An extensive renovation and new furnishings invigorate an 1800s classic.By Lenore Cullen Barnes | Photography by Tom Sheehan
We’re warned not to covet our neighbors, but sometimes it just can’t be helped. Pam and Todd Marshman had their eyes on their next door neighbor’s late-19th– century home, which presides like a grand dame over Little Harbor, Cohasset.
“We knew it was a gem in the rough,” says Pam. “We told the former owners, who lived there for 50 years, that if they ever moved, we’d love to buy the house.”
A couple of years ago the neighbors came calling, and the Marshmans became owners of their dream home. Pam and Todd loved the architecture and period details, but wanted to update the home for 21st-century living.
The remaking of a classic
Pam, an interior designer, asked Heidi Condon, principal of Scituate-based HC Design, to help with an extensive renovation that included razing a decrepit extension off the original structure and building a large, rectangular two-story addition across the back of the house. On the first floor, the renovation project yielded a new study, screened porch, kitchen, pantry, mudroom and two-car garage. Walls separating the original living areas were removed, and the entire space was opened up to gain water views, increase natural light and improve flow.
It was a project close to Condon’s heart, since she grew up in Cohasset and had long admired the house. She and the Marshmans were in lockstep with regard to respecting the integrity of the home. “Heidi knows how to merge old and contemporary,” says Pam.
“Our goal was to make the addition seamless,” Condon. “We wanted the original home to be the focus. The addition is set back purposefully. We tried to use large columns and the trim, beams and molding to define spaces. The house was architecturally beautiful but a warren of little rooms. Now, the sight line from the kitchen extends to the front of the house, but it doesn’t feel like you’re looking through two rooms.”
With so much open space, Pam knew she wanted neutral tones in the decor. “The furnishings needed to be calm and quiet,” says Pam. “I wanted cozy and inviting, not cavernous.” Pam achieved the desired intimacy and warmth through textiles and finishes. Silver travertine surrounds extend to the ceiling on twin fireplaces in the dining area and sitting room. Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams rolled armchairs and a Serena Bowl chandelier with capiz shells invite quiet gatherings in the sitting room.
A David Latesta custom oval walnut table takes center stage in the dining area, while a large coffered ceiling design differentiates the space from the adjacent rooms.
The family room, centered around another fireplace and with views overlooking the pool, is the perfect place to lounge. A sisal rug from the Marshmans’ first home was cut in two and now covers the floors in both the dining area and family room.
In the open kitchen, Crema Dellicato honed marble pairs with Wenge African rosewood on the unique elongated island. “I wanted to marry the two materials,” says Pam. “Marble gets too cold.” Natural taupe grasscloth wall covering by Schumacher and an antique Persian Heriz rug imbue further layers of warmth.
Behind the kitchen, a pantry houses the nuts and bolts of the kitchen, including appliances and a tower-style freezer.
The mudroom, open to the second story, is a lofty, hard-working transitional space from the outdoors, with lockers for the children’s gear, built-in shelves and drawers, and special sleeping quarters tucked under the second staircase for the family’s black Lab, Lulu. Borders of the old wood flooring are inlaid into the porcelain tile to delineate spaces. A triple set of the original diamond leaded glass windows, originally in the entry, hangs above a built-in bench in the center of the room.
Todd’s study is tucked away toward the rear of the house, with a screened porch built around it. American black walnut beams and built-ins, and quarter-sawn oak floors lend a scholarly ambience to the study.
Stylish Sleeping Quarters
On the second floor, an original bedroom was sacrificed to create an ample master bath and dressing room. Segregating the utilitarian space allows the bedroom, which overlooks the harbor, to remain pared down and serene. “We had a large master suite at our former house and didn’t want it again,” says Pam. “We wanted more of a retreat with less furniture.”
A clever adaptation of a bay window in the master bath tucks the vanity into the bay, keeping the two side windows with a mirror in the center. “We didn’t want to compromise the exterior,” says Condon. “This keeps the view, but they also have privacy.”
Daughter Audrey’s room glows with rose-toned grasscloth walls. An odd closet with a window was transformed into a magical space housing a custom built-in daybed perfect for reading and sleepovers.
Tall-pitched ceilings in brother Thomas’ room are painted navy along with the walls. A loft, reached by ladder, has a built-in bed.
“We love and use every bit of it,” says Pam. “It’s our forever house.”
Architect: Heidi Condon from HC Design
Interior Design: Pamela Marshman Interior Design