It is hard to believe that 3,500 square foot of living space could be considered “downsizing”. But when you have lived in a 10,000 square foot house for over 15 years, going from 10,000 feet to 3.5 feet — is definitely a downsize! But going smaller can still be upscale.
Location: Mahoney Farms, Sudbury, Massachusetts. This home is part of a small group of town houses adjacent to conservation land, and embodies a traditional, classic style with custom features.
Designer associated with the project: Dena Hamilburg of Hamilburg Interiors, Wayland, MA.
When project was designed: 2016.
Why this project is interesting:
Fifteen years ago, Interior Designer Dena Hamilburg had worked with her clients, James and Kristine Melvin, on their 10,000 foot, custom-built dream house in Carlisle, MA. At the time, the couple was in their late thirties, and had three small children. The Carlisle house was beautiful and expansive, including (among other features) two family rooms, a wine cellar, and a billiard room, as well as manicured grounds and acres of land. At Christmas time the home was transformed into a magical, Martha Stewart-like vision.
Recently, Dena was asked to help her clients create an equally exciting vision for a new phase of their lives. Now in their early fifties, they no longer wanted the upkeep of a large landscaped property and home. Although Their three children were either leaving for college or soon to to graduate, the Melvins felt that it was important for each of them to have a room of their own to come home to.
The Melvins did not want to move to the city, and so opted to stay in suburbia. When they found the 3500 square foot townhouse in Sudbury, they viewed it as a potentially ideal solution, and acted upon it immediately. The townhouse was then in the final stages of construction; this permitted some important changes, which were costly but definitely yielded a more upscale result.
The townhouse had some inherently, distinctive architectural elements, including large pilasters, custom built-in bookcases, vaulted wood ceilings, and three fireplaces. The kitchen was not at the desired levels of quality and style, however, and needed gutting and serious. The cabinets were replaced in a painted-wood finish and the granite countertops were changed to quartz. A small marble subway tile added sparkle to the monochromatic kitchen as a backsplash. Removing a short wall between the kitchen and informal livingroom opened things nicely.
Although many people do not want fully separate dining rooms these days, the Melvins decided to transform the 16×16 foot room adjacent to the kitchen into their dining room. The new dining room was less traditional and formal than they had had in Carlisle, but perfect for family meals, entertaining friends, and holiday celebrations. Most casual dining is done around the circular kitchen island. The addition of two large barn doors, flanking the opening to the dining room, delight the eye by leading visually to an actual red barn in the distance outside.
Another important upgrade was the replacement of the strip oak flooring throughout the first floor with wide white oak planks from Carlisle Flooring. The upstairs flooring remained in the standard oak, and was stained to match the downstairs in a medium gray custom stain provided by Carlisle.
A more relaxed family room was constructed out of the “bonus” room on the second floor which was offered with the original plan of the townhouse. Once again, two large barn doors flank the room. A Murphy bed is concealed under the eaves and this room becomes trhe clients’ son’s bedroom when he is home from college.
The first room on the left of the foyer, which in the original plans had been a dining room, is now an extension of the foyer with a sitting area and bar.
The Resulting Interior Design Look (Country Chic) :
The modern, monochromatic cool gray and white color palette (Benjamin Moore’s Harbor Gray), with touches of color, sets the tone throughout the townhouse. The charm of wide plank floors and barn doors offsets the more modern furnishings and creates a fresh look which is definitely au courant.
Although all of the fabrics and wall coverings were purchased at the Boston Design Center, several case good pieces were purchased at big box stores like Crate and Barrel. After enduring much frustration in searching for the “right” dining table to accommodate twelve, designer and client went the custom route.
Dena designed a double pedestal table and hired Gary Barcus of GB Woodworking to construct and finish it. The results were spectacular!
Several of the upholstered pieces from Carlisle were reupholstered and given a cleaner look. Kristine didn’t want to part with her comfortable counter stools from the old house, so Dena recycled them by repainting the brown wood legs in a deep gray color, and reupholstering them in a solid, textured Jane Churchill fabric.
Additional details of furnishings:
The wallcovering in the front extended foyer/sitting room is designed by Christian LaCroix, as is the fabric on the two club chairs in the kitchen/living room. Curtain fabric on the roman shades in the kitchen is from Quadrille. Curtain fabric in the kitchen/living room is from Pindler. The ottoman coffee table is from Duralee. Lamp on console table behind sofa is from Icon Group BDC. Sofa and sofa fabric are from Kravet. Orange lacquered accent table is by F. Schumacher. Pillow fabric on sofa is Romo. The gray and cream linen print fabric on the dining room curtains is from Brunschwig and Fils. Dining chairs in dining room are from Charles Stewart Company. The gray linen fabric on side chairs is from JF Fabrics. Painting above dining room mantle is from Jules Place Gallery, Boston. Decorative pillows in the master bedroom are from Holland & Company. Navy and white linen curtain fabric in the master bedroom is from Lee Jofa. Decorative pillow fabrics in upstairs family room are from Stark, Kravet, and Romo.
Not surprisingly, styles have changed in fifteen years. In addition, the availability of online sources certainly affects clients’ perceptions in many ways. Kristine did a lot of research and shopping online, and while remaining, a traditionalist at heart, certainly broadened her tastes. Nevertheless, her collaboration with a seasoned professional like Dena was just as productive and valuable as ever.