A Modern Farmhouse Receives a Renovation for Casual Living
Bring in the wine and spaghetti sauce.
During the renovation of her Rowayton residence, interior designer/homeowner Kathy Lozier recalls insisting on including a huge pocket door in the opening of a newly created den. “I really can’t explain why I thought it was so important, but I had to have it,” says Lozier, the principal of Blythe Designs.
When the pandemic hit and two of her three grown offspring moved home—one of them immediately claiming the den as her personal remote office—that sliding door turned out to be a lifesaver. “It was meant to be a place where I could go read or watch a movie and suddenly there was a desk and a Peloton in there,” Lozier shares with a laugh. “Thank goodness I could close the door.”
It was 2016 when Lozier made the decision to downsize and move from the family home she had built with her husband in 2001. The couple had barely been through the decorating phase when her husband passed away quite suddenly, leaving Lozier to raise their brood on her own. All those years later, when a modern farmhouse with good bones and a welcoming front porch caught her eye, she contacted architect Neil Hauck, who designed her previous residence, to help with the heavy lifting. “There were things about the existing plan that didn’t work for her lifestyle,” explains Hauck.
Noting local zoning setback restrictions and a very tight site, Hauck had no choice but to work within the existing footprint, and the transformation started with enclosing a porch on the back of the house. “That allowed us to create a small office, decent powder room, and to expand the family room,” explains Hauck, who used the extended square footage below to accomplish the bedroom program above.
Cosmetic changes to the exterior—like new windows with painted charcoal sashes, square columns replacing existing round ones, and a refreshed red-cedar-shingle roof—enhanced the classic farmhouse look. “The form didn’t change,” Hauck says. “We just put a new set of clothes on it.”
Similarly inside, all the original trimwork made way for more substantial moldings, built-in shelving and cabinetry, all of the architect’s design. “When you get Neil involved, all of a sudden you have four-inch moldings,” says Lozier. “He is such a purist.” Examples of his craftsmanship are evident everywhere from the mudroom to the master bedroom. In the mudroom, the shiplap siding is exactly aligned with the door casings while the crown molding integrates perfectly with the bed cabinetry in the master.
The inclusion of a coffered ceiling in the kitchen was Lozier’s idea, as were the floating shelves, two-inch-thick Danby marble counters, and the marble backsplash tile. About the latter she says, “The tile is the strongest thing in the room, and I was attracted to the various shades of gray.” Those soft dove tones emerged as part of a pastel palette that includes a cream-colored sofa clad in a textured nubby linen and whispers of blue linen on the reupholstered chairs in the den, and the palest of lavender grasscloth on the master bedroom walls. “I like soft colors and natural fibers,” she adds.
In nonpandemic years, the kitchen and family room are the activity hubs, and durable fabrics on the clean-lined sectional and armchairs were natural choices. “People should be able to eat and bring a glass of wine in there and not worry about anything,” says Lozier.
Her low-maintenance attitude carried over to the outdoor living rooms, where she worked with Oliver Nurseries to replace the lawn with easy-to-care-for hardscaping and a few planting beds. “I wanted the interiors and outside spaces to reflect my casual lifestyle,” she adds. “The house has so much more personality than it did when I first walked in here. It really is mine.”
The print version of this article appears with the headline: A Home of Her Own.
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