Tour a 1920s Country Cottage Infused With Eclectic Decor

Flushed with light, this Rowayton home glistens with worldwide treasures.
wood floors and cabinetry in kitchen; tile backsplash and island

Photographs by Ellen McDermott

Dupre Cochran was on a mission. After spending nearly 40 years in a spacious colonial farmhouse in New Canaan, she was ready for a reset. “After my husband died, I needed a change,” she says. DuPre found the change she sought in coastal Rowayton, where she fell in love with a 1920s stucco cottage with beautiful light and water views. “My house was so dark and isolated,” she notes. “Here, I can sit at my desk all day and stare at the river.”

The house in question was “quaint and cozy with a French country cottage feel” adds interior designer Peyton Cochran, DuPre’s oldest daughter, who guided the top-to-bottom makeover. “It was brighter and cheerier than what she was accustomed to, and it had a history to it, which she loved.” Initial plans called for a modest renovation, but before construction could start, the house had to be raised five feet due to FEMA regulations. In the process, “we decided to design the house my mother wanted from the ground up.” 

framed artwork in guest bedroom; wall sconce and twin beds dressed with green quilts

Photographs by Ellen McDermott

DuPre enlisted the help of her longtime friend Louise Brooks and her firm Brooks & Falotico. High on DuPre’s wish list—space enough for entertaining, a large kitchen (she is an accomplished cook) and room for overnight guests. The architect reworked the flow of the house, slightly expanding the footprint, and adding a third floor and an attached garage, each with its own guest suite.

The open-floor plan of this country cottage is warm and inviting with high ceilings, and wide-plank oak floors that were refinished by Stephen Gamble. “We used reclaimed wood to add that patina and comfortable feel that she loves,” says Louise. “Halfway through the construction, we added a glass conservatory dining room where an exterior terrace was planned.”

When it came time for the interiors, Peyton took her cue from her mother’s eclectic sense of style and their mutual love of finding and collecting things. “Every room in this house reflects her colorful, artistic and Southern personality, drawing from years of family travel to beach and mountain houses in the Carolinas and in St. Croix,” explains Peyton. 

Much of the décor consists of family heirlooms and mementos from her travels that have “taken on a completely new life in this airy, light and neutral background.” Peyton and her mother spent hours scouring antiques stores, repurposing old fabrics and introducing modern elements into the mix. “My mother loves a good story,” says Peyton, “and in this case, each room has a story to tell.”

Nowhere is this more evident than in the kitchen, where the story of this country cottage begins with a vintage range hood. “I just loved the look of it,” DuPre says. “I had to have it.” The hood’s warm pewter patina drove the rest of the design, including the custom hardware and quartz countertops, the open shelving and the oak floors and cabinetry. “The vintage weathered wood and exposed beams are really reminiscent of Pawleys Island for us,” says the designer. 

Similarly, the Oyster chandelier in the conservatory was another must-have. “It reflects her bubbly personality,” Peyton says. Six dining chairs are covered in a mix of jewel-tone and animal-print fabrics, and the table is topped in a faux purple shagreen. The overall effect is both whimsical and elegant. “It’s a room that my mother really enjoys,” adds Peyton. “It’s become a bigger entertaining space for her, which she loves to do a lot.” 

floral painting, bed, and Roman shades in primary bedroom

Photographs by Ellen McDermott

The mood changes slightly in the living room where a Lee Jofa sofa and a pair of Chris Upholstery swivel chairs provide a quiet backdrop for a few key pieces, such as the bleached teak coffee table and clamshell-topped side table. Here a contemporary artwork has pride of place over the fireplace. “It’s very eclectic—a lot of neutral and great pockets of color, just like the house,” says Peyton. “As much as my mother gravitates to color, she also like calm and serene. It’s one of the reasons she moved to Rowayton.” 

The print version of this article appears with the headline: A New Chapter.
Subscribe to C&G