Old World Ris­ing

De­signer Meg Braff puts a mod­ern spin on 300 YEARS OF DEC­O­RAT­ING HIS­TORY in­side her Lo­cust Val­ley, Long Is­land, home.

Veranda - - CONTENTS - In­te­rior De­sign by MEG BRAFF Ar­chi­tec­ture by LAURA CASALE Photograph­y by AN­NIE SCHLECHTER Pro­duced by CAROLYN ENGLEFIELD Writ­ten by STEPHANIE HUNT

Cen­turies of sto­ried an­tiques come to­gether to bridge time and trends in Meg Braff ’s newly ren­o­vated Long Is­land home.

and a lively one at that for Long Is­land-based de­signer Meg Braff. Eaves­drop on the vi­brant di­a­logue be­tween rooms of her newly ren­o­vated Lo­cust Val­ley, Long Is­land, home, and you’ll see why. There’s a whis­per of soft apri­cot across the liv­ing room, the tony banter of pea­cock blue echo­ing from the but­ler’s pantry to the kitchen, and the mirth­ful shout of char­treuse from a not-so-hushed li­brary.

“I love walk­ing from room to room and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing how the dif­fer­ent tones work to­gether, like they’re all speak­ing to each other in a beau­ti­ful, con­ge­nial way,” says Braff, a Mis­sis­sippi na­tive whose style de­faults to­ward her tra­di­tional South­ern roots and is of­ten tem­pered with fearless color.

For 18 years, Braff and her hus­band, Doug, lived just two miles away. But with their four sons get­ting older, they were look­ing for more space and a start to “our next chap­ter,” she says. This ’60s-era ranch caught their eye largely be­cause of the way it was sited on a gen­er­ous lot with ma­ture trees. “It backs up to the golf course, which we thought would be fun for the boys, three of whom are se­ri­ous squash play­ers. They can zip over to the club­house to play squash or pad­dle.”

But lot size and lo­ca­tion aside, the home’s curb ap­peal pretty much stopped at the curb. “This neigh­bor­hood has so many charm­ing old-world

houses, and this wasn’t one of them,” notes Braff, who worked with ar­chi­tect Laura Casale on a three­year trans­for­ma­tion of the ranch into a spa­cious twos­tory fam­ily home. The foot­print didn’t dras­ti­cally change (de­spite adding 15 feet to the front), but each of the rooms save the li­brary got a com­plete over­haul. “We loved the scale of the orig­i­nal li­brary and repli­cated its win­dows and French doors through­out the first floor,” says Braff. “I found old man­tels at auc­tions and used raised ceil­ings wher­ever pos­si­ble. We wanted it to feel like a house built in the early 1930s, like it had al­ways been here.”

Braff glossed the li­brary’s old pan­els in a whim­si­cal char­treuse, a color car­ried over to the chi no is erie in­spired din­ing room. There, ap­ple green silk drapes soften grass cloth walls, adding an air of cheer­ful­ness while still amp­ing up the drama. “I try to be very thought­ful about thread­ing color through the rooms,” says Braff, who, for ex­am­ple, also bal­ances a pat­terned wallpaper down the first-floor cor­ri­dor (her own French Blue damask) with soft solids in ad­ja­cent rooms. “You need some­thing that gives your eye a break.”

A pair of rooms (liv­ing and din­ing) were com­bined to cre­ate one large for­mal liv­ing room with mul­ti­ple

“I love walk­ing from room to room and ex­pe­ri­enc­ing how the dif­fer­ent tones work to­gether, like they’re speak­ing to each other in a beau­ti­ful, con­ge­nial way.”

seat­ing ar­eas, where Braff show­cases a mon­u­men­tal Coro­man­del screen be­hind a sofa, and two chi­nois­erie pan­els she’d bought 10 years ago and pulled out of stor­age. “Those pan­els con­tain the pal­ette for the whole house, such beau­ti­ful blues, corals, ivories, and greens. It feels rich but not heavy to me,” says the de­signer, who rarely does white walls and in­stead fa­vors a Vene­tian plas­ter fin­ish to bounce nat­u­ral light. “It’s a beau­ti­ful fin­ish for pas­tels, and even for bring­ing in gold de­tails. This room pretty much has all my fa­vorite things—pretty porce­lain, a lit­tle bit of Asian in­flu­ence, French and English fur­ni­ture.”

Though her har­mo­nious melody of an­tiques and be­spoke de­tails de­fines the rooms, there’s more than one de­sign voice in the Braff house­hold. The boys chimed in with in­put on col­ors for their be­d­rooms. A cozy up­stairs fam­ily room is their video game room and “hang­out cen­tral” dur­ing the warmer months, but when one of the home’s four fire­places has a fire go­ing “that’s where we all grav­i­tate,” Braff says.

“The boys have grown up be­ing dragged around auc­tions, help­ing me load and un­load, so they’ve seen it all. They ap­pre­ci­ate the work that goes into this,” she says. “This—a love of beauty—is the core of my be­ing, and I’m so thank­ful they see it.”

“This room pretty much has all my fa­vorite things— pretty porce­lain, a lit­tle bit of Asian in­flu­ence, French and English fur­ni­ture.”

In the li­brary, Braff played up the nat­u­ral light and orig­i­nal 1960s pan­el­ing by paint­ing the walls bright char­treuse (Vi­enna Green by Ben­jamin Moore). Cane-back arm­chairs, Ju­lian Chich­ester. Leop­ard cush­ion fab­ric, Brun­schwig & Fils.

LOUIS XVI-STYLE GILT MIR­ROR Its sim­ple, clas­sic lines and thin fram­ing rep­re­sent the trend of the late 1700s, when ex­ag­ger­ated French flour­ishes de­clined in pop­u­lar­ity.

CORO­MAN­DEL SCREEN Coro­man­del is a form of 17th-cen­tury Chi­nese lac­quer­ware. Braff found this gem at a lo­cal es­tate once de­signed by Mario Bu­atta. Braff with her hus­band, Doug, in the pea­cock blue but­ler’s pantry A vin­tage sofa in the liv­ing room is trimmed in an ebul­lient 4-inch fringe by Houlès. Upholstery fab­ric, Zof­fany.

The liv­ing room club chairs’ flo­ral upholstery is by Lee Jofa. KARL SPRINGER COCK­TAIL TA­BLE The goatskin-lac­quered piece is em­blem­atic of its 20th-cen­tury de­signer’s style, which boasted ex­otic fin­ishes.

MID-20TH-CEN­TURY LAN­TERN The plas­ter-fin­ish lan­tern fea­tures flo­ral vine de­tail­ing. “Paired with the trel­lis wallpaper, it makes you feel like you’re sitting in the gar­den.” RIGHT: In the sunny break­fast room, a Bernard Thorp botan­i­cal-print linen cov­ers a set of Serge Roche-style chairs. Wallpaper, Meg Braff De­signs. Trim color, Sweet Daphne by Ben­jamin Moore.

OP­PO­SITE: A Ge­orge III gilt mir­ror hangs over the man­tel in the liv­ing room and is flanked by a pair of an­tique Chi­nese vases. Slip­per chair upholstery, Lee Jofa. Ta­ble lamp, Christo­pher Spitzmille­r. Braff (pic­tured with her son, Dou­glas) ex­panded and up­dated the kitchen with Danby mar­ble coun­ters, a Blues­tar dou­ble range, and sink fix­tures and hard­ware by Water­works. Light­ing, Vaughan with Bel­luno hang­ing shade. Cabi­netry paint color, White by Fine Paints of Europe. BE­LOW:

CHI­NOIS­ERIE SILK PAN­ELS The 19th-cen­tury tex­tiles were pur­chased at Sotheby’s. It was a “happy ac­ci­dent” that the col­ors worked so well in the home. Braff col­lected these Rouge Royale man­tels be­fore she be­gan ren­o­vat­ing. “The an­tique stone gives new­con­struc­tion rooms a sense of age and au­then­tic­ity.” MAR­BLE MAN­TEL BEL­GIAN

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