Photographs by Tom Crane.
It’s a unique juxtaposition: the glamour of Hollywood, the glitz of rock ’n’ roll and the tradition of the Main Line. A combination of the three provided a sparkle and a stateliness that served as the springboard for the makeover of a family home in Newtown Square, where a busy pair of medical professionals live with their two young children.
The house was built in the early 2000s, but it had only been theirs for a year. The owners appreciated its location, the architecture and the quality of the construction. But the existing home didn’t suit their contemporary aesthetic.
“This was our dream house and neighborhood when we purchased it, but we knew it needed a modern facelift,” the owner says. “The colors were dark and rich, but we wanted to let the light in and showcase all the natural brightness of the home.We just needed to put our personal stamp on it.”
For inspiration, she browsed images of celebrity homes and was smitten by Gwen Stefani’s sleek, colorful compound in Beverly Hills, Calif. She also loved the spare, modern elegance of Jennifer Lopez’s mansion in Hidden Hills, Calif.
Enter Kirsten McCoy of Meadowbank Designs in Wayne, who was tasked with interpreting the owner’s wish list and coming up with a plan for an expansive, light-filled home ideal for gathering with family and friends.
The transformation began with an update of the foyer, a space that would set the tone for the rest of the house. “It was a great way to test the waters—to get to a place for everything else to spring from,” McCoy says.
The palette is a soothing and sophisticated blend of soft grays and blues with bright pops of fuchsia. Muted gray carpet in a serpentine pattern leads up the stairs. Chinoiserie detailing highlights a cornice above a window seat with a fuchsia cushion on the staircase landing. A classic blue-and-white ginger jar is stationed on a round table with weighty books and a small pot that holds vivid fuchsia flowers. “We wanted to be surrounded by personal pieces that are important to us,” the owner says. “Kirsten incorporated our family photos, grandfather’s journal and so many books in a way that still looks elegant and clean.”
The aura is cool yet welcoming, like a boutique hotel. “They travel a lot and like that hotel feeling, where you get home and everything is perfect,” says McCoy.
In the adjoining living room, silvery grasscloth wallcoverings add subtle shimmer. “It gives the room a special sheen at night,” the designer adds.
It’s a luxurious space, with a tufted sofa, chaise lounge, sumptuous chairs and a grand piano. Yet it’s also a place where parents and children gather when the kids play the piano.
Surfaces throughout the house are beautiful but touchable, incorporating fabrics and carpets that are both opulent and stain-resistant. “Kirsten kept us on track in finding family-friendly fabrics and treatments for our furnishings,” the owner says. “Everything was designed to hold up to abuse—even the pale gray rug in our breakfast room, which some might think was crazy to do in such a light color.”
The owners are working on a collection of contemporary art, and they’ve displayed their favorite abstract pieces in the living room and dining room. The graphic lines, shapes and combinations of colors in the paintings are in harmony with the lean and lush furnishings. For formal dining, there’s a walnut table with an ebonized finish. It seats 10 or more guests and was custom-crafted in Pennsylvania.
“My client has her own unique point of view and takes a curatorial approach about how each room feels to her eye,” says McCoy.
The design for the family room is rooted in large traditional botanical prints of blue hydrangeas discovered by the homeowner. Oversized blossoms are echoed in draperies that frame windows with verdant views of the garden.
In keeping with the serene vibe, the TV is out of sight, tucked behind cabinetry next to the fireplace. The coffee table, coated in a scratch-resistant poly, is large enough to accommodate board games. A Lucite fan whirls softly overhead. “It’s a little touch of bling that doesn’t visually take up lots of space,” McCoy notes.
Lucite is fabricated into drapery rods in a breakfast room with a large, arched window. Drapery panels sparkle with stripes of tiny rhinestones, reflecting the crystals in a spherical chandelier. “We did not want to visually cut that archway, and the clear Lucite simply goes away,” the designer says. “It’s a lovely space, with sunshine sparkling on the rhinestones.”
The kitchen was outfitted with cherry cabinets when the couple bought the house. In keeping with the light aesthetic, they painted them white. A cut-glass mosaic backsplash is both pretty and pragmatic, an artistic statement that’s easy to keep clean. Brown granite countertops were replaced with white quartz.
Thanks to the transformation, the family can now enjoy every room of the house. “It’s a peaceful sanctuary for our family,” the owner says. “We find so much joy in every single space.”