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House of Joy

A designing duo creates a playful retreat where JoyRide’s Amy Hochhauser and her family can kick back and relax



One could say the process of creating a home is a bit like an exercise class: you might find reasons to put it off, there might be a little bit of pain involved, but when you’re done, that high is all worth it. Homeowner Amy Hochhauser should be familiar with this cycle of emotions, being one of three principals of JoyRide, a cycling studio with locations in Connecticut and San Antonio.

Though she’s used to whipping bodies into shape, in her family’s home in Westport where she lives with her husband Jonathan and sons Jackson, 10, and Weston, 7, she needed some instruction herself. For this, she enlisted the design duo D2 Interieurs (designer Denise Davies and artist Kerri Rosenthal) to help her get the look she wanted.

The designers got started right away on the 1960s ranch, which once belonged to Bungalow’s Wende Cohen. Because it is an uncommon style for Westport, they wanted to keep the soul of it intact, but bring out its distinguishing features. “Before, it was a typical, traditional Fairfield County ranch, and we really modernized it,” says Denise. Small windows were replaced with larger, shadeless styles that allow light inside and provide a view of the gorgeous grounds. The front door was relocated and replaced with a glass version. The team also added a second floor to house the master bedroom, bathroom, and sitting room, while the former master bedroom became the pool room, complete with bar, powder room and changing room.

Throughout the house, the details—the windows, the floors, down to the house number and the drawer pulls—all have a modern look, enhancing the uniqueness of this home.

Says Amy: “I work hard and I wanted a retreat, a peaceful oasis.” The designers set the tone by pulling from the same palette for the wall color in each room, though varying the shades and playing with finishes—eggshell in one room, high-gloss in the next—to keep the eye working just a little bit. Just as the same exercise routine gets boring after a while, so does a home painted all one shade of gray. White oak floors throughout the house were painstakingly finished through a multistep process that incorporated layers of paint to achieve the look Amy envisioned.

Together, these subtle shades create a smoky, serene backdrop for furnishings and art—some of which is by Kerri herself. “Amy is a very mellow person, very easy-going, relaxed, casual, no formality, and the house reflects that,” says Denise. The overall effect is very Zen—but this home is not without color or personality.

In the open living room, artwork is given the prize position over the fireplace, while the TV is mounted on a feature wall that separates the living room from the stairs—hidden in plain sight against a backdrop of modern wainscoting.

“It’s a small house and we’re trying to utilize every bit of space we have,” says Kerri. They tucked a bar into the stairway and used
built-ins everywhere they could.

“We built it to entertain, for the way we like to live, for friends and family to come stay,” says Amy. And there is no better spot for entertaining than the pool room at the end of the hallway, where the Hochhausers can mix drinks at a nautical teak bar, and porcelain tile accommodates wet feet coming in from the pool. A funky patterned sofa and pops of orange make it lively and fun.

Just down the hall, the boys’ rooms are also playful and reflect their personalities. Jackson asked for a world map to cover the wall facing his bed, and the D2 designers added green walls and a lacquered blue ceiling to echo the colors of land and sea.

Though the rest of the home underwent a total transformation, the kitchen remained untouched until the last minute. With the renovation nearly complete, the outdated cabinets and mismatched flooring looked sorely out of place. So when the family was leaving for vacation as things were wrapping up, the designers pled their case. “We have something called Kitchen Botox, a D2 Interieurs special, and we said, ‘Let us do your kitchen,’” says Denise. In a week, they transformed the space, installing a modern faucet and sink, and painting the walls and cabinets the same color as the adjacent living room to create an easy flow. They also went bold with yellow, in the form of a bright mudroom and two comfortable upholstered chairs around the dining table; these have resulted in the family hanging out in the kitchen more often.

Though the family stayed in the home through the renovation, “Everyone really enjoyed the process,” says Denise. The design team—architect, contractor, homeowner, and designers—all worked beautifully together. “It was a very harmonious job,” says Kerri. As anyone who has gone through a home renovation—or spin class—knows, the process may be tough, but enjoying the results of one’s hard work makes it well worth the effort.


Resources
D2 Interieurs, d2interieurs.com
Architect: Lucien Vita and Gary Chase, Lucien Vita Design, lucienvitadesign.com
David DeNomme, New England Coastal Builders
John Cavaliere, Premier Tile & Design

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