Tour an Antique Home with a Contemporary Twist

January 12, 2024

A well-loved antique house welcomes a new family with a beautiful interior update.

Text by Lisa H. Speidel     Photography by Amy Vischio

Designer Melissa Lindsay of Pimlico Interiors fondly remembers when her client showed up to one of their getting-to-know-you meetings with an elaborate PowerPoint presentation. “She was very clear on the design direction and had highlighted all these beautiful rooms.”

It was an auspicious start to a special project—a 1761 home in New Canaan that had been thoughtfully renovated in 2017 by Rob Sanders Architects. When the new homeowners purchased the property in 2021, they were looking to update the interior design while simultaneously showcasing the historic charm.

The couple was not only drawn to the house (“You could tell this home was special to families in the past, that it was a very loved home,” says the wife), but also the town. The wife grew up in New Canaan, and, with a dog in tow and a baby on the way, it seemed a fitting time to transition from the city to the suburbs. “Almost all of my best girlfriends were moving back at the same time with their families,” she says.

The five-bedroom, roughly 5,000-square-foot home was a blank slate, albeit a blank slate rife with antique architectural appeal, including original oversized fireplaces, wood ceiling beams, and reclaimed floors. “When we came in,” remembers Lindsay, “it was already opened up and needed very minor cosmetic changes.” Among the changes Lindsay made were swapping out the kitchen’s modern geometric backsplash in favor of a quieter zellige tile and replacing the island’s wood countertop with white quartz.

Both modifications speak to the overall vibe Lindsay and her client had in mind—“I wanted an organic, neutral, calming feel,” says the homeowner. “It was important to let the house speak for itself because it’s so special architecturally. We didn’t want to cancel that out.” Lindsay, who is fond of mixing warm and cool tones, opted for a palette of soft grays, taupe, ivory, and oatmeal.

With a neutral backdrop, Lindsay had some fun with the furnishings. “We brought in some very modern curved upholstered furniture to create a nice juxtaposition,” she says. Case in point: the Pimlico-designed sofa that anchors the living room, the cozy U-shaped Crate & Barrel chairs that beckon by the fireplace, and the reupholstered wave-like chaise lounge that’s primed for devouring a page-turner in the primary bedroom.

Next Lindsay layered in antique pieces to lend visual interest and a sense of patina. Two favorite finds reside in the living room: a hefty stool carved from coconut wood by the fireplace and a plaster end table with a gesso finish that anchors the curved sofa. “I always bring in vintage/antique pieces,” says Lindsay. “They add a lot of soul and depth to a room and help make the space feel curated.”

To play up that curated feel—and introduce strong color in the process—Lindsay strategically placed works of art throughout the house. The husband, who minored in art history in college, has been collecting for years. The designer made good use of his keen eye by incorporating pieces that speak to the design scheme but also reinforce a personal connection with the home.

It’s a perfect complement to a place that has stood the test of time and been well-loved for 250-plus years. “You can just feel the energy of this being a family home,” says the wife. And so it begins with a new family of stewards dedicated to honoring its storied past.

Project Team
Interior design: Pimlico Interiors by Melissa Lindsay
Previous renovation architecture: Rob Sanders Architects

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