Transforming a dated ranch into an urban loft-like space triggers a move from city to country.By Jaci Conry | Photography by Dan Cutrona
While her husband was buying sneakers across the street, the homeowner casually wandered into g Green Design Center in Mashpee Commons. “She said she was renovating her home and wondered if I had any recommendations for a contractor,” recalls interior designer and showroom owner Nicole Goldman. “We were each wearing similar black shift dresses, which we laughed about, and started chatting away.” Within minutes, it became clear that in addition to their taste in clothing, the two women also shared similar design sensibilities.
The homeowner, who lived year-round in Boston, had recently inherited her mother’s house in East Falmouth. The small 1950s ranch held deep sentimental value, but it was in dire need of a refresh, and the homeowner yearned to make the space her own. Goldman, whose showroom specializes in materials and products that are eco-friendly, energy efficient and sustainable, was hired in July 2012 to spearhead the renovation.
From closed and dated to open and contemporary
“The master bedroom had orange shag carpet, the kitchen had teal cabinetry, and the master bathroom’s white-and-green marbleized vinyl tiles were hideous,” says Goldman. The homeowner was inspired by the aesthetics of urban lofts, and the motivation for the renovation was to make the space light, clean and crisp. “Not ultramodern, but contemporary,” says Goldman.
Buzzards Bay-based Shoreline Remodeling handled the construction, and the first order of business was to remove the three-quarter walls separating the kitchen from the living and dining areas. “The kitchen was literally a box in the living room,” says Goldman. With the walls down, an airy, open vibe was established and sunlight could now stream into the space from front to back. A benefit of the home’s original architecture was that the ceilings were vaulted; Goldman called for the existing beams to be accentuated with trusses to enhance the loft-like feel.
The homeowner is drawn to gray and the home’s color palette centers on variations of the hue. “We actually used about 50 different shades of gray throughout the house,” says Goldman. The frameless maple cabinets, for example, were treated with an opal stain that has a whitish gray, almost translucent appearance. All materials were selected with sustainability in mind. The island is topped with a recycled glass and concrete waterfall counter that extends to the floor. The dark counters along the sink and refrigerator walls are made out of Richlite, a material constructed out of more than a hundred layers of paper highly compressed in a phenolic resin. “The resin makes it tough, as well as the finish, which includes a wax layer,” says Goldman. “It’s more durable than a plain wood countertop that has been treated.”
The horizontal porcelain backsplash tiles offer a few different light-gray tones. In contrast, the cork flooring that replaced the old kitchen’s linoleum, was stained dark gray. The existing wood floors in the living and dining areas were refinished with toxin-free tung oil. “Everything is made from recycled materials, or [material] that is rapidly renewable,” says Goldman. Among the home’s most interesting repurposed elements is a sliding barn door that utilizes reclaimed boards from snow fences in Wyoming.
“It’s possible to get boards with lichen still on them if you really want a lot of texture,” says Goldman, who notes that sliding doors, like the one in this house that cordons off a hallway leading to the second and third bedrooms from the living area, are great space savers. “They eliminate the space you need to have for a door to swing open.”
The master suite was added onto the house after it was initially constructed. Accessed by an awkward angled hallway, it felt disconnected from the rest of the house. To create a more engaging entrance to the space, the hallway and bedroom, which includes a small sitting area, were reconfigured and the bathroom was expanded.
The bedroom’s new floors are made of strand-woven bamboo, a harder, more durable variation of bamboo. “The wood is finished with multicolor stain that has black, bluish and tan shades that goes well with the room’s gray walls,” says Goldman. The dated brick fireplace surround was replaced with recycled glass-and-porcelain tile. Low-maintenance porcelain tiles in various sizes were also used in the adjacent bathroom, where a rectangular vessel sink is perched on a floating vanity fabricated out of Greenlam, a laminated material made from recycled paper.
“It’s really important that we live in spaces that nurture us,” says Goldman. “The house completely does that for the homeowner. It’s comfortable, soft and interesting. It’s her palette, her aesthetic.” In fact, the homeowner finds the space so relaxing and peaceful that she and her husband have relocated from Boston to live there year-round. They’re not quite done transforming the space. The second phase of the project will focus on the husband’s taste, says Goldman: “Creating a man cave in the basement.”