When designing within the historic and physical parameters of a period home, challenges can arise. Spaces may be small and awkward, and original materials such as wallcoverings can require more maintenance than their modern counterparts. However, as Martin Horner and Shea Soucie, from architectural and design firm Soucie Horner, have found, these can all work to add to the character of the home.
Soucie Horner was asked to renovate the interiors of this house to a style that was comfortable, but held a sense of formality. The original long and narrow architecture of the brownstone, with tall ceilings and multiple rooms running off from one another, was enhanced through the addition of modern elements, says Horner.
"The original walls are intact, as is the wainscoting in the foyer and the staircase, which accesses all levels. The white oak hardwood floors are original and have been refurbished. We used color, lighting and furniture to add a contemporary touch."
Each room in the house is mostly one color in a variety of shades, with another color adding accent. For the living room, which is accessed from the entry foyer, a neutral ivory is used for the walls and furniture, with highlights in gold. The room is small, with high ceilings. Soucie says the Italian light fixture sourced for the space lends a sense of scale.
"The proportion of the living and dining rooms is counterbalanced through ornate light fittings, which hang down overhead and become a feature of the room. The dining room fitting is a stripped-down chandelier by Niermann Weeks. This also adds a hint of formality to a room that is often used for entertaining guests."