the next.”
The dining room, with its streamlined table and Ligne Roset chairs, also had to be “warmed up”, recalls Caratachea. That changed when he used silk taffeta curtains, a wavy milk glass pendant and a rare oriental rug in dreamy shades of blue and cream.
One of the biggest challenges was the family room with its dark cherry wood paneling and fixtures. “We wanted it to feel lighter,” says Caratachea. The homeowners wanted enough seating for their extended family, too, but all they had bought was a sofa, a pair of leather armchairs, and a rug that only covered half the space. The designer reconfigured the layout by creating two different seating areas. In one, he added a second sofa that was upholstered with kid-friendly ultrasound and three gray wool felt ottomans with removable walnut tops. In the other comfortable leather armchair to the television. The carpet that was too small was placed on top of a larger sisal carpet to tie the room together. Orange and yellow set accents and give the room a “happy feeling”, he says.
On the upper floor of the master bedroom, the mood changes completely. Aside from the large walnut bed the woman had bought from BDDW, this was the only room in the house that the designer had created from scratch. The restful palette consists of ivory and white tones, and the antique rug is speckled with subtle blues. “The bedroom is a real haven,” says Caratachea. “You go in and it’s like stepping into a cloud.”