Step Inside a Colorful Hastings-on-Hudson Home

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Interior designer Maureen Footer has an impeccable reputation for decorating with the finer things. A connoisseur of 18th-century French architecture and furniture (she boasts a graduate degree from the École de Louvre), Footer is known for her elegant, inviting and antiques-filled interiors. Naturally, her clients are accustomed to her signature high-end, luxe look. When her current clients, a husband and wife with homes in New York City and Maine, wanted to live closer to their child’s school in Westchester, they purchased a 1914 Arts & Crafts home in Hastings-on-Hudson. But they didn’t want it to be as grand or traditional as their other properties. Footer readily accepted the challenge.

From the start, this was a departure from her usual projects. The house, for instance, with its low-slung porch, cozy rooms and chestnut moldings, was not of the vernacular style Footer is accustomed to. “The clients wanted the space to be fun and fresh while keeping the essence of the architecture” says Footer. “And since they are so typically traditional and shy away from color, this was a great opportunity to take a different approach.”

The challenge was getting the mix just right. “They didn’t want another house full of antiques, but they both have highly cultivated and diverse tastes,” notes the designer. “So it had to be something they were still comfortable with.” Using a well-edited combination of online and catalog finds, along with some choice big-ticket splurges—antique rugs and accessories, hand-blocked prints, custom window treatments—she created a warm and inviting home the family could enjoy during the school year.

One of the family’s favorite spaces, the porch, offers magnificent views of the Hudson and sets the tone for the entire interior. Footer used the era of the house as her guide and chose wicker furniture with a honey finish topped with spicy red cushions. The warmth from the porch is echoed throughout the home. In the living room, Footer focused on the fireplace. “I wanted to retain the coziness of the chestnut trim, but lighten it up and keep it from feeling dark or gloomy,” she says. Parchment walls create an elegant backdrop for a Lee Jofa hand-block print, antique Moroccan rug and spoon-back chair upholstered in bright yellow for a punch of color. “These clients don’t usually depart from a neutral scheme, so I really used this house as a lab for experimenting with color,” notes Footer.

And use color she did. It’s evident in the dining room’s blue and white geometric repeat on the chairs and bright Iznik plates displayed against a shock of red on the walls. The sitting room boasts an Iranian rug with bold spice tones accented with a bright green chair. The attic playroom, however, is where Footer had the most fun. She transformed the space into a bold color-blocked play space for the clients’ son. Bright orange walls flank a red sofa (orange and red are his favorite colors). A green garden stool adds another shot of color, while a playful Pindler & Pindler suzani print on the pillows and window treatment ties it all together. “I’ve never used color-blocking with such typically clashing colors in such a powerful way as with these clients,” says Footer. “For them it was an immense departure. For me, it was a fun way to try out some new ideas.” It was an experiment that worked, apparently, as she is already starting on another project for the homeowners in New York City. The clients’ request? A little more color than usual.

A version of this article appeared in the October 2011 issue of CTC&G (Connecticut Cottages & Gardens) with the headline: Color Lab.