Modern and Classic Influences Pair Perfectly in This Rye Dutch Colonial

By Jenn Andrlik
Photography by Michael Partenio
Styling by Stacy Kunstel

​When a North Salem architect and a Manhattan interior designer collaborate on a Dutch Colonial in Rye, the modern and the classic blend into a seamless symphony of style. 


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Starting Fresh

This new home, designed by Ralph R. Mackin Jr. of Mackin Architects in North Salem, was built for a family of five with three young children. It is 6,500 square feet, with five bedrooms, six bathrooms, and two half-baths.

“The owners love the look of coastal shingle homes and the Dutch Colonial style,” says Mackin. “They wanted the home to be in scale with the neighborhood, like it had always been there, and have a comfortable, welcoming feel.”

Designer Kathleen Walsh of Kathleen Walsh Interiors was brought in early to design the interiors. “Being part of the process from an extremely early point allows for a very nuanced conversation to be happening as all the details are being developed,” Walsh says. “Selecting architectural details with an understanding of what furnishings are being used — and vice versa — makes the two elements work together in a way that’s difficult to achieve otherwise.”

​Mackin said they started with the kitchen and family room, the heart of the home, creating a wide-open space while having “added the other spaces around those core rooms.”

“The idea was to give the house a classic, understated elegance,” says Mackin. “We used window seats, wood panels, shiplap, and beadboard, along with different ceiling details, to give the home interest and a comfortable feel.”

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The Interiors

Those architectural details melded with Walsh’s interior design plan beautifully.

Walsh started with the colors and key pieces of furniture for each room. “It’s paramount to us that a house flows, so rather than start with one room, we start by setting a color palette we can use throughout the home,” says Walsh. In this case, the homeowners were drawn to blues and corals.

Although there are touches of blue and coral in every space, each room has its own distinct personality, thanks to the textiles, textures, furniture, and accessories.

“I love textiles, and I really love choosing fabrics that reveal the ‘hand’ of the maker,” says Walsh. “Mixing in handmade fabrics with the more workhorse fabrics is important. It ignites the sense of touch. After 25 years of practicing, I can immediately tell when we hit upon the right combination. Suddenly, the grouping gets its own energy. It’s what makes you see the room zip into shape.”

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Walsh also incorporated family heirlooms into her designs. “Each room has something — a piece of furniture or art — that came from either the clients’ previous home or from their childhood homes,” says Walsh. “We all wanted to achieve a design that evoked memories of the clients’ New York and Maine roots, using colors, textures, and comfort. Being able to design a room around pieces that are already infused with a deep connection to positive memories is really a joy.”

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