An extensive and sensitive renovation, which was also chronicled in the 36th season of the This Old House TV show, now shows off the home’s Victorian roots, and has infused it with some contemporary design elements for a fresh and elegant look.
Houzz at a Glance
Who lives here: A couple and their two young children
Location: Belmont, Massachusetts
Size: About 3,200 square feet (297.2 square meters); four bedrooms, 3½ bathrooms
BEFORE: The original exterior of the home, called the Amos-Taylor House, looked more bland than grand. Its once-wide front porch had been downgraded to a small front entry porch, and while it still had its shingle and clapboard siding, it was painted a lackluster gray.
Aside from its exterior, the home needed work inside.
The stained glass windows at the landing are original to the home and are now visible from the foyer. Also original are the parquet floors, front door and wood trim around the doors and windows. New paneled wainscoting, and two new posts made to match the existing post on the landing, add warmth and character.
The project’s interior designer, Amanda Reid, says the foyer’s elegant soft gray-lilac wall color was chosen for continuity, picking up hues from the adjacent living and dining rooms. The color continues up the stairway to the second-floor hallway and third-floor office.
Opposite the entry door, Reid selected a bold lacquer console table to pick up the deeper blues in the artwork. An antique chandelier was sourced by the homeowners.
Console table: Chelsea Textiles; rug: Landry & Arcari; artwork: Along the Shore by Laurence Young
The homeowners wanted this space to have a degree of elegance since it’s so visible from the entry. (Plus, the kids have a sizable playroom upstairs.) All the fabrics have been treated with a stain-resistant finish.
The homeowners found the stained glass window years ago and had architect Mathew Cummings work it into the plan. Yellow in the window inspired the sunny-hued furnishing accents.
Reid warmed up the cool hues with clean-lined pieces in gold and brass, and highlighted gilded details in the plaster ceiling medallions. She says it’s how the medallions originally looked.
The homeowners sourced a period fireplace mantel to replace the original that was missing. They also added a new stone slab surround. They chose a wool and silk Persian-style carpet with distressing to mimic gentle wear.
Wall paint: Alaskan Husky 1479, Benjamin Moore; drapery: Fabrika, using Indian Arbre fabric in Hyacinth by Schumacher; gray sofa: by Lee Industries, from Grand Rapids Furniture; rug: Landry & Arcari; coffee table: Gold Leaf collection, Wisteria; armchairs: Lee Industries, in Kravet fabric; demilune table: Arteriors Home; Kapila table lamp: Aerin collection for Visual Comfort
Wall paint: Newburyport Blue HC-155, Benjamin Moore; dining chairs: Vintage French Square collection, Restoration Hardware; rug: Landry & Arcari; chandelier: Currey & Co.; sideboard: Grand Siècle, Grange
Granite countertops and a matching farmhouse sink contrast the 8-foot-long marble island top.
Going old-school underfoot, the designer brought in a traditional canvas floor cloth custom-made in Vermont; it provides color and is durable and low-maintenance. (It can be mopped!) Reid says she went with a simple design of white and yellow stripes because she had planned to use a patterned fabric on the chair, and because both homeowners had grown up with yellow kitchens, “so it was a sentimental selection,” she says.
A built-in walnut-topped cabinet behind the table, shown here on the left, divides the kitchen eating area from the mudroom extension, which serves as an organization center. It provides one storage cubby for each family member for hats and gloves, as well as tech items like phones and iPads.
Wall paint: Beacon Gray 2128-60, Benjamin Moore; cabinets: Wood-Mode; island countertop: Calacatta marble; backsplash: 2-by-4-inch subway tile in Danube with crackle finish, The Winchester Tile Co.; floor cloth: Lisa Curry Mair of Canvasworks; pendant lights: Cisco Brothers
The marble vanity top was originally in the kids’ bathroom. The team had it cleaned and edged, and had the disk-shaped backsplash cut from a rectangular backsplash to echo the organic wallpaper pattern.
The homeowners wanted to include their existing king-size bed, and because it ate up a lot of the floor space, opportunities for additional furnishings were limited. To make the bedroom feel more special, Reid hired artist Pauline Curtiss of Patina Designs to paint a custom-stenciled pattern on the headboard wall.
The design nods to the Victorian era, inspired by damask, which was popular during the period. However, Reid says, “we scaled it up and used toned-down muted colors for an updated look.”
Wall paint: Silver Bells 1458, Benjamin Moore; rug: Landry & Arcari; coverlet: Matouk; throw pillow fabric: Kandira in Ash and Bellini silk in Wisteria, Schumacher; linen armchair: Mitchell Gold + Bob WIlliams; Roman shades: The Shade Store
The claw-foot tub is original to the house, but was moved from the kids’ bathroom and refurbished. Reid painted the exterior deep purple and had the feet replated in nickel to match the plumbing and lighting fixtures. There’s also a roomy shower — a portion of its sunken curb is visible on the lower left side of this photo.
Classic Carrara marble in a honed finish was used for the floor, shower and vanity countertop. The marble was installed in a herringbone pattern on the shower floor and vanity backsplash for added visual interest.
Tub paint: Shadow 2117-30, Benamin Moore; tub refinishing: The Tub Doctors; vanity: Kohler; beveled mirrors: Pottery Barn; sconce: Visual Comfort, via Wolfers Lighting
Most of the pieces were existing. Exceptions are the Roman shade, the vintage bergère and microsuede-covered ottoman. “The shade fabric is a focal point and was selected early on,” Reid says. “It’s cheerful, colorful and whimsical, so nice for a child but can easily grow with her.”
“At first I thought black and white was a bit boring for a kids’ bath, but as I began developing the design, I worked in colors in other ways — green shower curtain rod, green glass vanity pulls, towels, step stool and fresh green wall paint above the beadboard,” Reid says. “So it’s refreshing and fun for kids, but the core elements are still white and black. The green could easily and inexpensively be changed to another color in the future, so it’s a very versatile design.”
Vanity top: honed black granite; shower curtain: Serena & Lily
The living room on the left side was long and too big, so it was divided into a smaller, more intimate formal living room and adjacent dining room.
A new mudroom entrance and powder room were added to the rear right side of the home.
The third floor, not shown, once housed a bedroom, bathroom and living space with kitchenette. Now it includes a guest bedroom and bathroom, an office and a playroom.
Interior design: Mandarina Studio
Architecture: Cummings Architects
Kitchen design: Linda Cloutier
General contracting: Tom Silva, Silva Brothers Construction
Decorative painting: Pauline Curtiss, Patina Designs