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A St. Davids Manor Gets An Elegant Update

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In the late 1990s, the Main Line area experienced a surge in the construction of million-dollar-plus houses outfitted with all the luxuries. Now that many are hitting the 20-year mark, their interiors are showing their age. 

Such was the case for one farmhouse-style home in St. Davids’ Brooke Farm development. “We found this house, and we knew we loved the bones of it and the location,” says the owner. “We also knew we’d have to completely redo the interior of the entire house.”

In fact, the only real structural change was an elevator. “The owners originally called on me to help them with a kitchen renovation,” says Devon based interior designer Ani Semerjian.

But once the kitchen was complete, the project grew. Rooms were finished with architectural details like coffered ceilings, crown molding, mantels, and decorative beams. New paint and wallpaper lent even more drama to before-and-after shots that are now in Semerjian’s portfolio.

A lavender sofa sets the tone in the elegant formal living room//Photo by Joe Kitchen.

large lanterns hanging above the quartzite-topped island make a statement in the kitchen, with its custom cabinetry and millwork//Photo by Joe Kitchen. 

Livable elegance

In articulating a vision for their new home, Semerjian’s clients often used the terms “classic” and “elegant.” “We didn’t want a traditional look,” says the owner. “Nor did we want it to be hyper-contemporary.”

Simply put, the design needed to strike a balance. The couple wasn’t interested in compromising livability. “We wanted to make sure the house was comfortable and welcoming,” the owner says. 

The whites in the bright kitchen were a refreshing contrast to the original cherry cabinets. An oversized island is perfect for informal dinners for the family of four. Semerjian chose a fairly new material to top the island. “Although people love the look of marble, it requires maintenance,” she says. 

Her alternative: quartzite. “It looks beautiful, and it’s not as outdated as granite,” she says.

Two antiqued brass lanterns hang above the island. “Light fixtures are the easiest way to make a statement in a room,” says Semerjian. 

White beadboard, accented with dark wood beams, covers the tray ceiling in the adjoining breakfast room. A round table seats seven comfortably, and the cream-colored grass-cloth wallpaper extends into the neighboring family room. There, a custom walnut mantel houses the TV above the fireplace. A leather ottoman and a sectional couch are ideal for lounging.  

An executive-style mahogany desk is the centerpiece of the home office. The mahogany floor-to-ceiling paneling and built-ins give the space a masculine feel. 

The dining room proved to be one of the biggest challenges. “The clients’ main concern was having a table large enough to host their extended family for the holidays,” says Semerjian. 

Once a suitable oval table was chosen, the design took off. Cream wallpaper, crown molding, and a ceiling painted a rich copper give it a formal feel.

A master-bath renovation resulted in a serene space//Photo by Rebecca McAlpin.

Soothing sanctuary

In the master bedroom, Semerjian kept things neutral, selecting a greige paint for the walls and crisp white for the moldings. A cream-colored leather headboard is framed with ebony wood, which matches the nightstands. Semerjian’s other touches include a coffered ceiling and a rounded crystal light fixture.

The neutral vibe continues in the master bathroom. Semerjian replaced the old Jacuzzi and cherry cabinetry with a freestanding soaking tub and white cabinetry topped with marble counters. 

NEW BUILT-INS AND A FIREPLACE MANTEL DESIGNED TO ACCOMMODATE THE MOUNTED TV ARE JUST A FEW HIGHLIGHTS IN THE FAMILY ROOM//PHOTO BY JOE KITCHEN

Movie magic

The owners wanted a home theater, but they didn’t want a separate room. So Semerjian closed it off with soundproof velvet curtains. A bar, a pool table and a bathroom complete the space. 

“We can leave the curtains open if we’re entertaining downstairs and the game is on the screen, or we can close it off to get the complete theater experience if we’re watching a movie,” the owner says.  “We trusted Ani [with our vision], and we’re so glad we did. The house now has a timeless look.”