Doubling up design teams made one Greenwich remodel a triple threat.
In many ways, decorating is not unlike cooking. Be intuitive. Balance texture, depth, and color. Break the rules whenever necessary. And, for those who are used to being a one-woman show, keep everyone out of your hair while you do your job—thankyouverymuch.
Luckily, in the renovation of one young Greenwich family’s 1920s center hall Colonial, having two cooks in the kitchen didn’t cause a clash of egos or dilute the outcome. In fact, having twice the decorating mind-power sparked a creative interplay that gracefully brought the aging abode into this century.
It all began with interior designer Susan Glick. Her vision for the home, like that of its owners, was for cleaner, more streamlined architecture with a nod to the original design. The update was as much a restoration as it was a renovation, so that every move would be made with respect to the home’s classical beginnings.
Working with builder/contractor Peter Bruno, a large living room addition was seamlessly connected to the existing structure, and new, simpler millwork was added. “It was a great project in terms of expanding the footprint,” says Glick. “We kept true to the architecture, but worked on carefully updating it, so you really can’t tell what’s original and what’s new.”
Next up was tackling the interiors—which Glick knew wasn’t a solo mission. “It was a tremendous job,” she says. “When we got to the actual decorating process, I felt like I needed a partner to do it with because it was so extensive.” Glick and her client both loved interior designer Tiffany Eastman’s work, and the feeling was mutual. Though she came onboard when the renovation was already underway in the fall of 2012, Eastman spared no time getting started.
Though they are used to heading up projects solo, having a partner to bounce ideas off of was a plus for both designers. “Building layers throughout the house and having two sets of eyes to do it was great,” says Eastman. “Susan and I are coming from two different firms, so when we did get together, there was an energy and a fever, and we’d both get so excited over each other’s finds.”
The layout of the home gave the designers a chance to play with scale and space, while adhering to a timeless style. “Tiffany and I felt strongly about keeping a classic look and making it more modern classic than anything else,” says Glick. To that end, preserving the checkerboard floor in the entry hall was critical. After opening up the ceiling above it—a move that created the most dramatic space in the whole house—it was all about adding dimension. They kept the palette a stark black and white, but played textures against each other, from the crisp, squared-off millwork to the delicate, jewelry-like fixtures. “It really set the tone for the rest of the home,” says Eastman.
High-contrast black and white trickle into other rooms off of the entry, enhanced by the addition of silvers and grays. In the living room, platinum metallic walls and fabrics, ranging from hair to hide to vintage velvet, spike up the glamour quotient. Antique mirror glitters above the original carved marble fireplace, topped off with Barbara Barry quartz sconces. “In a lot of newer homes, with an open floor plan, everything is exposed,” says Glick. “In older homes you don’t see from room to room, so every time you turn the corner it’s, ‘Oh, I can’t wait to see what’s there.’ We enjoyed creating those little surprises.”
The client had envisioned the twenty-eight-foot-long room as the perfect destination for cocktail parties, so Glick and Eastman created furniture groupings that would be as conducive to conversation as possible. And for a family with young children, low-maintenance fabrics were also key. For starters, the pure viscose rug has a mottled effect that makes it not just footprint-proof, but a true tactile pleasure. “It feels delicious under your feet and has a very inviting quality,” says Eastman. “As sophisticated as it is, it’s very user-friendly.” Though fit for a lounging screen siren, even the vinyl chaise was selected with comfort in mind.
The library posed new challenges. “We walked into a red mahogany library, really hyper-staid classic, with wide-plank pine floors, and knew we needed to go in a different direction,” says Glick. On the floor, a hide rug is juxtaposed with a faux bois wallpaper on the ceiling. Marine enamel provided a crucial layer for the lacquered walls, painted in a deep charcoal hue. The floors were stripped and a soothing gray wash was applied over the natural pine. Still, not all tradition was tossed; antlers were added as a wink at the husband’s fondness for hunting.
The kitchen, previously laid out as a service kitchen with double islands, double sinks, double ovens, and double refrigerators, was anything but welcoming. The new layout suits the young family far better, and a new eating area gives them room to spread out. Cabinetry with X-mullions in the glass and antique mirror backsplashes add a hint of chic. Over the center island, three stunning glass cylindrical fixtures catch the eye of every visitor that walks in. “They’re the wow factor,” says Glick. “Every room has the most beautiful lighting. It’s like jewelry against a little black dress.” Speaking of dresses, the reconfigured master suite features a generous walk-in closet—easily spied through French pocket doors—fit for a fashionista. The designers were careful not to overly feminize the suite, however, by adhering to a cool, neutral palette, clean-lined lamps and a structured headboard. In the master bath, formerly the master closet, mirrored, white lacquered his-and-her vanities add lightness and sparkle. A sleek wall of marble replaced old river rock, echoing the more modern surfaces used throughout the home.
Even a year after its transformation, this classically modern Colonial is still evolving. “For the homeowners, restoring and updating the house is really a labor of love,” says Glick. And though this is the first project that the two designers have teamed up on, it looks like it won’t be the last. “I’m a firm believer that if a room is beautiful naked, it’s going to be that much more beautiful once the right designer gets their hands on it,” says Eastman, who credits Glick with laying an impressive foundation for their project with her architectural designs. “The bones of the house were so well-preserved, and it has a great flow,” Eastman continues. “You’re always wondering what’s around the next corner.” When it comes to this design duo, we’re wondering the very same thing.