A Larchmont Family Breathes Easy With New Ecofriendly Features

By Mitchell Parker, Houzz

The house was love at first … smell? After their second baby was born, a couple decided it was time to leave New York City and head to the suburbs. They bought a home in Larchmont, New York, and when it came to furnishing the space, the wife had one major request: that the house not smell.

Being highly sensitive to chemical odors, she worked with interior designer Victoria Kirk of Victoria Kirk Interiors and her assistant designer Brandi Becker to bring in pieces with low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) finishes or natural finishes, or that had been properly off-gassed. Kirk worked feverishly to call vendors ahead of time to make sure that all the furniture and decor arrived without a hint of scent. If it did, she stored it in the basement or garage for a few weeks until it was ready to bring inside. This guided approach resulted in a crisp and clean home that’s like a breath of fresh air.

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Matthew Williams, original photo on Houzz

Houzz at a Glance
Who lives here: A family of 4
Location: Larchmont, New York
Size: 4,800 square feet; 5 bedrooms, 4½ bathrooms

The family worked with the designers to customize the existing home, adding hardwood floors, wainscoting and lighting to offset the more modern furnishings and establish a transitional style in line with the house design and the neighborhood.

When a rug mat arrived reeking of chemicals, Kirk had to send it back. When pieces arrived from California with a smell from the shipping packaging, she had to store them for weeks in the basement until she could introduce them to the interiors.

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Matthew Williams, original photo on Houzz

Kirk helped customize the kitchen, too, moving plumbing and electrical around and designing a custom island with Caesarstone countertops.

She worked closely with the general contractor to get the water-based stain on the oak floor just right.

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Matthew Williams, original photo on Houzz

The designers worked with a millworker to create a custom banquette off the kitchen, which Kirk covered in “green” fabric from Cisco.

The homeowners wanted a mostly neutral palette with just a few dabs of color coming from artwork and upholstery. “They wanted a bright and airy home,” Becker says. “We just added a few pops of color here and there and let the woodwork and fabrics do more of the speaking.”

Related: Seach for Upholstery Fabric in Every Color

The Saarinen table is an original.

The paint throughout the house is a custom-mixed white. “It’s a warmer white, not too bluish gray. It’s perfect for people who want artwork to pop but not have everything sterile looking,” Becker says.

Matthew Williams, original photo on Houzz

Kirk worked closely with green fabricators and woodworkers to furnish the master bedroom. The Trumpet side table, from Pfeifer Studio, has a plant-based glue and finish, for example. Becker admits, though, that in some cases the non-green options ended up having the least odor.

 Matthew Williams, original photo on Houzz

The homeowner fell in love with this large vessel tub, so the designers removed the existing built-in tub, rearranged the plumbing and installed this freestanding one. The faucet comes straight up from the floor, a maneuver that took some extra skill.

Related: Browse Unique Bathroom Faucets

The custom wainscoting continues in this space, too. “Any project we do, we try to stick with the character of the house and the area,” Becker says. “The existing design was a cottage-y style house, but the interior design was going to be more modern transitional. In that bathroom, for example, with the super modern bathtub, the wainscoting helps connect it to the cottage-y feel to keep the transitional look going.”

The slate floors have radiant heat.

Matthew Williams, original photo on Houzz

The children’s rooms contain low-VOC paints and finishes too. The Fawn and Forest toddler bed and dresser are bamboo with a natural finish. The crib is a hand-me-down. “The goal was a simple and clean feeling, with reused artwork and furniture,” Becker says.


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