Published on July 6, 2019

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“All the bathrooms were outdated with ’80s flair—Pepto pink in one of them,” designer Becky Shea recalls of the dire state of this now-breezy home in Port Washington, New York. “The overall energy after we opened everything up made the space feel 10 times bigger and drenched with light.”

Along with expanding the house to make room for a breakfast nook, the project also entailed four full bathroom renovations, building a new kitchen, and adding a mudroom. Shea let the clients’ California roots drive the black, white, and navy color palette. “By the time we got involved, they had the majority of their desired looks saved on Pinterest and turned to me to bring those looks to life with my own spin,” says the designer. 

Ahead, Shea takes us inside the design of this modern farmhouse. 

Never Underestimate the Power of Good Built-Ins

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Shea and her team kicked off the project by opening up the galley kitchen and carving out a spot for a row of built-in cubbies where the clients’ two little ones could drop their backpacks, shoes, and other everyday gear. Wherever possible, they opted for custom millwork to maximize the family’s storage space. Wide floorboards in a chevron pattern complete the look. 

Black and White Are Classics for a Reason

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“The clients were afraid of black when we first got started, my tried-and-true signature. Now everything is black! Plates, bowls, silverware—it makes me so happy when people lean into a style or detail you knew they’d love to begin with,” shares Shea. 

“Adding these tiny details really helped achieve that modern farmhouse vibe.”

In the kitchen, the industrial pendant lights over the island and round breakfast table pop against the all-white cabinetry and marble subway tile backsplash. “Adding these tiny details really helped achieve that modern farmhouse feel, without leaning too far into the Cali vibe.”

Indulge Your Guilty Pleasures 

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In the first-floor powder room—a space which, before the renovation, did not exist—Shea went navy but kept the overall design similarly clean with white paneling and all-marble flooring.“I always run through each case scenario for the bathroom with a client: Is this a bathroom for guests? For you and your husband? For your kids? Asking these questions in the beginning will help define a road map in terms of what materials should be used,” says Shea. In low-traffic areas like this one, pricier stones such as marble will hold up over time. 

“All the bathrooms were outdated with ’80s flair—Pepto pink in one of them.”

Double-Check Your Lines

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While the kids’ bathrooms now nicely coincide with the rest of the home’s crisp aesthetic, it wasn’t always that way. “When I stepped foot into the boy’s bathroom upstairs, I knew immediately that the shiplap had to be completely redone,” Shea recalls. “None of the lines matched up, there were splinters poking out from certain panels…it was awful.” Luckily, the second go-round was a success. From start to finish, the whole remodel took a little over a year to complete. With the home’s new abundance of natural light and pared-back color palette, you’d never guess where it all began. 

This story was originally published on July 4, 2018. It has been updated. 

Tour more farmhouse-inspired homes: 
Inside a Modern Monochromatic Farmhouse Built From the Ground Up
A Renovated Farmhouse, Draped in Cozy, Colorful Textiles
We’d Call This Home a Modern Farmhouse…But It’s So Much More

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