Photography by Jane Beiles
A major renovation by a team of experts turns this classic Rye Colonial into a functional family home in Westchester County.
Meet the Team
This Rye home’s 1920s style wasn’t exactly conducive to the lifestyle of a 21st-century family of six. So, its owners decided on a major renovation, opening rooms, moving walls, updating certain elements and adding others.
“I came onto the project after construction started,” says Carrie Parker of Carrie Parker Interiors, LLC. Her task: to turn the classic center-hall Colonial into a family-friendly home.
“I wanted it to function for them, so they could live in it properly without having to tiptoe around elements,” Parker explains. She also wanted a design that reflected her clients’ personality: fun, active, laid-back, comfortable.
Deftly blending energy and calm, formal and informal, classic and modern, this design provides everything a large family needs — and it looks great doing it.
“Once the windows went in, it was clear that this room had the most amazing natural light,” Parker says. Natural elements, like the whitewashed wood coffee table, iron side tables, and jute rug, pull the outdoors inside, adding to the room’s light, airy aesthetic. The ribbed coffee-table legs, hammered finish on the side tables, the coiled bowl chandeliers, textured throw pillows, and woven baskets make the space more dynamic.
“Even though it’s a big TV-watching room, we also wanted it to be a great hangout room for the family or for the parents if they had friends over,” Parker explains. A bumper chaise and comfortable sectional offer plenty of seating for family and guests. Swivel chairs allow sitters to turn to wherever the action is, whether it’s the TV, a conversation in the family room, or the homeowner busying in the kitchen.
Parker went with a classic white kitchen to capitalize on the open floor plan and natural light pouring through the windows. Rope counter stools and a marble backsplash add texture, while antiqued brass-finish pendants bring warmth to the space without being too bright or bold. “We loved the scale of those brass pendants,” Parker gushes. “They add visual interest without being too busy.” She went with matte brass hardware to tie everything together and add a contemporary twist.
Just off the kitchen is a small breakfast room with a slightly vaulted ceiling. “To draw the eye up and call attention to the extra-high ceiling, we wallpapered it,” Parker says. She paired the patterned wallpaper with a woven chandelier, to add natural elements to the space. Open, natural-oak shelves on the far wall add storage while keeping the light, airy feel of the rest of the house. The traditional trestle-based table is offset by more contemporary Scandinavian dining chairs. “We’re staying classic, but pulling in some more modern and streamlined elements and bringing it all together,” Parker explains.
Paneling was added to the walls of the dining room to add architectural interest as well as a touch of elegance. Parker designed the drapes from a wool fabric with a dark-light-dark ombré effect for visual interest. The look is echoed by dining chairs, with vertical, pleated, stitch detailing. To warm up the gray palette, Parker mixed in various brass elements, like the frame on the undulating mirror or the black-and-brass sconces that flank the alcove window. For the table, Parker went with a round shape to offset the squareness of the room. “A round table felt like a great place for the family to sit around and catch up,” Parker says. The beautiful geometric brass base fits perfectly with the other elements of the room. A dark-wood tabletop with distressed finish adds texture and drama while being durable enough to dispel any worries of scratching the surface. “Because it was the dining room, we wanted to increase the formality of it compared with some of the other rooms,” Parker says. The crystal-and-brass chandelier hanging above the dining table does just the trick.
“Because you can see the office all the way from the family room, we wanted to make the back wall of this room really pop,” Parker says. They selected a large-scale, painted, grasscloth wallpaper to add visual interest. A striking, cornflower-blue chair brings out the blue chrysanthemums in the wallpaper.
During a trip to Italy, the client fell in love with a picture she saw hanging in their hotel. “It’s this really fun black-and-white photo from the sixties of these women in swimsuits and swim caps sitting on a boat, eating plates of spaghetti,” Parker recalls. She was able to track down the image and have it printed and framed. “We wanted to have some dynamic elements, to make it fun for the client to be in here, doing the stuff she needed to get done,” Parker explains.
Elements like the rust velvet bench and beautiful statement mirror add a pop of color and visual interest to an otherwise stark, white space. Because it’s such a tight space, Parker wanted whatever furniture that went there to be practical and functional. The bench is perfect for sitting down to put on shoes, and the table adds a welcoming touch. Parker employed brass details, like the bench legs and the lotus-flower-shaped light fixture, to warm up the space. Throw pillows recall various elements used throughout the room, such as the console table, with black-and-white bone inlay. “Again, the whole house is so bright and open and white,” Parker says. “We wanted to keep it that way but also bring in a little bit of depth and color saturation.”
“We brought a lot of color into this room to make it cozy, since there’s so much light coming in from all those windows,” Parker says of the study. The ceiling and all the millwork were painted in various shades of blue to make the space feel a bit more enclosed. A bar was incorporated into the cabinetry, harking back to the room’s original intent as a mancave. Over time, however, the space morphed into a place where the whole family liked to hang out. A cozy sofa and swivel chairs are perfect for lounging, hanging out with the family, or father-son jam sessions. An assortment of textures — fleeced wool pillows, chenille sofa, leather ottomans, and woolen chairs — add to the room’s hygge vibe. “It’s really a room that works for everybody,” Parker says.
Powder rooms are great for bold designs. “Because the space is small, you can take risks,” Parker says. She selected a modern, gold-metallic wallpaper in a geometric pattern that amped up the space but still felt congruent with the rest of the home design. The warm tones from the brass elements combined with natural materials, like the marble sconces on either side of the mirror, to extend the lightness and warmth seen throughout the house into the powder room.
The deep-blue, custom-velvet headboard instantly catches the eye the minute you step inside the main bedroom. “I just loved the way it popped off all the whites and off-whites and light grays,” Parker says. For something different, Parker went with pendants above the nightstands on either side of the bed. The black cords call attention to the fact that they are hanging from the ceiling. The tall ceiling begged for a chandelier that was dramatic without overpowering the space. “We looked for this semi-flush-mount branching light that brought in a great pop of brass,” Parker says. A cozy, faux-fur chaise placed in the corner between the two windows helped fill in the space of the large room. Situated on top of a gray braided rug, it’s a perfect spot for the kids to lounge as they recount the school day for their parents. A blue throw blanket, brass lamp, and bright flowers add a bit of color and fun while tying together everything in the room. Parker applied a sheer, fluttery tape to the leading edge of the drapes to give them a softer, textured look.
The bathroom was left mostly white, to enhance the room’s natural brightness. Floating oak vanities were installed to bring depth and warmth to the space. Nickel detailing accentuates the drawers and adds visual interest. Centered between the vanities is a floating tub, snuggled into the recessed wall below the window. The wall is tiled with a marble leaf pattern, to create the sense of being a separate space. For the floor, Parker went with a larger-scale herringbone tile. “I wanted to balance the different elements and scales of the marble to bring in different textures but also to keep it from being too busy,” she says. A chandelier with hand-blown glass shade over the tub adds another pretty element, which also enhances the room’s light, Zen ambiance.