A Former Sea Captain’s Home

An 1800s house is updated with a neutral and balanced look.
Family living room with couches, dining table and blue accents

Photography by George Ross

For a young couple in search of a weekend house, this former sea captain’s home in Essex ticked all the boxes. Built in the 1800s on property with a river view, the five-bedroom home has good bones—it just needed a significant refresh.

The couple envisioned a bright, modern interior while maintaining the structure’s historical integrity. To achieve their goal, they hired Fairfield architect Jack Franzen of J.P. Franzen Associates Architects, Buttendorf Building & Remodeling, and Rowayton-based designer Claire Miner of Denemede, with whom they had worked on their Tribeca loft.

When it came to the interior design, everyone agreed the wrought-iron fixtures, flouncy jabots, and cranberry and yellow walls had to go. “I don’t care for bright colors and patterns,” says Case. “I gravitate to neutrals. I like to keep things in balance.” She also wanted to incorporate as much wood, stone and metal as possible. “I love that organic feel,” she adds.

kitchen with white cabinets and wood and brass accents with wood floors.

Photography by George Ross

With that in mind, Miner did an artful job of introducing color in subtle but effective ways, combining custom pieces—many of which were sourced through WorkOf—with antiques, and layering in textural details throughout. In the light-filled kitchen, the walls and ceiling sport Farrow and Ball’s Pointing, which serves as the perfect backdrop for the white oak-topped chef’s table and custom island.

white large home

Photography by George Ross

“I love to sit here and think of the stories the sea captain told when he came back from his adventures,” says Case, “and the stories that will be told here in the years to come.”

A print version of this article appeared with the headline: Natural Treasure