This Historic Home in Larchmont Receives a Family-Friendly Update

One designer infuses a historic home with plenty of modern details while keeping the home’s unique character.

To redecorate a historic local landmark for an active young family, designer Laurie Scovotti performed a grand balancing act. Larchmont’s “Gingerbread House,” originally built in 1872 as a summer cottage near Manor Beach, is the epitome of good bones. Its rich millwork, whimsical architectural details, and gorgeous water views make it a truly one-of-kind space, but the interiors needed some refreshing to make it suitable for Scovotti’s clients, a couple and their three young daughters. “The main directive was to lighten things up,” says the designer. She helped the family hold onto their home’s unique character, while giving the spaces a more youthful, modern feel.

Laurie Scovotti
Laurie Scovotti

Leaving the shell of the house intact, she juxtaposed the Victorian gothic architecture with relaxed, clean-lined furnishings. Unique combinations of color and pattern give the spaces a lighter, brighter look that reflects her clients’ taste and lifestyle. “Color is joy to me,” says Scovotti. “It brings happiness into a home and gives it that good energy.” Blues were the grounding hue, a nod to the family’s love of sailing and the home’s coastal location, rounded out with pinks, greens and florals galore.

Exterior

The homeowners worked with color consultant Debra Kling to give the exterior the same fresh look as the inside spaces. Classic white gets a little extra oomph with the addition of light blue trim.

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Living Room

Scovotti broke up the large living room into two separate spaces. On one end of the room, she created an area for cozy conversations in front of the fireplace with a group of deep-blue velvet chairs. A new lighter-color stone surrounding the mantle gives the space an airier feel. The homeowners found many of the art pieces in the house, including the watery prints on the mantle, and the colorful painting across the room.

living room

The other side of the long room feels a bit summerier, with a mix of light blues and pinks. Floor-to-ceiling windows flood the space with sunlight, which the family can soak up while relaxing on the plush, comfortable sofa and chairs. A large blue coffee table from Serena and Lily grounds the space with a punch of darker color, and light drapes with a subtle pink pattern break up the wood trim around the windows. Though exposed millwork is a huge design feature throughout the house, Scovotti painted the dark crown molding in many of the rooms to remove the heavy line it created and to make things feel lighter and airier. The beautiful wood beam across the living room ceiling did remain exposed, however. “We chose our moments,” says the designer.

Dining Room

dining room

Dramatic “Inisfree” wallpaper from Carrier and Company for Lee Jofa was the first choice for the dining room, and everything else fell into place from there. Scovotti camouflaged the low ceiling by painting it in Benjamin Moore Smoke, and dipped the millwork around the mantle in the same shade. She freshened up the fireplace brick with a coat of white paint, and then kept the rest of the space calm and neutral with a wool-and-jute rug, delicate glass chandelier, and refined dining chairs. The rounded doorways provide pretty transitions into other rooms — though the archway into the living room has a large pocket door that can be closed to separate the spaces.
dining room decor

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The Bar Room

What could have been a passthrough is now a great space with another well-balanced mix of color and textures. Scovotti used the homeowners’ more traditional rug as the foundation for the bar room in the rear of the house, and then layered on more mid-century pieces to create just the right combination of colors and materials. A rattan bar cabinet from Crate & Barrel, leather chairs from Room & Board, and walls painted in Benjamin Moore’s “Jamestown Blue” make the room feel right for lounging and relaxing.

bar room

Office

In the husband’s office, Scovotti balanced walls of wood with a bright blue ceiling. Heavy curtains were replaced with unlined woven shades, and a metal-and-glass desk from Williams-Sonoma Home lightens up the look — though it takes a tidy client to handle such a spare workspace. (“He’s very neat!” laughs Scovotti.) The room is made even more personal with sailing trophies, books, and artwork styled on the built-in shelves.
Scovotti office design

Hallway Between Rooms

In the hallway between bedrooms, Scovotti updated this low-slung lounge space with pretty pinks and fun details. A durable vinyl grass cloth adorns the walls, and a piece of art is cleverly used to hide an electrical panel behind. A plethora of pillows in different prints and textures adds the brightness and energy befitting an active family of five.

pop of color

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Girls’ Room

Though each of the girls chose a color theme for her own room, Scovotti took their palettes up a notch by incorporating other hues in the mix.

girls' room

The oldest daughter wanted red incoporated into her room, so Scovotti used a palette of softened primary colors to create a fun, fresh space that can grow with her over time. A striped rug, checkered window shade, and plush pillows all pull from the floral “Carly” wallpaper from Schumacher in the nook between closet doors. Scovotti added some extra seating for friends with a rattan daybed from Four Hands.

Scovotti girl's room design

By balancing dark window trim with modern furniture and bold pattern, this bedroom feels both peaceful and youthful. Scovotti used a blue-and-green fabric from Quadrille for the window shades and picked up the same colors throughout the room in varying intensities. A darker throw pillow, mint-green walls, plus a slim-legged bed frame and modern light fixture add just the right amount of modern to the traditional architecture around them.
kids' bedroom

Primary Bedroom

Scovotti leaned heavily into blues for the primary bedroom to create a relaxing, serene space for the couple. She kept the decor light and bright, with a few anchoring touches of dark blue on the bed frame and Greek-key pattern on the drapes. The four-poster bed from Maiden Home creates coziness in a space with high ceilings and is positioned to face the water view. A comfortable armchair was reupholstered in a 1960s Schumacher print that still looks modern today.

primary bedroom

Dressing Room

At the top of the spiral staircase, the wife’s dressing room doubles as an office with an incredible view inside and out. Drapes in a blue-and-white Schumacher fabric frame a circular window and a birds-eye view of the water and Larchmont Manor Park. An elegant burlwood desk from Villa & House lightens up the other darker woods in the room. On the floor, a nautical compass design is the most decorative of several inlays throughout the house.

Tan desk with blue chair in front of a window

Color Pop!

If you’ve favored neutrals for years and are ready to infuse a little color into your space, Scovotti has some ideas. “If you’re just starting to dip a toe in, do it in small but impactful ways,” she says. In other words, start small — but not too small. Colors and neutrals work very well together, but if you have a big base of neutrals, a single throw pillow of color may look disconnected. Try a large piece of artwork or an upholstered chair so it feels like an intentional part of the room. (One thing to avoid is painting a whole room. It’s easy to get the color wrong and end up overwhelming the space — and probably yourself.) If you’re not sure what color to commit to, look in your wardrobe and see what you’re drawn to over and over. Most of all, trust your gut — this is supposed to add joy to your space, so don’t overthink it. If you like it, go for it!

Related: A Westchester Designer Infuses Holistic Design Into This Colonial Home

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