Tour a Greenwich Home Designed with Kid-Friendly Touches
When Kate and Jim Clark married in 2013, they bought a large center hall Colonial in Greenwich for their newly blended family of five children and two dogs. “It was a fresh start for both of us,” recalls Kate, former head of product development for Johnnie-O clothing. “No one had to move into anyone’s room; everyone got their own space. It was a very happy experience.” Built as a spec house in 2006, and beautifully sited on 2.5 acres of land, the home had good bones and a nice, open layout, especially the kitchen/family room area in the back. “It was a well-planned house with great storage,” she says. “We just needed to lighten it up and change colors. I wanted everything to feel clean and livable, but not so modern you couldn’t figure out how to sit on a couch.”
To help them achieve their vision, they turned to Greenwich-based designer Graham Veysey. “The minute they saw it, they knew it was their home,” says Veysey. “It just wasn’t their aesthetic. Fortunately, they were able to see past what wasn’t their style.” That meant looking beyond the knotty pine walls in the office, dark-wood paneling in the basement, green marble countertops in the kitchen, and a color palette that ran to reds, greens and yellows.
The Clarks wanted more contemporary elements without detracting from the home’s traditional lines. Architectural changes were minimal—gutting the master bathroom, and removing a dark wood bar in the pub-like basement that was floating in the center of the room. In its place, Veysey designed a party kitchen with a large island and installed a media room, pool table and space for the kids to play video games.
To keep the overall feeling light and airy, the designer stayed with neutrals—lots of gray, taupe and white—adding accent colors and textures throughout. Furnishings are both comfortable and stylish—even the more traditional pieces have a modern twist. First step: Replace the kitchen’s green marble countertops with white statuary marble. Next, paint all walls and trim a crisp decorator white and add stainless steel hardware to the cabinets. The globe pendants above the island are a statement-making touch; vintage bar stools are covered in a cornflower-blue, python-print ultrasuede that pops against the all-white background.
In the family room, with its double-height ceilings, the supersized sectional can handle a crowd, which is key, especially during football season. The couch sports Ikat-print accent pillows, while a Nobilis geometric jacquard print covers a pair of cozy club chairs, and a custom glass and rift-sawn oak coffee table anchors a pair of blue leather ottomans. “They’re virtually indestructible and totally versatile,” says Veysey. “I love hide. It’s so durable.” A goatskin rug beneath the dining room table is an unexpected counterpoint to the high-drama purple lacquered walls and silver-leafed ceiling. “Kate wanted to go bold in the dining room,” says Veysey. “We left no stone unturned. To me powder rooms and dining rooms are where you can have fun because you don’t have to live in them every day.”
The mood changes in the living room, where the designer used grays accented with blues and pinks to create a cool, sophisticated setting with subtle gray on the walls, pale gray silk drapes, a pair of 1940s-style chairs covered in gray velvet with blue piping, an accent chair done in an abstract white- and pink-houndstooth print, a polished stainless steel coffee table and a floating stainless steel shelf. “She wanted to have a room with a more luxurious feel to it,” says Veysey. “What I love about Kate is she’s not afraid to take chances.”
“We don’t use this room every day,” adds Kate. “But it is my grown-up room. It’s the one without the toys and clutter; the room that looks how I would live my life if I could.”
A version of this article appeared in the January 2016 issue of Connecticut Cottages & Gardens with the headline: Party of Seven.