Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Clean & Simple

A Contemporary Take on a Classic Country Home



The original dark wood paneling in the living room was restored and painted in a soft grey; the furnishings are a mix of mid-century modern and Scandinavian influences.

Photos by Amanda Kirkpatrick

The circa-1880 home had lovely grounds and a stately exterior, but the interior hadn’t been updated in decades. Rooms with low ceilings and dark wood paneling were uninviting, the kitchen and baths needed to be gutted, and the layout wasn’t conducive to entertaining. The prospective buyers’ goal was to seamlessly marry the old and new—to retain the country farmhouse look but with a clean minimalistic sensibility. Before committing to purchasing the house, they asked local contractor Bob Torre to walk through the property and weigh in on its possibilities. 

“The hardest part about a project like this is figuring out how to bring the home up to modern standards without losing the authenticity and originality of the home,” Torre says. Together with architect Rafe Churchill and interior designer Kathryn Fagin, that mission was accomplished in this stunning Bedford residence, now a sunny and serene retreat. 

“New construction typically offers many more design opportunities, but the real challenge is knowing when to tread lightly during a renovation,” Churchill says. “And honoring the history of a house has always been our top priority. These clients bought the property as a weekend getaway and were hoping to improve the interior spaces without losing any of the charm. We’ve found that some clients fall in love with an old house and then want to gut it. We tend to discourage that—it’s better to embrace the elements they fell for in the first place. It’s the irregularities of an old house that distinguish it from anything else.”

Because past additions were done at different times—the most recent renovation was nearly 40 years ago—one irregularity to contend with were all the different levels on the main floor. You had to step up or down each time you entered a room. “Plus, the kitchen ceiling was very low,” Churchill recalls, noting his six-foot-five-inch height made this obvious every time he stepped into the room. “It was clear that we needed to lower the floor system to increase the headroom. Bob Torre and his crew were great with this challenge–we increased the ceiling by eight inches–it now feels like we picked up twice that!” In addition to the extra headroom, the kitchen was extended by about seven feet.

“When the client first asked if we could lower the floor, both Rafe and I thought that it would be prohibitively expensive,” Torre says. “But since we had to replace all the heating vents and plumbing anyway, we were able to find a cost-effective way of making the kitchen the same level as the rest of the house. Now, instead of lots of levels, there is just one step up into the living room.” 

New windows were added throughout the house, along with oak flooring finished in Woca oil, which gives the floor a subtle matte luster and is easy to maintain and repair. “You can just buff out any imperfection, and then oil and buff it again.” Torre says. “When feasible, existing wood paneling was restored and painted. When not, reclaimed materials, such as old beams, were purchased and used to give rooms the look of being from the late 1800s.

The homeowners brought in Boston-based interior decorator Kathryn Fagin early on in the process. “I had worked with these clients before, so I knew that they liked to be very involved with the design process,” Fagin says. “For example, the wife saw that we could create a dramatic double height entry by opening up the stair area.” This also added much needed light, one of the priorities of the renovation.

One of Fagin’s biggest challenges was settling on a defined vision of the style the clients wanted to achieve. “It could be easy to get caught up in a very ‘country’ feel or a very ‘modern’ feel,” she says, “but getting a balance of the two was where we wanted to end up. The mix also included mid-century modern and Scandinavian minimalist influences.” 

Fagin enjoyed the collaborative process, working with the owners and the architect on everything from the paint colors, tile selections, and lighting to the furniture and the rugs. “When you work as a team, everyone brings different sources and ideas to the table and together we really brought the entire space to life.”

An apt description indeed. This property is still an antique, but a living one designed for the family to enjoy. The homeowners are delighted with their “new” old house. “The most fun part was seeing the final result, followed by being able to use the house as we had envisioned it from the outset. It has also been really enjoyable seeing the overwhelming response of family and friends to the end result!”

Add your comment:

Connect With Us

             

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Catch the Vibe Newsletter

See this weekend's events in the area!
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Bedford Shoutouts Nov-Dec 2017

This, that and the other things

Take 5: Stylist Tips

Creating a wardrobe you’ll love

Ten Minutes with Terry Elsberry

A man of the Lord

Belle of Pound Ridge

The legendary Tallulah Bankhead was the talk of the town

Bedford Out & About - Nov & Dec

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading Local Professionals

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

November 2017

Isabelle SCHELTJENS portraits in glass are simply put – beautiful.  Their effect is a candied aesthetic, shimmering with light and buoyant energy.   They exist as a compelling...

Cost: Free

Where:
Canfin Gallery
39 Main Street
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Sponsor: Canfin Gallery
Telephone: 914-332-4554
Contact Name: Jean-Claude Canfin
Website »

More information

Calling all tech enthusiasts, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science club members, authors, artists, students, entrepreneurs, crafter, and makers of any kind—join us this November for the...

Cost: Free to attend

Where:
varies
, CT


Website »

More information

The Pound Ridge Historical Society will open “Modern in Pound Ridge: 20th Century Architecture + Lifestyle” at the Pound Ridge Museum on April 23, 2017. This is a real departure for the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pound Ridge Museum
255 Westchester Ave
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: Pound Ridge Historical Society
Telephone: 914-764-4333
Website »

More information

The tri-state area’s biggest, most electrifying fall event returns with more pumpkin power than ever before! Meander through an historic, 18th century riverside landscape and discover a...

Where:
Van Cortlandt Manor
For GPS: Use 525 S Riverside
Croton-on-Hudson, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Isabelle SCHELTJENS portraits in glass are simply put – beautiful.  Their effect is a candied aesthetic, shimmering with light and buoyant energy.   They exist as a compelling...

Cost: Free

Where:
Canfin Gallery
39 Main Street
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Sponsor: Canfin Gallery
Telephone: 914-332-4554
Contact Name: Jean-Claude Canfin
Website »

More information

The Pound Ridge Historical Society will open “Modern in Pound Ridge: 20th Century Architecture + Lifestyle” at the Pound Ridge Museum on April 23, 2017. This is a real departure for the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pound Ridge Museum
255 Westchester Ave
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: Pound Ridge Historical Society
Telephone: 914-764-4333
Website »

More information

The tri-state area’s biggest, most electrifying fall event returns with more pumpkin power than ever before! Meander through an historic, 18th century riverside landscape and discover a...

Where:
Van Cortlandt Manor
For GPS: Use 525 S Riverside
Croton-on-Hudson, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Isabelle SCHELTJENS portraits in glass are simply put – beautiful.  Their effect is a candied aesthetic, shimmering with light and buoyant energy.   They exist as a compelling...

Cost: Free

Where:
Canfin Gallery
39 Main Street
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Sponsor: Canfin Gallery
Telephone: 914-332-4554
Contact Name: Jean-Claude Canfin
Website »

More information

The Pound Ridge Historical Society will open “Modern in Pound Ridge: 20th Century Architecture + Lifestyle” at the Pound Ridge Museum on April 23, 2017. This is a real departure for the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pound Ridge Museum
255 Westchester Ave
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: Pound Ridge Historical Society
Telephone: 914-764-4333
Website »

More information

The tri-state area’s biggest, most electrifying fall event returns with more pumpkin power than ever before! Meander through an historic, 18th century riverside landscape and discover a...

Where:
Van Cortlandt Manor
For GPS: Use 525 S Riverside
Croton-on-Hudson, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Isabelle SCHELTJENS portraits in glass are simply put – beautiful.  Their effect is a candied aesthetic, shimmering with light and buoyant energy.   They exist as a compelling...

Cost: Free

Where:
Canfin Gallery
39 Main Street
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Sponsor: Canfin Gallery
Telephone: 914-332-4554
Contact Name: Jean-Claude Canfin
Website »

More information

The Pound Ridge Historical Society will open “Modern in Pound Ridge: 20th Century Architecture + Lifestyle” at the Pound Ridge Museum on April 23, 2017. This is a real departure for the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pound Ridge Museum
255 Westchester Ave
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: Pound Ridge Historical Society
Telephone: 914-764-4333
Website »

More information

Join us for a FREE lecture! In the U.S. today, over 40 million men and women over the age of 50 have osteoporosis or osteopenia.  Whatever your age, the habits you adopt now can affect your...

Cost: Free

Where:
HSS Stamford Outpatient Center
1 Blachley Road
Stamford, CT  06902
View map »


Sponsor: HSS
Telephone: 203-705-2956
Contact Name: Pamela Villagomez
Website »

More information

The tri-state area’s biggest, most electrifying fall event returns with more pumpkin power than ever before! Meander through an historic, 18th century riverside landscape and discover a...

Where:
Van Cortlandt Manor
For GPS: Use 525 S Riverside
Croton-on-Hudson, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Isabelle SCHELTJENS portraits in glass are simply put – beautiful.  Their effect is a candied aesthetic, shimmering with light and buoyant energy.   They exist as a compelling...

Cost: Free

Where:
Canfin Gallery
39 Main Street
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Sponsor: Canfin Gallery
Telephone: 914-332-4554
Contact Name: Jean-Claude Canfin
Website »

More information

914INC. will host its annual Women in Business Luncheon, to be held in conjunction with the magazine's Q4 issue, showcasing leading area businesswomen...

Cost: $85

Where:
DoubleTree by Hilton
455 South Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Sponsor: Westchester Magazine
Telephone: 914-345-0601
Contact Name: Jen D'Ambrosio
Website »

More information

The Pound Ridge Historical Society will open “Modern in Pound Ridge: 20th Century Architecture + Lifestyle” at the Pound Ridge Museum on April 23, 2017. This is a real departure for the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pound Ridge Museum
255 Westchester Ave
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: Pound Ridge Historical Society
Telephone: 914-764-4333
Website »

More information

The tri-state area’s biggest, most electrifying fall event returns with more pumpkin power than ever before! Meander through an historic, 18th century riverside landscape and discover a...

Where:
Van Cortlandt Manor
For GPS: Use 525 S Riverside
Croton-on-Hudson, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Isabelle SCHELTJENS portraits in glass are simply put – beautiful.  Their effect is a candied aesthetic, shimmering with light and buoyant energy.   They exist as a compelling...

Cost: Free

Where:
Canfin Gallery
39 Main Street
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Sponsor: Canfin Gallery
Telephone: 914-332-4554
Contact Name: Jean-Claude Canfin
Website »

More information

The Pound Ridge Historical Society will open “Modern in Pound Ridge: 20th Century Architecture + Lifestyle” at the Pound Ridge Museum on April 23, 2017. This is a real departure for the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pound Ridge Museum
255 Westchester Ave
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: Pound Ridge Historical Society
Telephone: 914-764-4333
Website »

More information

Music on the Hill presents a concert in tune with the changing seasons, performed by 12 pro singers with Ellen Dickinson, conductor, David H. Connell, piano, and Carolyn Engle, cello....

Cost: $20 in advance, $25 at the door; students free

Where:
Wilton Presbyterian Church
48 New Canaan Road
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Sponsor: Music on the Hill
Telephone: 203-529-3133
Contact Name: Music on the Hill
Website »

More information

The tri-state area’s biggest, most electrifying fall event returns with more pumpkin power than ever before! Meander through an historic, 18th century riverside landscape and discover a...

Where:
Van Cortlandt Manor
For GPS: Use 525 S Riverside
Croton-on-Hudson, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

Stroller tours at the KMA are a unique opportunity to connect with other new parents and caregivers seeking culturally enriching activities to share with their babies. These once-a-month...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Katonah Museum of Art
134 Jay Street
Katonah, NY  10536
View map »


Website »

More information

Clay Art Center One-Time Cladies Night for Adults Interested in Learning to Use the Potter’s Wheel Looking to get your hands dirty and learn how to use the potter’s wheel? Try Clay...

Cost: $50

Where:
Clay Art Center
40 Beech Street
Port Chester, NY  10573
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Isabelle SCHELTJENS portraits in glass are simply put – beautiful.  Their effect is a candied aesthetic, shimmering with light and buoyant energy.   They exist as a compelling...

Cost: Free

Where:
Canfin Gallery
39 Main Street
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Sponsor: Canfin Gallery
Telephone: 914-332-4554
Contact Name: Jean-Claude Canfin
Website »

More information

STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math. Come explore the intersection of these topics with a day of interactive workshops for kids and teens kindergarten and older....

Cost: free

Where:
Keeler Library
276 Titicus Road
North Salem, NY  10560
View map »


Sponsor: Keeler Library
Telephone: 914-669-5161
Contact Name: Carolyn Reznick
Website »

More information

The Pound Ridge Historical Society will open “Modern in Pound Ridge: 20th Century Architecture + Lifestyle” at the Pound Ridge Museum on April 23, 2017. This is a real departure for the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pound Ridge Museum
255 Westchester Ave
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: Pound Ridge Historical Society
Telephone: 914-764-4333
Website »

More information

FATS ~ SUGAR ~ SALT: HELPFUL OR HARMFUL? All three of these have been maligned for decades. But are they all harmful? Might there be some benefits to including them in your diet? Come...

Cost: Free

Where:
Dr. Kaushik's Ayurvedic and Naturopathic Clinic
792 Route 35
Yellow Monkey Village
Cross River, NY  10518
View map »


Sponsor: Dr. Somesh N. Kaushik
Telephone: 914-875-9088
Contact Name: Dr. Somesh N. Kaushik
Website »

More information

The tri-state area’s biggest, most electrifying fall event returns with more pumpkin power than ever before! Meander through an historic, 18th century riverside landscape and discover a...

Where:
Van Cortlandt Manor
For GPS: Use 525 S Riverside
Croton-on-Hudson, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags