Look Inside a Stylish and Colorful Darien Home
Purchased in late 2019, this home was renovated just in time.
Sometimes, timing really is everything. When a couple with two young children bought this Darien home in late 2019, they had no idea what a serendipitous move it would turn out to be: Renovations were complete and they moved in just before the Covid-19 lockdown hit.
Initially, pre-pandemic, the family was drawn to the overall layout and great backyard of the Darien home. “The rooms and the setup of the house just seemed to fit our family—space for a gym, study room for the kids, private office for Dad and en-suite guest area,” says the wife. “We decided to do a limited amount of structural changes and wanted to decorate our home in a modern, warm and inviting way.
In our old home, we did a small amount of decorating but mostly just threw things together, so we felt this was our first time to really do it right.” Enter interior designer Fiona Leonard of Darien-based Fiona Leonard Interiors. “My client wanted to refresh the existing home and make it livable and lovable for their young family,” says Leonard. The process of working together turned out to be seamless. “We absolutely loved working with Fiona, who was familiar with the builder and his subcontractors, which made it much easier to bring things to life,” says the homeowner. “Fiona was great about hearing our thoughts and manifesting those into actual design aesthetics.”
First up was reconfiguring underused spaces. “The entrance from the garage led to a maze of spaces that didn’t function for an active sporty family,” says the designer. “So, we opened it up and created a dream mudroom.” The adjacent pantry was created by transforming an outdated bar area.
Organization and storage were top of mind when planning the mudroom. Leonard designed a mix of open and closed storage that includes a spot to hang jackets and a place to store backpacks and sports equipment. She even set aside space for a tech closet. “The room is largely angular, so we decided to soften the space with a round mirror,” says Leonard. “The herringbone floors were a request from the client. Bonus is that the tile floor is heated—no cold toes when taking off winter boots.”
Although the kitchen was gutted, the layout of the Darien home remained the same. Changes include a larger island, updated cabinets and durable surface materials like the Caesarstone countertops. “My client and her family don’t live far from the water, and they vacation on the Cape every summer,” says Leonard. “I think they wanted to bring a little bit of that vacation feeling into this space. We looked to local artist Kelly Rosetti for the perfect piece in the kitchen to remind them of sunny summer days.”
Above the breakfast table area, a whimsical sputnik-style chandelier delivers a youthful vibe. “Lighting can really elevate a project. I often tell my clients to push outside of their comfort zone with lighting. Safe lighting choices can often feel dated,” explains Leonard. The designer was able to warm things up in the dining room with a brass chandelier by Circa Lighting and then wrapped the room in an indigo wallpaper.
Breaking the home’s primarily blue-and-white palette, the living room introduces various warm tones and playful patterns and textures. “While almost all of the furniture is new, our client wanted to reuse the sofa and chairs from their old home. It was a lot of fun to marry these items with their new aesthetic,” says Leonard.
In the lower-level, it was time to ditch outdated paneling and install a wall of built-in cabinets, stylish shiplap and a new bar area. “This family space has been a saving grace during Covid,” notes Leonard.
The final outcome exceeded the homeowners’ expectations. “We moved at the start of the pandemic and were unaware that we would be spending so much time inside the home,” says the homeowner. “But even after a year, we still feel it is new and exciting.”
The print version of this article appears with the headline: Perfect Timing.
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