We’re Painting Our Ceiling Black Thanks to This Pre-War Home
A family’s Connecticut house defies its historical roots.
Updated Sep 29, 2021 7:27 AM
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The prospect of redesigning an entire 4,500-square-foot home in under two months is daunting, to say the least. Couple this timeline with the fact that the home is an older one, built in 1906, and the project gets exponentially trickier to maneuver.
Luckily, Shelly Lynch-Sparks and her team work well under pressure. The founder and principal of Hyphen & Co. gave the storied house, situated in Greenwich, Connecticut, a complete modern revamp with new paint, furniture, lighting, and wallpaper. The clients, a family of four escaping New York City’s West Village for the ’burbs, were closely involved in every step—and the end result looks anything but rushed.
“Our clients purchased this home with every intention of making it their own,” explains Lynch-Sparks, who says the aim was to modernize the space without detracting from its original charm. “Color, pattern, and texture were the lead contenders in the design overhaul. Our clients weren’t afraid to use bold colors to bring life into each room.”
When confronted with such a big makeover in a relatively short span of time, it helps to have clients who are willing to take risks. It’s how one ends up with statement-making moments like an emerald green dining room or a matte black ceiling in the kitchen. “We were apprehensive about featuring black in the kitchen ceiling since we were drawn to traditional bright and soothing neutral tones, but we are thrilled with the outcome,” says Shayna, the client. “The unexpected ceiling is surprisingly warm and inviting, creating the perfect center of our family home.”
Those more modern moments beautifully play off the older features. The original moldings of the pre-war home remain intact, and offsetting graphic prints and contemporary metals accents.
The family brought a few pieces over from their West Village digs, including some antiques. If the team’s goal of blending old and new could be exemplified in one item, it would be the sofa—originally a vintage fixture that was reupholstered with printed Ralph Lauren fabric by Stitch Room to change the look entirely. That Frankenstein of a sofa is now the focal point of the living room, both grounding the space with its unique style and complementing the earthy color palette.
See how Lynch-Sparks tackled some of the other standout moments in the home, below.
On the emerald green dining room…
We went through every room together with the paint swatches, and for the most part our palette was neutral. But when we got downstairs, Shayna looked at me and said, “let’s go for it down here”. We picked out the green together (Benjamin Moore’s “Hunter Green”). We’ve never had a client make a decision that quickly when it comes to bold paint colors. That space is an absolute showstopper.
On the fun wallpaper moments around the home…
Our clients wanted to make sure their home was personable and also celebrated who they are as a family. They like to have fun and wanted their home to encompass that energy and memory in each space.
On that cool mirror backsplash…
This little room is the library bar connected to the living room; it’s a small office during the day, and a quaint library cocktail bar in the evening, perfect for a nite cap. The mirror opens up the small space while still keeping the charm of the dark interior.
On the black kitchen ceiling…
Black was a neutral accent that we carried through many rooms. The entry—a black and white Cole and Sons wallpaper—leads into the kitchen, so we wanted to find a unique way to bring the contrast from the wallpaper into the space. We were looking to add drama to the space and do something a bit unexpected, while commemorating the wallpaper in the entry and the new art in the kitchen.
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