All in Good Fun

January 19, 2012

Text by Paula Bodah    Photography by Michael Partentio

Her solution divides the room in two visually by creating a sitting area with the fireplace as the focal point. Two antique wooden armchairs face the hearth, but can be turned to become part of the billiards area. A large TV hides behind the paneling that surrounds the fireplace. “You can open the doors and have a Super Bowl party or keep them closed for a lovely dinner party,” Barnes says.

For the color palette she took inspiration from a colorful contemporary painting her clients brought from their old house and that now hangs over the fireplace. Against the warm beiges of the sofas and the rug’s Greek key motif, the painting’s medium blues are echoed in the patterned fabrics the designer used in window treatments, toss pillows and on a lounge chair by the fireplace. Its deeper blue is reflected in the velvet cushions of the wooden armchairs, while its blacks, reds and sunny tones find their way into decorative accents and accessories. “Again,” says Barnes, “it’s all very eclectic, with a mix of textiles and colors and styles.”

Her clients liked the sage green the previous owners had used on the family room walls, so Barnes kept it, adding burnt orange and touches of teal to zip up the palette. A brawny brass coffee table fronts a sofa covered in soft cut velvet—“the perfect hangout couch,” Barnes says. The previous owners’ good taste extended to the kitchen, which the new owners and their designer deemed just perfect as it was.

Color takes over in the breakfast room, where walls of raspberry red pop against white wainscoting. “I found an Alan Campbell Quadrille fabric for the curtains, and painted the room around that,” the designer explains. Picking up on the sky in a painting of a barn that hangs on the wall, Barnes opted for a blue-and-white fabric with an exaggerated herringbone pattern for the chairs that surround the circular pedestal table.

The study, with its black-lacquered walls and leopard-print rug, is a favorite spot for the husband. “It’s very manly,” Barnes says of the room, which she outfitted with a sofa covered in gray flannel with leather trim and an ottoman decked out in Donegal tweed.

Her clients’ confidence in her was a blessing when it came to the master bedroom, Barnes says. The wife wasn’t convinced about the silvery leaf-patterned wallpaper the designer selected. “She loved it till it went up; then she wasn’t so sure. I said, ‘You do like it. Just trust me.’”

Once Barnes added a plush carpet, colorful pillows and a bench covered in sumptuous purple velvet, her client agreed the paper was the perfect choice after all.

Outside, Martha Baker Landscape Design reworked the home’s surroundings, bringing in sixteen old apple trees from an orchard in upstate New York. “We wanted to create the kind of feel that the house was an old carriage house built in an orchard,” the husband says.

Their new, smaller home suits these soon-to-be empty nesters perfectly, the husband adds. “It really reflects our taste. It wasn’t meant to try to conform to any particular look.”

The house wraps the parents in comfort. And when their brood of boys returns to the nest, the space seems to expand, making room for all the pride, joy, laughter and love that’s part of life in this family. •

Interior design: Charlotte Barnes
Landscape design: Martha Baker Landscape Design

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