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A historic 18th-century home gets a charming makeover in New England

colonial style home exterior

Kathleen Walsh Interiors together with John Desmond Builders were commissioned to reimagine an 18th-century antique home located in Westport, Connecticut. The designer had worked with the homeowners on their previous home several years ago and they wanted to infuse a few of their cherished modern pieces into the design.

The goal of this project was to create a home that honors the past, reflects the owner’s love of globe-trotting, and better supports their family and extended family members. The owners of this Colonial-style home have always cherished authenticity and unique touches. Situated prominently on a corner parcel of land, the house boasts two exposures to quiet streets.

DESIGN DETAILS: CONSTRUCTION John Desmond Builders INTERIOR DESIGN Kathleen Walsh Interiors LANDSCAPE ARCHITECT Brook Clark STYLING Frances Bailey SELECT ART SOURCED BY Mason Lane Art Advisors

rustic modern entry hall

The historical front side remains virtually untouched, preserving its charm from over two centuries ago. On the side view, a newer farmhouse-style addition is revealed. The back of the house hides an expansive lawn, an outdoor terrace, and a lovely pool area, designed for gracious living.

rustic modern living room

Over the years, the designer has learned that mixing modern elements with traditional settings can bring out the best in both worlds. To achieve harmony throughout the home, she focused on carefully selecting finishes, colors, and textures. In this house, the beamed and exposed ceiling carries a warm honeyed patina, while the generously wide-planked floors bear marks of previous decades of use, reflecting the love the home has received for centuries.

Above: In the living room of this 18th-century home, the wall sconces are from Lightmaker Studio.

rustic modern living room

The new furnishings were carefully chosen to create a layered story where the past and present intertwine seamlessly, with materials like lacquer, metal, resin, and wood blending together with different patterns and textures. 

rustic modern living room

What We Love: This 18th-century home exudes charm, history, and a perfect balance of traditional and modern elements, creating the ideal backdrop for multiple generations to live, share, and make memories together. Overall, the unique blend of the historic property, a well-traveled owner, the creation of a functional multi-generational space, and the seamless integration of modern, antique, and comfortable furnishings make this project truly exceptional.

Tell Us: We’d love to hear your overall impressions of this Colonial-style home transformation! Feel free to share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

Note: Be sure to check out a couple of other fascinating home tours that we have highlighted here on One Kindesign in the state of Connecticut: This Connecticut home in a forested setting gets a charming update and A beautiful Colonial house in Connecticut gets a timeless makeover.

chair and end table detail

rustic modern dining room

Saturday nights are special occasions for the family, gathering around the oversized Jacobean-style dining table, a cherished family heirloom. Complementing the table’s grandeur, new chairs and a custom chandelier, both providing ample illumination, strike a perfect balance between size and the low-beamed ceiling, creating a romantic atmosphere in the space.

rustic fireplace detail

rustic modern kitchen with tall ceilings and wood beams

The kitchen was expanded with a thoughtfully designed breakfast nook banquette, which serves as the heart of the home during the busy mornings. Original wide-plank pine floors, exposed beams, and ceilings of the second-story floorboards provide warmth and character.

transitional style breakfast nook with a bay window

rustic modern family room

rustic fireplace detail

coffee table detail

rustic modern chess table and scotch cabinet

Above: The family loves to play chess at the Mattaliano game table. The living room’s existing built-ins were repurposed as a display cabinet for an array of scotch bottles.

rustic modern powder room

colonial style home entry

modern home office with rustic wood beams

The pandemic brought about the need for private workspaces for both parents and a desire for ample shared space for the whole family. This accelerated the planned move and made the connection to their previous New York City home more profound. Surprisingly, their modern furniture fit the new floor plan seamlessly, requiring only some thoughtful styling to blend aesthetically with the surroundings. The desk is Charlotte Perriand desk from Cassina. The lounge chair is from A. Rudin. Grounding this space is a rug from Warp & Weft.

modern home office with rustic wood beams

rustic modern family room

rustic modern bedroom with wood ceiling beams

Above: This luminous guest bedroom features pops of color, including the Giamba drapery fabric from Natasha Baradaran. The dresser is from Room & Board, while the nightstands were sourced from Shoppe Amber Interiors. The bed features linens from Matouk. At the foot of the bed is a bench by Ralph Pucci.

rustic modern bedroom

rustic modern bedroom with a dresser

rustic modern home office

rustic modern bedroom with a fireplace

rustic modern bedroom with a reading chair

rustic modern bedroom

transitional bathroom vanity

transitional kids bedroom

transitional kids bedroom

window treatment detail

colonial style home exterior

The farmhouse, once a guest suite, was transformed into a delightful kid’s lounge with a bathroom, wet bar, and space for gym equipment. This addition has quickly become a favorite spot for the kids to socialize and make new friends, while the parents gather in other parts of the property.

modern rustic entertainment barn living room

modern rustic entertainment barn home bar

Above: This teen lounge space features a custom-built bar by Fairfield County Millwork, with hardware from Restoration Hardware. The walls are reclaimed wood. In front of the window, the light fixture is the Carson Cord Pendant from Rejuvenation.

modern rustic entertainment barn family room

modern rustic entertainment barn family room

colonial style home swimming pool

The outside of the home was reimagined to offer the family a relaxing space to enjoy the existing pool, enhanced with a pergola, hot tub, and firepit to ensure enjoyment throughout all four distinct New England seasons

colonial style home terrace patio

Above: The outdoor living spaces are decked out with a beautiful blue and white color scheme. For the pergola living area, the sectional is from Dedon, with cushions upholstered in Blueberry 950-213 – Ishi from Perennials Fabrics. The cocktail table is from Janus et Cie and the garden stools are by Surya.

colonial style home terrace patio

rustic party barn with an outdoor hot tub and surrounding landscape

rustic party barn with an outdoor hot tub and surrounding landscape

PHOTOGRAPHER Rikki Snyder

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Nancy W Markon
8 months ago

Unexpected and expertly curated blend of old and new. Beautiful, and it uses color! One of the more interesting properties I’ve seen on OneKindesign. Thank you for sharing.