Tour a Litchfield County Home with a Pretty Palette of Blues and Greens
October 26, 2022
Designer Mariel Goodson transforms her own lakeside home from dated to dashing.
Text by Fred Albert Photography by Jane Beiles
You don’t walk through Mariel Goodson’s Litchfield County home so much as you float through it. Bathed in a watery palette of pale blues and greens, with the dappled light of the neighboring lake daubing the walls and ceilings, the house boasts a buoyancy that lifts your spirits and feels wholly in tune with
its waterfront setting.
It wasn’t always that way. Although built in 2008, the 7,100-square-foot home felt at least a decade older when Goodson and her husband, Peter, first saw it two years ago. Back then, the house sported a dated mix of finishes that seesawed between regal and rustic. But the couple had often talked about finding a weekend retreat near their Westchester, New York, home, and with its lakeside location, flowing floor plan, and abundant space for their three boys (and three dogs), the house checked a lot of boxes.
“All of the fundamentals were there,” says Goodson, an interior designer and cofounder of Brass Hill Design. “I just had to focus on making sure the aesthetics worked for us.”
Assisted by contractor Randy Manchester of R.S.M. Construction, she stripped the house to its bones. “We took away some of the things that made it feel ’90s,” Manchester says. Out went the purple granite counters, lugubrious iron fixtures, stainless-steel banister, and faux-concrete mantel. In their place, Goodson utilized natural materials that felt better suited to the Shingle-style architecture and lakeside setting.
“I spent a lot of time and energy making things feel old,” concedes the designer, who covered fireplaces with antique Belgian brick, installed reclaimed marble flooring in the powder room, and accented the kitchen with unlacquered brass that will age over time. A trio of anachronistic barrel vaults were excised in favor of traditional peaked ceilings, which Goodson dressed with antique timbers from a Pennsylvania barn.
The designer kept the kitchen cabinets but installed new Shaker doors and painted everything a soothing gray (Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter). “Kitchens lack warmth just by design,” observes Goodson, who introduced walnut butcher block on the island and a textured paper weave on walls that were isolated from messy prep and cleanup areas. “I’m actually a huge fan of grasscloth or textured paper weaves in the kitchen,” she says. “It sort of cocoons the room and helps with sound.”
In the living and dining area overlooking the lake, Goodson painted the trim and ceiling a glossy pale blue to reflect the light bouncing off the water. While pastel palettes can easily become saccharine, Goodson avoided that with colors that were a little on the cusp, and textures and prints that add richness to the mix. “Pattern is your friend. It disguises all manner of stains,” confides the designer, whose sons range in age from five to ten.
Accessories were the other key to the home’s transformation. “I’m a big believer in accessorizing with antiques, vintage pieces, consignment finds—things that have history,” says Goodson. “It helps make the space feel personal.”
Taxidermy birds and turtle shells adorn the walls, while animal carvings animate mantels and tabletops, alongside vintage spongeware and paintings collected at antiques shops and auctions. The combination adds an overlay of age to a home that once felt like its own time had passed—but now feels simply timeless.