A cherished 19th century residence is reimagined to suit the tastes of a young family.
Set on a verdant lot near Newton’s Waban Village, the homeowners loved the gracious Victorian they bought in 2018. “Aesthetically, however, it wasn’t them,” says interior designer Heather Vaughan, who collaborated with architect Peter Sachs to renovate the home to suit the family.
The project involved reconfiguring the floor plan on the main level. The original dining room, which overlooked the yard, became the site of the new kitchen and the dining room was relocated to the former family room. “The home has a very large backyard and the owners wanted to be able to sit in the kitchen and watch their daughter play,” explains Vaughan.
While a goal of the project was to create a less choppy, more open, airy layout with contemporary detailing, it was important to the homeowners that the original spirit of the home be honored. As such, the antique windows were restored and other era appropriate elements were created, including wainscotting, pocket doors, and leaded glass transom windows.
“The homeowners have a strong love of blue,” says Vaughan. “When we came on board, everything was blue—all the walls, etc.” Vaughan sought to give the couple the blue they gravitated to in a different way. “Every room doesn’t have to be painted blue to make the color a big part of the overall scheme,” she says. Rather, various shades of blue are infused into spaces discretely.
Blue can be found in many of the home’s vintage rugs which lend an eclectic, fun feel to the home, says Vaughan, “while offering a bit age and patina which sets a lovely tone,” as well as in the wallcoverings and fabrics. The pedestal base of the kitchen table, customized by Dunes & Duchess, is painted in blue lacquer and the banquette edges are painted another variation of the hue, while the upholstery features a blue pattern against a white background.
A coffee and whiskey station for the kitchen was at the top of the homeowner’s wish list, and Vaughan collaborated with Heartwood Cabinetmakers to design one that fits into a nook next to the original fireplace. It’s crafted of walnut as is the rest of the cabinetry along that wall. Two rest of the cabinets are painted Farrow & Ball Cornforth White. “It’s a wonderful warm, white grey. To have all of the cabinets painted white would have been too much,” says Vaughan. “The walnut evokes a sense of richness that balances the space.” The vanity in the master bathroom is made of another rich timber: barrel cut rosewood. Perched on lean brass legs with wall mounted brass faucets and hardware, the piece feels midcentury, yet current, says Vaughan.
The couple’s five-year-old daughter had considerable input in designing her dreamy room. “She wanted it to be pink and we gave her a pink space that would grow with her,” recalls Vaughan. “You can swap out the comforter and a few things and the room can go boho in a few years.” The adjacent bathroom has a custom blue vanity and rose gold fixtures that the kindergartener adores.
As one steps through the front door into the foyer, the aesthetic balance of the home is immediately apparent: wainscotting and an antique table Vaughan found on 1stdibs.com nod to the structure’s Victorian heritage, while a contemporary beaded Ro Sham Beaux chandelier hangs above: a beautiful convergence of past and present.
Photography by Michael J Lee