A Home with a View

By Natalie Weinstein

Over the years, I have been privileged to work for many lovely people with great homes, but this project will stand out in my mind as one of the best cooperative experiences with a homeowner - and a house that has it all. Recently purchased, this 8,500 square foot North Shore home with a view of Connecticut on a clear day, boasts a lady of the house who knows what she wants and a husband who trusts her to get the job done right with professional help. They were a good team. She was in charge of the interior, while he was in charge of the exterior.

Taking very little from their former home, our client mandated a well-designed furniture layout for her multigenerational family’s needs and a common sense approach to design. While only two people permanently live in this large, yet warm and inviting home, the children and grandchildren who live close by visit often, and those out of state visit periodically. In addition, a special needs bed and bath suite on the main floor was constructed for elderly parents’ visits.

Taking very little from their former home, our client mandated a well-designed furniture layout for her multigenerational family’s needs and a common sense approach to design. While only two people permanently live in this large, yet warm and inviting home, the children and grandchildren who live close by visit often, and those out of state visit periodically. In addition, a special needs bed and bath suite on the main floor was constructed for elderly parents’ visits.

The entry reveals a large scale open space which was originally the living room and dining room. Because the homeowners love to read, a library was created in the place of the original dining room, and the living room became the large dining room for a family who uses it often for entertaining. This two story space was challenging to design but also provided a spectacular panoramic view of the back yard and Long Island Sound.

Adding a large scale fireplace surround and a pair of storage built-ins to the fireplace wall balanced the two story window which became the perfect vehicle for etched glass artist Pedro Godinez to work his magic. Intrigued by the photo artist Jack Ader’s waterfall giclees which flank a vintage Art Nouveau bar, he created his own version of a waterfall, etched and painted in golds and silvers.

The kitchen/family room is truly the hub of the house and was designed to be comfortable and practical. A custom dining table was built by Ultimate Styles of America and the swivel chairs are actually redesigned counter stools which the client loved. The diverse art from Marlin Art Galleries along with existing pieces, once again reflects the homeowners’ eclectic taste.

With four grandchildren under five, a “children’s room” was envisioned. Family photos surround custom cabinetry by Ultimate

Styles to rival any preschool environment. From fuzzy animal chairs to riding toys, to an upright piano to accompany a marching band, this room enables adults to have fun watching kids having fun! Just beyond is an enclosed octagonal all weather room, a perfect place to start or end the day, enjoying the beauty of nature.

The still huge master bedroom was down-sized to accommodate a full sized walk in closet for “her.” While repurposing the existing bedroom furniture and seating, a new inlaid marquetry desk was added, as was a custom vanity in the master bath. Outside the master bedroom, adjacent to the guest wing, is a cozy seating area where Grandma and Grandpa can read with their grandchildren or have a quiet play time. The three guest rooms in this wing are for adults and kids. The fourth guest/exercise room and office are on the opposite side of the house overlooking the dining room. Three separate staircases allow access to these individual spaces with a full upstairs laundry room located in the center.

One would think that with six bathrooms and seven bedrooms, the house would feel overwhelming and ostentatious, but each space is comfortable and inviting as a result of a down-to-earth homeowner’s collaboration with her design team.

Here’s what she had to say about the experience:

“After 40 years in our home, I never expected to move to a larger house! Family dictated the change with grown children, their spouses, grandchildren, elderly parents and a large array of various relatives and friends coming for visits, sometimes weeks at a time, we needed more space.

Excitement and determination were quickly followed by anxiety and a sense of being overwhelmed. Natalie Weinstein and her team had been recommended and she was able to calm my fears. She guided me through the renovations, furnishing and accessorizing. At first we did lock horns a few times but after a short time of trial and error, we developed a respect for each other’s visions and opinions, which is what led to our complementary effort.

“Natalie taught me about lines and beauty and art – more than two college art classes had ever done! She guided me through furnishing and accessorizing and seemed to know everyone and everywhere to find what we needed. We were treated with the utmost respect and helpfulness, which actually made shopping, a chore I dislike immensely, very pleasant and even fun!

“Natalie was the one to envision the space and how it should look, which for the life of me I could not picture. In turn, I taught her about my family’s needs and our priorities and the practicality of our daily living which needed to take precedent. In the end we all agreed – Natalie had created a beautiful house and I had made it our home.”

The entry reveals a large scale open space which was originally the living room and dining room. Because the homeowners love to read, a library was created in the place of the original dining room, and the living room became the large dining room for a family who uses it often for entertaining. This two story space was challenging to design but also provided a spectacular panoramic view of the back yard and Long Island Sound.

Adding a large scale fireplace surround and a pair of storage built-ins to the fireplace wall balanced the two story window which became the perfect vehicle for etched glass artist Pedro Godinez to work his magic. Intrigued by the photo artist Jack Ader’s waterfall giclees which flank a vintage Art Nouveau bar, he created his own version of a waterfall, etched and painted in golds and silvers.

The kitchen/family room is truly the hub of the house and was designed to be comfortable and practical. A custom dining table was built by Ultimate Styles of America and the swivel chairs are actually redesigned counter stools which the client loved. The diverse art from Marlin Art Galleries along with existing pieces, once again reflects the homeowners’ eclectic taste.

With four grandchildren under five, a “children’s room” was envisioned. Family photos surround custom cabinetry by Ultimate

Styles to rival any preschool environment. From fuzzy animal chairs to riding toys, to an upright piano to accompany a marching band, this room enables adults to have fun watching kids having fun! Just beyond is an enclosed octagonal all weather room, a perfect place to start or end the day, enjoying the beauty of nature.

The still huge master bedroom was down-sized to accommodate a full sized walk in closet for “her.” While repurposing the existing bedroom furniture and seating, a new inlaid marquetry desk was added, as was a custom vanity in the master bath. Outside the master bedroom, adjacent to the guest wing, is a cozy seating area where Grandma and Grandpa can read with their grandchildren or have a quiet play time. The three guest rooms in this wing are for adults and kids. The fourth guest/exercise room and office are on the opposite side of the house overlooking the dining room. Three separate staircases allow access to these individual spaces with a full upstairs laundry room located in the center.