Smart Design Choices Lend a Vintage Feel to New Construction
WRITTEN BY RONDA SWANEY PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHAEL J LEE
Making new construction feel homey is challenging. But Jill Goldberg, owner of Boston-based Hudson Interior Designs, was up to the challenge. Of course it also helped that the owners of this Dover, Massachusetts home collect antiques and other unique finds. Pairing the homeowners’ existing pieces with others that Goldberg found helped her fashion a modern home with a vintage feel.
The couple first contacted Goldberg to plan the interior decor for what the husband calls his man barn—a living space above their garage. “He wanted a comfortable space to be in where he could work and relax at the same time,” says Goldberg.
Wide-plank flooring and aged wood provide warmth and character. A blue-velvet Chesterfield sofa centers the room. Rich leather chairs add more seating, and a vintage chest serves as a coffee table. A cowhide rug adds another manly touch, as does the homeowners’ airplane propeller that hangs over the windows.
Drawing attention to the rafters above the space was a temptation that Goldberg could not resist. While on vacation, she purchased an old canoe. Both its shape and age seemed a perfect complement to the beam architecture. She showcased the piece by placing it upside down in the rafters, drawing attention to the craftsmanship of both items.
Thrilled with the result of the man barn, the couple asked Goldberg to also design their living room, family room, dining room, and master bedroom. Just like in the man barn, the design forged in these rooms paired existing pieces with some of Goldberg’s finds. “We are good at working in clients’ belongings,” she says. “We do our best to incorporate existing pieces with new pieces so everything works together.” The use of a homeowner’s pieces comes with benefits. “It removes the design dilemma,” says Goldberg. “You know the client likes the shape or the fabric. You don’t have to worry about getting them on board with the choice.”
The formal living room exemplifies the perfect pairing of existing pieces with new finds. The couple owned a console table that was placed to one side of the room and is slim enough to not interfere with the walkway. Goldberg brought in a round antique brass mirror to add visual weight above the console. She also included a pair of chairs covered in a soft-textured Lee Jofa cotton. The nailhead trim adds a finer level of detail. The pair of spindle chairs belonged to the homeowners but were reupholstered in a Romo plaid. A chest serves as a coffee table, and a framed feedbag above the couch is another vintage find of Goldberg’s. Opposite the couch is a wood-burning fireplace. An old campsite sign sits atop the mantel. A tin bucket filled with cotton bolls flanks the hearth. Old canning jars from the homeowners’ collection sit to one side and pottery made by one of the couple’s sons sits on the other.
Stone walls and rustic ceiling beams make the family room a more casual space where they can relax and play guitar. The sofa and chairs already belonged to the homeowners. “We deliberated on reupholstering them. We decided to leave them as they were but added really fun pillows instead. This ended up being just a beautiful and cozy room,” says Goldberg.
In the master bedroom, the homeowners’ sofa worked well with Goldberg’s decor plan. The bench at the foot of the bed is from Restoration Hardware and was also from the homeowners’ collection. Goldberg added another framed feedbag for a touch of rustic wall art. She brought in a hefty brass urn lamp to sit at the bedside on a vintage trunk. Matteo linens and a blanket from Faribault Woolen Mills finish dressing the bed. The small round dining table belonged to the clients. It provided an excellent option to read the morning paper or eat a casual breakfast. Goldberg added two leather wing chairs as the finishing touch.
A specific request for the dining room required Goldberg to tap into her creativity. The couple told her they hated the idea of head chairs. They disliked the notion that the homeowners should sit at opposite ends of the table during family functions. “That’s why we chose double-wide benches to sit at the ends of the table,” says Goldberg. “That way couples could sit together. I’ve done dining benches on the sides before, but this was the first time having benches at the ends.”
The Verellen dining table is extra wide to accommodate the bench width, and leather chairs line the sides. The dark wood and spindles of the sideboard make the furniture feel like it has a history. A Dunes and Duchess lamp sits atop the sideboard. Its shape mimics the sideboard spindles. A china cabinet sits on the opposite wall made of the same dark wood and simple lines.
A round iron chandelier illuminates the room. “We loved its openness. Having no shades and raw light bulbs provided another reflection of the clean lines found in the house,” says Goldberg.
Every design comes with its challenges, but they’re not all problems. “It was such a gorgeous home that the challenge was trying not to design all the other spaces as well,” says Goldberg. “These were wonderful clients who were very open to all of our ideas. They seemed quite happy with outcome and we were as well.”
Alicia Duffy | Realtor
As featured in Home By Design Magazine
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