This New Canaan Home Exudes a Hip Vibe
October 10, 2023
A couple trades Brooklyn for New Canaan and discovers their personal style in the process.
Text by Lisa H. Speidel Photography by Michael J. Lee
A move to Connecticut wasn’t on the table. Pegi and Adam had met in San Francisco and moved to Brooklyn in the spring of 2019. While on the hunt for a house in Carroll Gardens, their world shifted: the pandemic hit, and they were expecting their first child.
“We had to make a call on where we were going to live,” remembers Pegi. “I woke up one morning and said to Adam, ‘We’re moving to New Canaan, and I’m having this baby at Stamford Hospital.’ ”
Time was of the essence, so the couple rented a place while they scoured the listings. A week after their bundle of joy arrived, they found it: “We both walked in the front door and immediately could imagine raising our daughter here,” says Pegi. “We could picture hosting the holidays here.”
“Here” turned out to be a 1764 colonial that had recently been gutted and updated. It was a 5,300-square-foot blank slate—a daunting task considering the scope of the project (“We had like two chairs,” says Pegi with a laugh) and their hectic lives as new parents.
As luck would have it, Adam’s grad school buddy is married to Belmont, Massachusetts-based designer Phoebe Russell, founder of Lovejoy Interiors. Adam’s wish when they closed on the house? He wanted at least one room designed by her.
That one-room wish steadily morphed into a whole-house project. Russell started with the living room, setting a clear design scheme and color palette from which to build. Conjuring the couple’s bicoastal roots, she went for a vibe she describes as “unfussy elegance” and a neutral palette that incorporates green, black, camel, and distressed leather. “They are a young couple living in a traditional, mature house,” says Russell. “I wanted the interior to feel current, fresh, light, and airy. But they are also old souls, so they like a bit of patina.”
Designed to do double duty, the sizable living room has both a sitting area, grounded by a substantial distressed oak coffee table, and a game area. “We love a good game night,” says Pegi. Heated battles of Scattergories and backgammon play out on the round oak table with a black base surrounded by sculptural iron-framed chairs. “All the woods throughout the house are consistently light oak,” notes Russell. “The contrast with black makes
me think of California.”
The sunny West Coast sensibility continues in the kitchen, which Russell left largely as is, save for new lighting, furniture, and brass fixtures. She added a banquette to create a cozy spot for casual meals, and even a doggie dining nook (surrounded by plentiful pantry storage) for goldendoodle Harry. Personalized touches like this, from the gallery wall in the dining room, complete with a framed wedding-day speech, to an office that incorporates stealth storage for daughter Effie’s toys, made working with Russell a must.
“The biggest gift we gave ourselves was having Phoebe take the reins,” says Pegi. “She helped pull my style out of me and articulate it—and she turned an already great house into our forever home.”
Interior design: Lovejoy Interiors