Step Inside a Coastal Home in Norwalk

Renovations to a long-held family property honor the past while embracing the future.
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The living is furnished with Lee Industries sofas, textured Gabby Home side tables and swivel chairs upholstered in Cowtan & Tout’s Tarka fabric, all through from Schwartz Design Showrooms. At the adjacent breakfast table, Palecek chairs wear a Thibaut fabric. Photograph by Hulya Kolabas.

For designer Kimberly Pratt of Kimberly Ann Interiors, this project was a true homecoming. Since starting her business in 2014, she has lent her design eye to waterfront projects all along the East Coast, but this was the first in her hometown. “To get to work on a house on the water in Norwalk was really exciting because it’s such a special place for me personally,” says Pratt.

The project is something of a family affair for the homeowners as well. The couple were downsizing after becoming empty nesters. But before they moved in, the home had belonged to the wife’s mother. “There were already a lot of family memories in this house,” says Pratt, who first met the homeowners when they hired her to renovate their daughter’s place. A few years later, when they were ready to tackle their own renovation project, they knew Pratt was the right designer to help them.

The home is on “The Point” in East Norwalk, with outstanding views of the harbor and Long Island Sound. So while it has serious sentimental value for the couple, the panorama is pretty priceless too. And they wanted to take full advantage. “They wanted to open up the space and have as little blocking the view as possible,” says Pratt. One big step toward that goal was taking down the columns that existed across the back of the house and replacing them with structural beams overhead to create a totally open vista across the back of the house. A deck across the rear of the house already existed, but now the homeowners can enjoy unobstructed views from the inside of their home as well.

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A paneled focal wall adds some texture and earthy color to the space. Photograph by Hulya Kolabas.

When it came to the color palette, using blues and whites that would blend in with the outside “felt like the only thing that made sense,” says Pratt. In addition to pure cobalts and bright whites, she mixed in smokier and earthier tones that felt natural in a New England beach setting. The furniture was chosen with the outside in mind, too. The antique breakfast table’s glass top and blue base melt into the background. The base color is custom, refinished in a Land Rover paint at the client’s own auto-body shop. For the sitting areas, Pratt chose a mix of subtly textured pieces that feel comfortable, elegant and right at home at the beach. Behind a light blue sofa, Pratt hung a paneled wall that is both beautiful and functional. It adds some texture and earthy color to the space— and hides a door to a powder room behind.

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The antique mirror is a family heirloom. Photograph by Hulya Kolabas.

One piece that does draw some attention is the striking mirror in the dining room. Holding pride of place near the home’s main entry, the mirror is a family heirloom that was salvaged from a New York City hotel gut renovation and was always in the space when the wife’s mother lived there.

To embrace this special piece, but maintain the overall casual feel of the space, Pratt looked once again to her Connecticut roots for inspiration. As a Norwalk native, who grew up around the water, “I’ve seen a lot of really cool fishing rods and reels that use mixed metals,” she says. With that in mind, she used brushed nickel hardware in the kitchen, combined with a satin brass light fixture and a stainless steel refrigerator. Against the metallic mix, the smoky blue backsplash pops and pulls it all together.

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In the kitchen, Visual Comfort pendant lights illuminate the island; the custom vent hood is through Aitoro Appliance; and the backsplash tile is through Tile America. Photograph by Hulya Kolabas.

The open kitchen design also includes an oversized island with ample seating for guests. The couple love to entertain their large family, and frequently invite them to the house to cook, relax and spend time together—and of course, to enjoy the view.

The print version of this article appears with the headline: Sight Lines.