Familiarity Breeds Content
The homeowners wanted a home that makes visitors feel welcome. The designer, who is also their longtime friend, knew just what to do.
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The homeowners have deep roots in Kent County, so it was fitting that they decided to build their home beside a sylvan grove that has stood for generations on the banks of a St. Jones River tributary in Dover. “Both our families are here,” he says. “It’s where we grew up and where our children will grow up.”
They envisioned a large house, with lots of room for friends and relatives, all designed and decorated in a style that makes visitors feel welcome. The couple was fortunate in having an interior designer who already knew a great deal about their lifestyle. Lucy Findlay of Partners in Design in Dover had been a friend of the family for many years.
“I’ve known him since he was three years old,” she says. “I decorated his mother’s house and his uncle’s home.”
The couple wanted to establish a look, flow and vibe that reflected their sensibilities, yet met the practical requirements of two busy professionals with two young children. “The goal was to create a big house that feels cozy and livable, rather than cavernous,” Findlay says.
They worked from the ground up. Planks for the floors were salvaged from Pennsylvania barns and stained in a deep, rich brown. Because the wood is already distressed, there’s no need to worry about dogs and kids adding a few dings.
In the gathering room, a stone fireplace makes a rustic focal point. A large sectional sofa in beige micro suede feels soft and looks luxurious but is impervious to spills.
Panels of beige suede cloth dress the windows without detracting from the views. The panels are trimmed in bands of deep brown for contrast. “We wanted to get some fabric into that room to balance all the wood,” Findlay says.
Kitchen cabinets are painted black to contrast with the floor. Plates, pots and pans are stored in pull-out drawers rather than cupboards. Topped in granite, the big center island seats eight. In addition to casual dining, the surface also serves as a buffet during parties. A microwave drawer—also accessible for kids—and an icemaker are built into the island.
Pull-out columns on either side of the commercial-style range store spices so they are at the ready for the cook. A wall of cupboards accommodates large and seldom-used storage pieces.
Despite its casual feel, the design is thoughtful and sophisticated. There are no white ceilings. Throughout, ceilings are painted in the same soft, earthy tones as the walls. “It’s a wonderful technique in homes with high ceilings,” Findlay says. “It takes your eye right up to the moldings.”
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