A Westport Home Built for an Active Family

A contemporary and fresh home for a family of five.
Westport 001

Photography by Tony Soluri

When a couple decided to start from the ground up instead of renovating their Westport property, they knew exactly whom to call. Having completed a project—an apartment in Chicago—for them previously, Chicago–based Steve Kadlec, of Kadlec Architecture + Design, was top of the homeowners’ list. “Our previous home had been much more traditional colonial clapboard, and now that we had the opportunity to start from scratch it was very exciting to get something that we wanted,” says the homeowner. “My vision was something that would still be appropriate for a New England setting, but feel contemporary, fresh and comfortable for a family with three boys.”

Kadlec came on board after the couple had hired Connecticut–based, architect-led, design-build firm Vita Design Group. “Vita Design had done the layout and exterior elevations, and we tweaked some of the planning and specified the interior finishes and millwork details,” explains Kadlec. “We had done contemporary for the client in Chicago, and they liked that and wanted to avoid some of the trappings of an East Coast home without it being out of place.” While the exterior of the home has a distinct East Coast vibe, the interior shifts to a more contemporary feel. Details like door profiles and trimwork have all the elements of a traditional home but are rendered in a simple way, so that it seems less fussy and ornate. A limited color palette allows rooms to flow quietly from one to another, while varied textures and materials add depth and warmth.

Westport 008

Photography by Tony Soluri

“It’s a fairly large home and a very active household,” notes Kadlec. “They wanted it to be gracious, easy and accommodating, but contemporary and fresh.” Stone floors are used on a good portion of the ground floor transitioning to wood in the living room; warm whites were used on many walls with deeper tones in certain rooms—details that present a more casual, contemporary vibe.

The kitchen and double-height family room have a decidedly more casual feel. “In the summer months, this becomes a true indoor-outdoor house, with this as the hub,” says Kadlec. Attention to small details is apparent in every inch: Picture rail trim that runs around the space matches the nosing of the wood floor on the second floor, while simple painted paneling creates a feeling of intimacy. “Double-height spaces left unattended are vast wastelands of space,” he says. “This was the balance for that.”

“The great thing about this house is that there are so many different spaces that you can enjoy at different times,” says the client. “I like things to be neat and orderly, but I want a place where people feel at home. The finished product is warm and comfortable, yet sophisticated, and that’s exactly what I was looking for—fresh and contemporary but without feeling cold. That goes beyond time, period and region. It’s classic.

The print version of this article appeared with the headline: Repeat Performance.