With its modern muted palette and eclectic mix of styles and finishes, this classical old home proves sophistication is all in the details.
On nce in a while, hitt ting the refresh b button on a period h home pays off, c creating a sublime o one for a new era. S Such was the case when Boston Boston-based bas designer Lisa Tharp transformed a circa-1830 New England governor’s summer house into a contemporary yearround home for a young family.
“The homeowners wanted to write their own story here and create a casual comfortable gathering place for family and friends, just as the governor had done more than a century ago,” says Lisa of the 6,300-square-foot five-bedroom Greek Revival house.
As is true of many older homes, the structure had almost tripled in size over the years with various renovations, including a large twostorey addition. Fortunately, the
house’s historic core – which boasts a grand entryway and a double parlour that now serves as separate living and dining rooms – retained its architectural integrity and character throughout the makeovers.
“The original structure is beautifully proportioned and classical,” says Lisa. “My job was to marry the subsequent additions in style and form and then furnish the entire house.” So she added historical character through millwork and built-ins, gave the kitchen a significant upgrade, refreshed the interior with warm white paint and layered in artistic flourishes, such as the stencilled flooring in the entryway, for old-world charm. “This floor pattern sets the home’s inviting tone and neutral palette,” says Lisa of the harlequin design. “It was a way to add some fun to the formal entryway and punch it up with a bold treatment. It really epitomizes what we did here: create a formal structure, yet inject moments of levity appropriate for a young family. It instantly makes the home feel welcoming and approachable.”
This fun mood extends from the entryway flooring to the sculptural furnishings that were set against the home’s white envelope. “Though I selected sophisticated clean-lined furniture, I kept everyday family use in mind,” says the designer, who combined custom pieces, European antiques, global finds, contemporary art and modern silhouettes. “Much of the seating is upholstered in soft outdoor fabrics.”
Ultimately, it’s the mix that makes the design interesting. For the dining room, Lisa designed a sturdy marble-and-walnut table that she paired with vintage French dining chairs by designer Jean-Michel Frank. “I balanced opposites – which is what makes these spaces work,” says Lisa of her measured approach to this home’s neutral decor. “Light balances dark, warm balances cool, texture balances smooth, antique balances modern, and so on. There’s an almost imperceptible harmony one experiences in a room that is perfectly in balance.” And this renovated historic home, which has been so artfully reimagined for the 21st century, is the perfect example of pitch-perfect harmony.
The family room is clean-lined and comfortable thanks to a sleek sofa, deep-seated armchairs and a plush oversized ottoman. Off to one side, textural woven pendant lights define a cozy reading nook featuring the essentials: a wingback chair, a cushy...
THIS PAGE & OPPOSITE, BOTTOM From the oversized lantern-style pendant light in the hallway to the gilded chandelier in the dining room, designer Lisa Tharp proves again and again that lighting can indeed act as the jewellery of a room. She lets the...