amer­i­can beauty

De­signer Britt Zunino has cre­ated a beau­ti­ful home in Up­state New York that clev­erly blends a so­phis­ti­cated pal­ette and in­no­va­tive ideas with fam­ily life

Living Etc - - CONTENTS ⁄ ETC - Pho­tog­ra­phy ⁄ Matthew Wil­liams Styling ⁄ Alexa Rae-hotz Words ⁄ Luke Teb­butt

de­signer britt Zunino gave a young fam­ily’s colo­nial-style new york home a much-needed makeover


Keep­ing the fur­nish­ings and decor min­i­mal in this open space cre­ates a clean tran­si­tion be­tween the dif­fer­ent rooms and storeys of the house.

Get the look The cir­cu­lar sofa is a be­spoke de­sign by Studio DB.


Britt used rounded fur­ni­ture and ac­ces­sories to echo the curves of the liv­ing room. The sin­u­ous pieces of mid-cen­tury de­signer Vladimir Ka­gan in­spired the de­sign of the be­spoke sofa.

Get the look The sofa was cus­tom-designed by Studio DB and up­hol­stered in Ritzy White Sands fab­ric by Peren­ni­als. The cof­fee ta­ble is from Yield’s Duo­tone range. The rug be­neath the cof­fee ta­ble is by Studio Proba and the rug in the fore­ground is by Studio Four. This is the Apollo mir­ror by Ben & Aja Blanc. The side ta­ble is Egg Col­lec­tive’s Wu. The floor lamp is from An­thro­polo­gie. The cush­ions on the sofa are from Room & Board and the cushion on the arm­chair is by Studio Four.

says de­signer Britt Zunino of the colo­nial-style house she ren­o­vated for a young fam­ily in Green­wich, Con­necti­cut. ‘If it were a per­son, I imag­ined it as a mum with five kids, who re­ally needed a hol­i­day – and I say that as a mother of four. She was tired. She needed to get a tan and a new out­fit.’

The own­ers – one a doc­tor and the other work­ing in fi­nance – re­lo­cated from Man­hat­tan, one and a half hours away, to have more space, but while they loved the home’s plus-size pro­por­tions, they didn’t love its dark red walls, heavy drap­ery and the over­load of cherry wood.

‘It came from a dif­fer­ent era of dec­o­rat­ing,’ says Britt, co-founder of New York de­sign prac­tice Studio DB, who stripped ev­ery­thing back, painted the walls white and pale grey and sanded down the floor­boards. ‘They wanted the house to feel cool and young and re­flect who they are. She has an in­cred­i­ble sense of style and he surfs a lot. They didn’t want to feel like they were selling out and mov­ing to the sub­urbs.’

Be­ing such a big house (8,500sq ft, across three storeys and a cel­lar), it was im­por­tant to cre­ate vis­ual con­nec­tions be­tween the rooms, so Britt re­peated ma­te­ri­als, colours and tex­tures through­out. Brass, for ex­am­ple, is used for taps, ta­bles and mir­rors across the whole home and pink is re­peated in the din­ing room, pow­der room and liv­ing room.

‘You can look from room to room and see con­ti­nu­ity, but ev­ery space still feels dif­fer­ent,’ she says. ‘We used the el­e­ments in dif­fer­ent ways, so the rep­e­ti­tion feels sub­tle.’

And while the ma­te­ri­als and colours are re­strained, the way Britt has used them is any­thing but shy. Mar­ble cov­ers the en­tire walls (and even the ex­trac­tor hood) in the kitchen, and glossy teal paint en­velops the li­brar y from wall to ceil­ing. ‘We wanted the house to feel lux­u­ri­ous, but not flashy,’ she says. ‘And to throw in things that are a lit­tle un­ex­pected, like an


In­spired by a photo of Amer­i­can artist Cy Twombly’s studio, the floor fea­tures two types of mar­ble cut into a frac­tured geo­met­ric pat­ten. ‘We were go­ing to stick to wood, but we felt it was im­por­tant to do some­thing bold and fun in this space,’ says Britt. ‘It’s the first thing you see as you en­ter, so it sets the tone.’

Get the look These are Bardiglio and Cala­catta Gold mar­ble tiles, cut for a cus­tom pat­tern, sup­plied by Su­pe­rior Se­lected Stone. This is the Pe­narth mir­ror from Crate & Bar­rel. This is the Mini Orbs wall light by Al­lied Maker. This is a vin­tage lac­quered goatskin con­sole ta­ble by Karl Springer – find sim­i­lar at auc­tion houses. The dec­o­ra­tive home­ware on top of the con­sole is from CB2. This is the Dis­cus Pen­dant 3 ceil­ing light by Mat­ter. The art­work is by Ge­off Mcfetridge.

home Pro­file

THE DE­SIGNER Britt Zunino, co-founder of New York de­sign prac­tice Studio DB, who ren­o­vated the home for a young fam­ily and their dog. THE PROP­ERTY A house with three storeys and a cel­lar in Green­wich, Con­necti­cut, built in 1900 and ex­tended by Pen­noyer Ar­chi­tects. The cel­lar has a gym, fam­ily room, chil­dren’s play space, wine room and stor­age. The ground floor has a kitchen, sun­room, din­ing room, liv­ing room and li­brary. The first floor has four bed­rooms and bath­rooms – one of them a mas­ter suite with sep­a­rate dress­ing room and walk-in closet. There is also an ad­di­tional guest bed­room and bath­room above the garage. asym­met­ri­cal brass light in the en­trance hall, or a pair of wel­com­ing rat­tan chairs next to the fire­place.’

With two small boys, aged four and one, and a pet dog, the own­ers needed the home to be durable as well as beau­ti­ful, so Britt used easy-clean ma­te­ri­als through­out, such as wool and jute rugs and out­door fab­ric to cover the sofa in the liv­ing room and the ban­quette in the sun­room.

‘I know from ex­pe­ri­ence what hap­pens to your home with young chil­dren,’ she says. ‘There’s no point in cre­at­ing a stylish space if you can’t also feel com­fort­able hang­ing out in it.’

Word from the own­ers is that she has achieved just that – a home that’s as easy to live in as it is to look at. ‘They’re still in the hon­ey­moon phase, where all their friends and fam­ily love the house and want to come visit,’ says Britt. ‘But they’re also us­ing ev­ery room, which is al­ways a chal­lenge in a big house like this, so I feel like we’ve hit our goal.’

Work on the ren­o­va­tion was com­pleted in six months and Britt worked closely with the own­ers from start to fin­ish. ‘We get to know ev­ery­thing there is to know about our clients when we work with them,’ she says. ‘We know who goes to sleep first, what side of the bed they sleep on, when they shower, what their day looks like – be­cause the house has to re­flect them not just in how it looks, but also in how it works.’

And what kind of per­son would the house be now the makeover is com­plete? ‘It’s still the same mum. We weren’t look­ing to change her char­ac­ter. We just wanted her to feel re­freshed and give her re­newed con­fi­dence,’ says Britt. ‘She got a new hair­cut, an up­dated wardrobe, maybe a lit­tle Bo­tox and she’s back feel­ing 10 years younger.’

See more of Studio DB’S projects at stu­


Slightly arched chairs and a show-stop­ping spher­i­cal chan­de­lier off­set the for­mal­ity of the room.

Get the look The din­ing ta­ble was designed be­spoke by Studio DB in col­lab­o­ra­tion with Com­mon Prac­tice Studio. These are Niels Otto Møller side chairs from De­sign Within Reach. This is the Cloud chan­de­lier by Ap­pa­ra­tus. The wall art and the vase, jug, bowl and glasses on the ta­ble are the client’s own – find sim­i­lar glass­ware at LSA In­ter­na­tional. The Court sconces are by Al­lied Maker.


Hints of brass and shades of muted teal draw to­gether the dif­fer­ent com­po­nents of the space and are echoed in the ad­ja­cent liv­ing room. Get the look

Find sim­i­lar wooden stat­ues at Afies Antique Mar­ket. The pic­ture light is from Restora­tion Hard­ware. The paint­ing is by Irene Zenon. A sim­i­lar wall colour is Var­sity Blues semi-gloss paint by Ben­jamin Moore. This is the Casey rug from Aron­son’s Floor Cov­er­ing.


‘We did se­lec­tive con­struc­tion in this room and kept what we could from the orig­i­nal kitchen’s struc­ture,’ says Britt. ‘I think it’s im­por­tant to con­serve what you can in a ren­o­va­tion.’ Get the look

The wall is cov­ered in Stat­u­ario Tucci mar­ble, sup­plied by Stone Source. The cab­i­nets were made be­spoke by Studio DB and painted in Ben­jamin Moore’s Side­walk Gray satin fin­ish lac­quer. The sink is by Shaws of Dar­wen and the tap is from Newport Brass. The work­top is made out of Pure White Cae­sar­stone. The sconce is from Roll & Hill.


The li­brary is a great ex­am­ple of Britt’s ap­proach to colour and ma­te­rial – so­phis­ti­cated but in­dul­gent, the pan­elling cov­ers the en­tire walls and ceil­ing. It of­fers a fresh take on a tra­di­tion­ally mas­cu­line space.

Get the look

This is a vin­tage Hans J Weg­ner Papa Bear chair and ot­toman – find sim­i­lar at Pa­mono. The Grasshop­per floor lamp is by Greta Gross­man. The bar cart is Florin from Con­sort De­sign.


Lead­ing di­rectly off the kitchen, this is one of the most fre­quently used spa­ces in the home.

Get the look

The din­ing ta­ble is by NJ Mod­ern. These are J104 Hay chairs from the Dan­ish De­sign Store. The rug is by Ser­ena & Lily. The Dreamweaver lights are by Pop & Scott. The ban­quette is a be­spoke de­sign by Studio DB, up­hol­stered in Beach Blan­ket tex­tured fab­ric by Link Out­door, with cush­ioned seat­ing by Basil Horn. The cush­ions are a mix of Room & Board, Oliver Yaphe and Studio Four de­signs.

‘i love warm mod­ernism – clean lines, great tex­tures and live­able spa­ces are my thing ’


A multi-tiered light that tran­scends all three floors adds drama, while the sim­ple de­sign and mono­chrome scheme has a so­phis­ti­cated, el­e­gant ef­fect. Get the look

This is the Hang­ing Mo­bile No.405 light by David Weeks Studio. The framed pho­to­graph is 5Pointz by Jeff Chien-hs­ing Liao.


‘It was im­por­tant to add play­ful mo­ments such as this room,’ says Britt. ‘The style is bold, but it’s tem­pered by the more neu­tral and so­phis­ti­cated spa­ces in the home.’ The colours can all be seen through­out the rest of the house: the pink is re­peated in the din­ing room, the teal reap­pears in the li­brary and mar­ble is used in the en­trance hall and kitchen. Get the look

The wall­pa­per is Abi­gail Borg’s Mathilda Mid­night from Studio Four. The ceil­ing lights are by Nash Martinez. The Fior di Pesco Apuano mar­ble van­ity unit is from ABC Stone and the tap is the Priya sin­gle hole from Newport Brass. The In­fin­ity round mir­ror is from CB2. The door (seen in the re­flec­tion) is painted in Ben­jamin Moore’s Yukon Green.


Small, more colour­ful rooms add per­son­al­ity and sur­prise to the oth­er­wise neu­tral in­te­rior. Here, the fem­i­nine pink pat­terned wall­pa­per is off­set by a more mas­cu­line stone wash­basin. Get the look

The wall­pa­per is Ta­pes­try in Coral Pink by Quer­cus & Co. The Hud­son van­ity unit is from Restora­tion Hard­ware. The Hedges wall sconces are by the Ur­ban Elec­tric Co. The mir­ror is from Way­fair.


This room has a dis­tinctly more re­laxed feel to it than the rest of the house. ‘In a big prop­erty like this, it’s im­por­tant to make each room feel slightly dif­fer­ent, to give it its own iden­tity,’ says Britt. Get the look

This is the Cole House trun­dle bed from Restora­tion Hard­ware. The fluffy pil­lows are from Room & Board and the smaller pil­lows are by Studio Four. The striped throw is by Ar­chive NY, sourced through Studio Four. This is Belle­wood Black Toile wall­pa­per from Rebel Walls. The Akari UF3-DL pa­per lantern is by Isamu Noguchi. Find sim­i­lar vin­tage Mo­roc­can rugs at Beldi Rugs. The Scan­di­na­vian De­sign Cen­ter sells sim­i­lar wooden rock­ing horses.

Home Truths

What is your in­te­ri­ors bug­bear? A room full of fur­ni­ture from the same store. Whether it’s de­signer or Ikea, it never looks in­ter­est­ing. Mix it up!

One thing ev­ery home should have? Hap­pi­ness. Every­one should own some­thing that makes them smile.

Have you ever lived any­where ter­ri­ble? I lived in Colorado with eight messy boys, who used dis­carded lawn chairs as in­door fur­ni­ture.

What do you keep hid­den away at home? Per­sonal items. I love it when the bath­room van­ity is tidy. Just soap and a pretty ves­sel.

If you could live any­where, where would you choose? A horse ranch in Jack­son Hole, Wy­oming. It’s my fam­ily’s happy place.

Who would you love to de­sign a home for? My par­ents. I’m cross­ing my fin­gers it will hap­pen soon.


Min­i­mal build­ing work was needed for the ren­o­va­tion, save for the large mas­ter bath­room, which was con­verted from a bed­room. ‘We had to re­struc­ture the floor so that all the tiles could be flush,’ ex­plains Britt. ‘That was the most chal­leng­ing part of the ren­o­va­tion, be­cause it’s an old house, so it was hard to insert clean lines – but we fig­ured it out.’ Get the look

This is the Elise bath from MTI. The floor and bath splash­back are made in Cal­cutta Turquoise mar­ble from ABC Stone. The floor tiles are Bianco Dolomiti from Stone Source and the ter­ra­cotta wall tiles are Zel­lige in Weath­ered White by Clé Tile. The shower en­clo­sure is Ridgefield Glass and the brass taps and shower fix­tures are by Water­mark De­signs.

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