Designer Peyton Cochran Creates Casual Elegance in a Family's Rowayton Home



Designer Peyton Cochran Creates Casual Elegance in a Family's Rowayton Home

Growing up in the south, Jennifer Croswell always dreamt she’d live at the end of a long, oak-lined drive in a center-hall Colonial with 18-inch crown moldings. Instead, she and her husband, Bobby, bought an upside-down house in Rowayton when it came time to decamp from New York City and start a family. “It is clearly the opposite of a center hall Colonial,” she says. “But we love the casual elegance. We entertain a lot, and the house is on the way to and from the beach, so friends stop in with their kids all the time.” In fact, the party lights in the backyard stay up 24/7. “If we took them down in the morning, we’d have to put them right back up,” she adds. 

The shingle-style house was previously owned by friends, who “share the same life values that we do,” explains Croswell. “My goal was to marry some coastal calm with the craziness of having three kids under the age of three.” Set on the edge of Farm Creek, its four bedrooms are on the ground floor; a living room, kitchen, dining room, den and playroom are upstairs. To make it their own, the couple turned to New York City–based designer Peyton Cochran, who had done previous work for them.

The designer took down two small walls upstairs, swapped out the driftwood mantel with one made of poured concrete, added a new countertop to the kitchen island, gutted three bathrooms including the master, replaced several exterior doors, and gave every room—and even the floors downstairs—a coat of bright white paint. “They wanted everything to be clean and bright,” says Cochran. “It took several tries to get the right white. The house is right next to the water and gets a lot of direct sunlight. The natural light changes the tone of the white quickly, and it starts to look yellow.”

Designer Peyton Cochran Creates Casual Elegance in a Family's Rowayton Home

When it came time for furnishings, Cochran used a coastal palette of blues, grays and whites, with grounding influences, such as the dark-stained wooden floors upstairs, and a mix of patterns and textures throughout. “Nothing too crazy,” she notes. The living room has a formal quality to it, but all the furniture is covered with kid-proof fabrics—even the Holland & Sherry fabric on the custom swivel club chairs is treated to be child-friendly. The new mantel in the living room looks like limestone and its raised hearth calls to mind a ’70s-style fireplace with a mesh pull-across screen. “It’s a bit quirky,” says Cochran. “But rather than taking the firebox down to the floor, we wanted a casual element where people could perch.” A pair of faux leather-covered armchairs adds an unexpected pop of orange.

White and blue modular shelving in the dining room was originally built for the couple’s New York City apartment. A work of art Croswell commissioned for her husband after the birth of their first daughter holds pride of place on one wall. “The artist created a collage that incorporates things that are unique to Bobby and me,” she says. “We were married for 10 years before we had children. I like to think it’s ‘Forever Us’ as much as Forever Young.” 

It’s a fitting sentiment for a home that has a 16-foot shuffleboard table (a gift from the previous owners) against one wall, a playroom over the garage with a set of monkey bars, and even ride-on toys and bicycles in the living room for rainy days. “Kids need to learn how to play,” says Croswell. “Adults should play more, too. I hope this house encourages that.” 

The mood shifts gears slightly in the master bedroom. “She wanted clean, serene and not too feminine,” says Cochran. Alongside a custom walnut and upholstered bed, French doors open onto a terrace that leads down to the dock. “Peyton thought we were crazy when we took out the window treatments, but we love the sunrise and wake up with the sun every day,” says Croswell.

A version of this article appeared in the July/August issue of CTC&G (Connecticut Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: Life in the Upside Down.

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Property of Note Listing

15 Kings Dock Road, Garrison, NY
Enjoy the best that the Hudson Valley has to offer at this 9-acre estate offering awe-inspiring vistas, stunning passive architecture and a unique private deep-water dock on the Hudson River. Sited to take full advantage of the amazing scenery, the three-bedroom residence is a triumph of modernist design featuring airy open-plan living spaces and vast window walls that dramatically frame the blissful water and mountain views. The setting, boasting ¼ mile of frontage along the river, also hosts a two-bedroom guest house, a striking Greek temple/playhouse overlooking the river and a detached garage.



View more details about 15 Kings Dock Road
Nautilus Architects
Christopher Arelt’s practice, Nautilus Architects, involves collaboration and interpretation, with each design evolving in its own way in response to the site, context and client. Chris’ work is seen as a continuation of but also a response to Modernism; or, more specifically, a return to regionalism and artistry, where clients’ projects are developed with the “head, hearts and hands” of all those involved. All of our buildings explore the use of natural light, reveal the inherent beauty of the materials being used, and bring the outdoors in.


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Laura Kaehler Architects
Laura Kaehler Architects is an Award Winning Architectural Firm. Along with Laura Kaehler, AIA, we have a talented staff of 5 architects and designers who create new homes, renovations and additions and apartment renovations. Designing a smaller footprint while obtaining a "big look" with an open floor plan design, better craftsmanship and detailing and richer materials is what we call "Responsible Luxury" and is a key element of our design philosophy.

Laura Kaehler

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Fiona Leonard Interiors
Fiona Leonard Interiors, LLC is a full service design firm that specializes in making a client’s home unique and custom tailored to the owners taste and lifestyle. Projects are personally supervised from initial consultation to installation. Strong relationships with carefully selected creative artisans, highly skilled craftsmen and subcontractors ensures that your project will be in good hands. With over 20 years experience working alongside well established design professionals in Connecticut and Manhattan, Fiona Leonard Interiors, LLC was established.Fiona designs interiors with a casual elegance and timeless approach. Inherent in all her work is Fiona’s passion to combine clean lines and an artistic use of color that is comfortable for the client and reflects their personal lifestyle.

Fiona Leonard Interiors

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Daniel Conlon Architects
Wind and weather, the ebb and flow of the tide, changing color and light define the rhythm of coastal living. This recent home embraces the idea with light-filled spaces , expansive views , cozy niches, and outdoor living environments. Landscape terraces and stonework ground the building to the site, while respecting all current building codes. Daniel Conlon Architects, based in Wilton CT, has designed numerous waterfront homes throughout the Northeast.

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