One look, and this Waban couple knew: the 1890s Victorian was the house of their dreams.
A historic Victorian gets a makeover a young family can live with.
Megan Russel’s husband, Jeff, loves old houses, but she’s never been a fan. That she didn’t swoon over the 1892 Victorian that he proclaimed could be their forever home wasn’t surprising. “I didn’t like it,” Megan admits. “But he had a vision.” Buoyed by his enthusiasm, the couple purchased the nearly 4,500-square-foot Waban house a couple of years ago and hired Nancie Chamberlain and Laurel Laliberte of Chamberlain & Laliberte Design Associates (cldesigninc.com) to refurbish the tired interior, replacing all systems, windows, and adding a third-story addition. More importantly, the pair developed Jeff’s concept of “blowing out the back,” which brought to life the dark, disconnected kitchen as it was integrated with the 2,500-square-foot addition that included a lightfilled, cathedral-ceilinged family room. “The home didn’t provide the everyday areas so important to a young family’s lifestyle,” Chamberlain says. Once construction was complete, Megan brought in Robin M. Anderson (robinmanderson.com), an up-and-coming designer, lifestyle blogger and close friend, to help make it feel like home. Working within the already established palette of white, black, grey and tan, Anderson layered in furniture with clean silhouettes and accessories with bohemian funk. The walnut dining table adds an earthy element, while black chairs echo the kitchen cabinetry and black window frames. Mid-century style chairs in camel-colored leather and accessories in burnished brass counterbalance the cool grays, and abstract artwork and textiles inject inky blues. In the formal dining room, a marble topped pedestal table seems to float, surrounded by comfortable upholstered chairs that can withstand spills. Anderson says, “Like the other rooms we’ve completed, it’s glam enough for Meg, but casual enough to use with the kids.”
Clockwise from left: Once Anderson found perfect perches for the kitchen island—Bacco leather and walnut counter stools from Design Within Reach—Megan asked that she also decorate the rest of the house; the open-iron base of the coffee table echoes the design of the windows and the burnishedbrass chandelier by Jonathan Browning adds warmth; grasscloth wallpaper and a Namibian landscape by Kara Rosenlund are earthy elements that contrast the scheme’s more glamorous touches, such as the 1930s style brass bar cart.