Inside a Young Family's Contemporary New Canaan Home



In the living room, a Como leather sofa, a pair of leather Mies van der Rohe Barcelona chairs and a Giorgio Soressi black marble coffee table are through Design Within Reach.When a young couple from Manhattan decided to trade their Upper East Side apartment for a house in the suburbs, they knew they wanted a spacious home that would accommodate their growing family. They bought a five-bedroom Colonial on an acre of land in New Canaan and set about marrying their urban aesthetic with the home’s more traditional lines. The wife has a keen interest in design and was determined to do the interiors on her own. After a few false starts, she turned to the team at Décor Aid for help. “I bought a bunch of big-ticket contemporary items,” she explains. “But when they were all in place, the house looked very cold. I like modern and I wanted nice things, but my priority was making the space family friendly and livable.”

Enter lead designer Alex Caratachea, who quickly sussed out the situation and came up with a game plan. “They love the modern aesthetic,” says Caratachea. “But everything needed to be more in keeping with the architecture. We achieved that by adding softer accents and textures—a mix of traditional, transitional and contemporary.”

The family room's matching sofas wear a durable ultrasuede and flank Softline's drum tables, all through Design Within Reach.The center-hall Colonial was built in 2005, and the homeowners kept the original millwork and decorative moldings, gave each room a fresh coat of paint, and refinished the wood floors. However, the “typical suburban tract lighting” had to go, Caratachea says. He updated and replaced close to 30 fixtures—adding sleek, contemporary sconces, pendants, table and floor lamps—and the effect was immediate. “It gave a whole new picture to the house,” the wife says. “It made the modern pieces blend together with everything else.”

With the lighting under control, the designer turned his attention to warming up individual rooms. First up: the living room, where the homeowners had bought a sumptuous camel leather sofa, a pair of tufted black leather Barcelona chairs and a black marble coffee table. “It was shaping up to have a midcentury modern aesthetic,” Caratachea says, “but it was very cold.” He softened the hard edges by adding French pleated linen drapes and a hand-knotted wool rug. A red cashmere throw refers back to the red poppy in the painting above the fireplace; a grouping of black and white prints graces the wall above the couch. “The whole effect is graphic and bold,” says the designer. “Your eye is drawn naturally from one area to the next.”

Similarly, the dining room with its streamlined table and chairs from Ligne Roset “needed some warming up,” Caratachea recalls. That changed when he incorporated silk taffeta drapes, 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 paneling and built-ins. “We wanted to make it feel lighter,” Caratachea says. The homeowners also wanted ample seating for their extended family, but they had bought just one sofa, a pair of leather chairs, and a rug that covered only half the space. The designer reconfigured the layout by creating two distinct seating areas. In one, he added a second sofa—upholstered in kid-friendly ultrasuede—and trio of gray wool-felted ottomans with removable walnut tops. In the other, leather chairs cozy up to the TV. The too-small area rug was layered atop a larger sisal rug to tie the space together. Orange and yellow accents add pops of color, and give the room “joyful feel,” he says.

Upstairs, in the master bedroom suite, the mood changes completely. Other than the large walnut bed that the wife had purchased from BDDW, this was the one room in the house the designer created from scratch. The restful palette comprises shades of ivory and white, and the antique rug is flecked with subtle hints of blue. “The bedroom is a true sanctuary,” says Caratachea. “You walk in, and it’s like stepping into a cloud.”

A version of this article appeared in the January 2017 issue of CTC&G (Connecticut Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: On Cloud Nine.

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags

Designer Spotlight

Edit Module
Karen Wells Design
Karen Wells Design creates professionally finished, uniquely beautiful interiors. Interior design, furniture design, interior architecture, project management, space planning, and curating collections are our specialty. Each project brings a fresh aesthetic based on the clients tastes, idiosyncrasies, and how they want to live. Interpreting each space for its functionality, refining it through the use of color, texture ,light, art, and furniture proportions allows KWD to create environments called home.

Karen Wells Design

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Builder Spotlight

M&M Custom Homes
M&M Custom Homes is recognized as one of the premier home builders in the Hamptons and throughout Nassau County. With an unwavering commitment to excellence, we provide a superior client experience—creating exceptional value with state-of-the-art construction and unsurpassed design.


Edit ModuleShow Tags

Garden Spotlight

Gardeneering
For thirty three years, every design we create stems from our holistic approach to landscape gardening. Beginning with developing the best possible soil, our attention branches out to address all facets of a project with similar focus. Whether it's hardscape or quality of plant material, the installations are of the highest order -- as is the quality of our estate maintenance services. Every effort is made to blend the client's vision with the aesthetic aspects of the house and property -- ultimately, to create an organic realization.


Edit ModuleShow Tags

Garden Spotlight

Kathryn’s Flower Gardens
Kathryn’s Flower Gardens is committed to providing exquisite cutting gardens, container plantings and unique and heirloom varieties of vegetables, fruits and herbs, all grown right outside your door. Inspired by the agricultural heritage of the east end, Kathryn’s was created as a sentimental tribute to the owner’s young daughter. Led by a team of experienced horticulturalists, the firm’s sole focus is on providing boutique and personalized containers, flower and vegetable gardens. Located in Sag Harbor, Kathryn’s Flower Gardens is a subsidiary of Summerhill Landscapes.


Edit ModuleShow Tags

Garden Spotlight

HARMONIA INC Creative Landscapes and Fine Stonework
HARMONIA INC was founded out of a profound passion for creating complete landscapes and gardens that co-exist in harmony, with the natural settings that grace each property. Harmonia will design and install a customized landscape complimentary to your visual desires, and your personal lifestyle. “ Our work is a reflection of how you will want to enjoy your property for years to come.” Harmonia Inc is a full service design, installation and maintenance company, beautifying the Hamptons every day. 631-537-9672

Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
 
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module