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.
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.”