An Inspired Remodel Plays Canvas For A Homeowner’s Thrift Treasures
Text by Cathy Gordon | Photography by Susan Friday
Some people gravitate toward shiny, new things. But it’s that thrift shop treasure spotted among the mundane that gets this homeowner’s heart racing.
“It must be like gambling. Yeah, it’s totally like gambling. An amazing thrill,” quips this homeowner, confessing that she gave her design team pause from time to time.
“You just have to be patient if you’re my designer. You know, I’m texting them 14 messages a week, asking ‘What do you think of this? What do you think of that?’ Sometimes they’re like, ‘Um, no, maybe not,’ ” she says, laughing. “But a lot of times we’re in agreement. We work well together. They get me.”
Mother-daughter design duo, Dot Dimiero and Dana Aichler of Dot & Dana Designs, was called onboard for this ambitious remodel. And they do, indeed, “get” this homeowner. They were privileged to work on her last remodel too.
“She’s on the hunt all the time. She’s really the queen of the hunt,” says Dimiero, whose team creates elegantly casual, peaceful environments that don’t tire the eye.
To that end, there were many things about this house that had to go — weary yellow walls, red and white wallpaper on the kitchen ceiling and similarly unattractive orangey oak wood cabinets, wood floors in a ’80s light-colored cast … the list goes on.
“It’s amazing what some neutral paint and darkening of wood floors will do,” says the homeowner who shares the updated space with her husband and 8-year-old daughter. “That alone updated this house 30 years. We painted the ceilings, trim and walls all the same neutral colors so the eye isn’t broken at any point. What a difference it made.”
Designer Patti Perrier collaborated with the design team, transforming the kitchen with carrara marble countertops and backsplash, new windows and creamy neutral cabinets. It’s a stark contrast to its former dark and dreary self.
“I love my kitchen now,” says the homeowner. “We just love the whole house and the way it makes us feel. It’s nice coming home to it.”
There’s a lot to love.
A sweep of beautiful wood floors dressed in artful patterned rugs makes this home sing. Expansive windows usher in light from every direction. The neutral canvas and mix of muted upholstery conveys calm. Modern art and a few contemporary elements are tossed into the mix, adding interest to a comfortable, yet elegant kid and dog-friendly environment.
The home’s garden room/den captivated the homeowners even before the remodel. “It sealed the deal,” says the homeowner. The cavernous space hosts a sweep of windows looking onto a side and back courtyard. It’s been transformed into a calm oasis with organic vintage garden accessories, upholstered pieces and antiques all settling on a sea grass rug.
And sprinkled throughout the home are the homeowner’s treasures. For example, an early 1900’s duck pull toy snapped up at Goodwill graces a shelf, displayed as art. Books act as accessories, many purchased at Half Price Books and for $2 apiece at a resale shop downtown. Paintings and other items were great garage sale, eBay and thrift shop finds. By masterfully mixing and layering favorite objects and possessions, she tells the tale of family. The home pops with personality.
“Five of the houses on the street might have the same items because they came from big box stores but when everything is a one-of-a-kind type deal it makes it more interesting and it reflects your personality,” she explains.
Take, for example, the colorful Horchow lady bust planter sitting pretty in her landing upstairs. The homeowner nabbed it for $15 at Goodwill, a mere fraction of its real cost. “The trick to finding these things is going every day,” she says. “This one was a great find. I love her.”
Indeed, this home’s interior finds its soul through pieces that speak to the taste and style of the homeowner. She collaborated closely with the design team in picking furnishings that met the scale of the house. “We purchased a lot of new things because we went from 3400 square feet to 6300,” she explains.
The family lived in the home’s garage apartment for two and a half months while work was being done. Like the kitchen, the utility room and master bathroom were given new life. The master bathroom is especially unique with a glassed-in wet room that includes both bathtub and shower.
“We had stayed in a hotel in Mexico that had a wet room with the tub in the shower and loved it. It’s starting to become more in fashion, this type of wet room. I just think it makes sense.”
The wet room is one of many standout features in the couple’s master bedroom suite. A cozy sitting area inspires one to sit and read or watch a little nighttime television. A separate bathroom for the man of the house is conveniently located next to an exercise room. The master bedroom itself is a vision with bedding from Kuhl Linscomb and a Gustavian bench from Twenty Six Twenty.
A guest bedroom on the second level is equally lovely with another of the homeowner’s great bargain finds, a vintage traveling trunk, acting as night stand.
Their daughter enjoys a spacious bedroom with two twin iron beds dressed in plump, comfy bedding. But steps lead to a third level where she and friends have the run of the place — a large playroom outfitted in toys, books and a craft table for all sorts of creative endeavors.
“It’s a great space for her,” says her mom, who also claims a favorite room in the house.
“It’s got to be the study,” she says of the first floor space with brick walls and large, arched windows with views of the courtyard. “I just love this room.”
Equally enchanting is a large formal living room with an eclectic grouping of furniture — custom upholstered chairs mingle with a vintage French chair outfitted in gray mohair velvet. A French cartoon tapestry painting is a centerpiece here, as is a beautiful grand piano that the couple happily took ownership of from the home’s former occupants. Custom linen draperies frame the windows.
Across the hall is a dining room that in no way resembles its former self. Red walls no more. These days it is a calm neutral with a sweet Swedish table and chairs sitting upon a sea grass rug. “Much more my style,” says the homeowner.
Her husband also has a creative, artsy side, she says, so the house came together as a true collaboration, a labor of love.
“It’s a learned trait, figuring out what you really like and don’t like,” she says of this design venture. “The older you get, the more mature you become and, hopefully, you know what’s going to last and don’t go for what’s trendy. I was going for a classic look that’s not going to be out of style next year. The average age of most items in my house is 200 years old, so I figure if they’re still hanging out after that length of time they’re good for many more years.”
top image caption: Vintage garden accents combine with antiques and casual, yet elegant slipcovered furnishings and other textural upholstery in the home’s family room. Upholstery from Hien Lam; French library table from MAI. A sea grass rug adds to the room’s rich organic feel.
Thrill of the Hunt
Category: Featured Homes