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A Pennsylvania Colonial Gets a Breezy Revamp

A Pennsylvania Colonial Gets a Breezy Revamp
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Timeless, uncluttered interiors that incorporate bold, neutral patterns and energetic pops of color are designer Stephanie Kraus’s signature, and this first-story renovation project was no exception. The effect is one that’s founded on tradition but with a modern twist. The result? An idyllic, customized setting for the family, a couple with four children. “They have a very healthy, active lifestyle. They love the outdoors, and they have a beach house where they love to vacation. That’s the spirit that they wanted for their home—a place where they can be comfortable and cozy, where they can watch movies and put their feet up,” says Stephanie.

Crisp updates in the living room include two washable Crypton-upholstered sofas, providing a fresher, cleaner feel than the original sectional that weighed down the space. The versatile Crypton ottoman can be used as a coffee table, a footrest, or extra seating for guests. The navy-and-white ikat design on the rug provides pattern without overwhelming the room. The fireplace, freshened with new moldings and a new white marble surround, was created by Rudloff Custom Builders.

Crisp updates in the living room include two washable Crypton-upholstered sofas, providing a fresher, cleaner feel than the original sectional that weighed down the space. The versatile Crypton ottoman can be used as a coffee table, a footrest, or extra seating for guests. The navy-and-white ikat design on the rug provides pattern without overwhelming the room. The fireplace, freshened with new moldings and a new white marble surround, was created by Rudloff Custom Builders.

The formerly dark living room bookshelf, now painted white and grounded with a cabinet for games and clutter, brightens the room and showcases earthy, natural wovens, woods, and artifacts that add a layer of texture and warmth.

The formerly dark living room bookshelf, now painted white and grounded with a cabinet for games and clutter, brightens the room and showcases earthy, natural wovens, woods, and artifacts that add a layer of texture and warmth.

The 20-year-old house, a typical northeastern Colonial in West Chester, PA, provided Stephanie with a distinct advantage: It was pretty much a blank slate. “The client has excellent taste and had already begun the renovation. It had been a typical builder-grade home, with no professional touch; very beige-y and gold-y, very 15-years-ago, and in need of a refresh,” she says.

The client had already replaced the floors, the moldings, and the millwork, removed all the furniture, and started on a brand-new kitchen. “But then they felt overwhelmed at the scope of the project and struggled with the space planning and all the decisions that needed to be made—everything from furniture and colors to details like the kitchen backsplash,” explains Stephanie, who was hired to pull it all together and deliver the cohesive, balanced feel that the client wanted—from scratch.

The overall aesthetic of the finished space is bright, sunny, and uncluttered, with lots of the client’s favored beachy blues and whites. “I chose a rich, warm blue for the sofa that’s equally inviting in the wintertime, which some blues are not,” notes Stephanie. Organic, natural elements—lots of natural woods and wovens—bring a counterpoint of warmth and texture to the crisp, minimalist palette.

Details throughout the space speak to the family’s active, relaxed lifestyle. All the fabrics and carpets are durable, and most can be wasshed with just soap and water. To keep things versatile and casual in the living room, Stephanie opted for an ottoman instead of a traditional coffee table. “You can use it as a cocktail table, but you can also put your feet up on it when you’re watching TV or pull it up to the sofa to create a daybed of sorts. It just provides so many more options.”

“Younger families are getting away from rigid, formal spaces, and you can see that in this home,” Stephanie says. “Colonials can be very formal and traditional. We wanted this to feel relaxed and casual, yet still refined and tailored. We stayed true to the aesthetic of a Colonial—without being boxed in by its history.”

Because the room faces a wooded area, privacy isn’t a concern. This freed Stephanie to remove the heavy draperies, showcasing the glorious original multipaned windows (and the verdant view). The special engineered wide-plank white oak floors throughout the house will stand up to repeat sanding, providing the option of future restaining.

Because the room faces a wooded area, privacy isn’t a concern. This freed Stephanie to remove the heavy draperies, showcasing the glorious original multipaned windows (and the verdant view). The special engineered wide-plank white oak floors throughout the house will stand up to repeat sanding, providing the option of future restaining.

Opposite one of the living room sofas, a vignette of texture and pattern defines a cozy, welcoming sitting area against the back wall, adjacent to the kitchen.  A pair of rattan chairs flank an hourglass-shape stool/drinks table of natural and black split rattan handwoven over a cast-stone frame. The art—framed mud-cloth-style fabric works—adds warmth, graphic interest, and a tribal touch. As always, plants and woven accents keep the aesthetic warm and natural.

Opposite one of the living room sofas, a vignette of texture and pattern defines a cozy, welcoming sitting area against the back wall, adjacent to the kitchen.  A pair of rattan chairs flank an hourglass-shape stool/drinks table of natural and black split rattan handwoven over a cast-stone frame. The art—framed mud-cloth-style fabric works—adds warmth, graphic interest, and a tribal touch. As always, plants and woven accents keep the aesthetic warm and natural.

Though the clients retained their wood table—“It’s beat up in a good way—four kids!—and full of lots of happy memories,” says Stephanie—they replaced upholstered chairs and a bench with lighter-feeling .woven-rattan chairs. The Darlana chandelier from Visual Comfort adds a touch of elegant simplicity. Eucalyptus plants and color-block jars dipped in white perpetuate the fresh, outdoorsy aesthetic that’s a constant throughout the home.

Though the clients retained their wood table—“It’s beat up in a good way—four kids!—and full of lots of happy memories,” says Stephanie—they replaced upholstered chairs and a bench with lighter-feeling .woven-rattan chairs. The Darlana chandelier from Visual Comfort adds a touch of elegant simplicity. Eucalyptus plants and color-block jars dipped in white perpetuate the fresh, outdoorsy aesthetic that’s a constant throughout the home.

A three-dimensional still life for real life: Bright white artisanal bowls and a crisp, classic tea towel round out the texture and pattern story. “Throughout my design process I always give a great deal of thought to accessories,” Stephanie says. “Accents are among the most important layers in a space; they speak to the vibe of a space and actually help you finish off a room.”

A three-dimensional still life for real life: Bright white artisanal bowls and a crisp, classic tea towel round out the texture and pattern story. “Throughout my design process I always give a great deal of thought to accessories,” Stephanie says. “Accents are among the most important layers in a space; they speak to the vibe of a space and actually help you finish off a room.”

The builder-grade kitchen underwent a complete refresh—from textures to color scheme to furnishings. The new, white, Shaker-style cabinets feature unlacquered brass hardware, echoed in the faucets. A backsplash of subway tiles provides texture and gleam. The quartzite island and counters replace the dated original granite (“which was the latest thing—20 years ago,” notes Stephanie). Comfortable woven-rope seating adds graphic interest and warmth to the predominantly black-and-white palette. The Darlana linear pendant light is from Visual Comfort.

The builder-grade kitchen underwent a complete refresh—from textures to color scheme to furnishings. The new, white, Shaker-style cabinets feature unlacquered brass hardware, echoed in the faucets. A backsplash of subway tiles provides texture and gleam. The quartzite island and counters replace the dated original granite (“which was the latest thing—20 years ago,” notes Stephanie). Comfortable woven-rope seating adds graphic interest and warmth to the predominantly black-and-white palette. The Darlana linear pendant light is from Visual Comfort.

A cluttered understair storage cabinet in the kitchen was opened up, painted white, and fitted with exposed shelving and cabinets—both practical and pleasing.

A cluttered understair storage cabinet in the kitchen was opened up, painted white, and fitted with exposed shelving and cabinets—both practical and pleasing.

Designer Stephanie Kraus

Designer Stephanie Kraus

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