A Former Carriage House on the Water

This historic home returns to its classic roots with a fresh new look.

Greenwich Home Kitchen When one longtime Greenwich couple learned their daughter and son-in-law were looking for a house in Darien, they decided to follow suit, trading in their home for a storied place on Long Neck Point. “I’m addicted to Zillow,” the wife says. “One day, while searching for homes for her, I added a couple of zeros just for fun. I saw this beautiful structure and unbelievable view. I thought it would be a great project, perfect for empty nesters and grandbabies.”

Like the area in which it’s set, the Queen Anne house has a lively history. It was built as a carriage house in the 1860s, and changed hands many times over the years, undergoing multiple renovations. It was owned briefly by actor Christopher Plummer, best known as Captain von Trapp in The Sound of Music. By the time the current owners came on the scene, the home had lost much of its charm. “It was very rustic inside,” says the wife. “I am not a rustic person, and I credit Cindy with having the vision and the ability to glam it up.” That would be Cindy Rinfret, the Greenwich-based designer with whom the clients have done multiple projects. In addition to reviving the interiors, they tasked Rinfret with integrating the antiques, artwork and furnishings they have collected over the years, while still maintaining the integrity of the carriage house feel. “She incorporated 98 percent of our belongings,” says the wife. “It immediately felt like home to us and that tickled us pink.”

Before Rinfret worked her design magic, architect Christopher Pagliaro worked his. In addition to taking down some interior walls and moving a staircase, Pagliaro conceived a new corner entry that enhanced the symmetry of the house rather than detracting from it. “The original entry was a little awkward and disorganized, which is why the selection of a new entry point was important,” notes Pagliaro. The turreted addition features walls of glass that create a space that is bright and welcoming.

Rinfret and her senior designer Taylor Lagerloef then sought to bring the house back to its more formal and authentic roots, while lightening the interiors and giving them an airy, waterside feel. “The property was not being honored very well. We wanted to restore the integrity,” says Rinfret. “So we added details that would feel as if they were original to the house.”

The spacious kitchen area was transformed with paint, modified cabinetry and a wood-look porcelain floor. A decorative ceiling panel with three Vaughan fixtures ties back to the other rooms downstairs. The space flows into the family room, which has a mirrored bar at one end that is “outrageous,” says Rinfret. “These clients like to have fun. The house is as happy as can be and they love it.” That’s a sentiment echoed by the wife. “It’s a very fun grandmother’s house. My daughter did end up moving to Darien and she has two babies now. They love to come over and splash on the beach.”

The print version of this article appeared with the headline:Queen Anne Revival.