“Classic, timeless look they could love for years to come”
This home was lovingly maintained by all of its previous owners, so it was in fine shape when its current occupants purchased it in January of 2015. Originally from the Bay Area, the couple said the 1912 house reminded them of a California Craftsman. Their son was an infant when the family moved from New York City to Larchmont, and the prospect of renovating was a bit paralyzing for the couple, so they enlisted interior designer, Sara Touijer of Touijer Designs.
The house still had much of its original character and needed only minimal cosmetic changes, so it was easy for the designer to transform the house into a space that perfectly blends the husband’s and wife’s styles — one more traditional and the other ultra-modern.
The project took only seven months from initial floor plans and measurements to finalizing the last accessory. The remodel started with the solarium, which needed the most work because of uneven floors, and included the dining room, entry, and living room. Touijer used the couple’s NYC apartment furniture, but she needed much more to fill the space. She purchased 90 percent of it online.
The main desire of the owners was that their home be family-friendly, incorporate their mid-century aesthetic, and have a classic, timeless look they could love for years to come.
“The biggest challenge was to use furniture and fabrics that can withstand daily juice spills and cracker crumbs,” says Touijer. “In the living room, we chose an off-white fabric for the two sofas. Most people with children and pets (the family also has a St. Bernard) shy away from lighter-colored fabrics on upholstered pieces, but the fabric content makes all the difference. I tend to use man-made fabrics, such as polyester, for homes with children and pets, because it is virtually indestructible.”
The other challenge was to merge the home’s old character with the new furnishings. The house’s striking original details include coffered ceilings and detailed trim. “The dining room is such a spectacular [space], with amazing architectural details,” says Touijer. “The trim work on the walls and coffered ceilings creates a repeating, geometric pattern that makes it so stunning. Initially there was a single chandelier that lit the space adequately but didn’t fit the scale and impressiveness of the room. We selected dining pendants with a boxy shape from Williams-Sonoma, to repeat the architectural look. The wallpaper was removed, and the walls were lightened with a neutral paint color above the trim work.” The designer bought dining chairs from eBay and reupholstered them in a plum velvet fabric from Kravet, which lends rich color to the room.
The town of Larchmont, with its lovely beaches and seaside views, inspired the colors. “We wanted a soothing color palette that’s livable and relaxed,” says Touijer, who used Benjamin Moore paint throughout the home. In the entry, she chose abalone. She went with Lacey Pearl for the living room, November Rain for the dining room, and Linen White for the sunroom.
The home is also filled with personal touches, so it doesn’t feel like you are in a showroom but rather a layered, lived-in space. And the layering of the couple’s personal history throughout the house was the couple’s favorite part of the design process. For example, framed spy cartoons in the dining room are from the husband’s father’s childhood in England. The wife’s grandmother’s sideboard is a useful piece.