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Renovations Offer Flexibility to a Family Spending More Time at Home

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Photographs by Jon Friedrich

Not knowing just how crucial it was going to be, a couple revamped their historic Haverford house to add plenty of extra space and comfort.

When Seth and Dana Goldblum decided to renovate their historic Haverford home in 2019, they had no idea that they’d be spending most of the next year quarantined inside it. “We lived in the house for a few years before we redesigned it to match our lifestyle,” says Seth. “Little did we know how much our lifestyle would change.”

Luckily, the home’s big changes—to the kitchen, master bathroom and Seth’s office—are perfect for COVID living. Seth, Dana and their four children now have a full media room, space for virtual learning and places to come together … and stay apart. “My wife didn’t have a space to be by herself and unwind,” Seth says. “Now she does, just in the nick of time.”

Interior designer Larina Kase reengineered the Goldblum home. They loved Kase’s modern aesthetic and knew she’d also preserve the historic charm of a house built in 1911. Located across from Haverford Square, the house is within walking distance of shops, restaurants and bars—a big change from their former home in Audubon. “We’re thrilled to be in a town with a lot of small shops and restaurants that are being safe about COVID,” Dana says. “Since the pandemic, Haverford has really felt like a small town, which is exactly what it is.”

Office Space

Part of the home’s appeal is its proximity to SEPTA’s Paoli/Thorndale Line. Seth has an easy commute into Philadelphia, where he’s senior managing director of a private equity firm—even if he is working from his home office right now. His most important request: quiet. “With twin 8-year-olds, two older daughters periodically home from college and two dogs, I needed the room to be as soundproof as possible,” he says.

Kase turned a second-floor guestroom into a high-tech office with rustic features, built-in cabinets and a giant credenza. Wall-to-wall carpet was replaced with new pine flooring treated to look a bit aged, and a dramatic light fixture enhances the tall ceilings. Seth’s desk was custom made by Beyond Stock, a Lancaster company owned by husband-and-wife team Seth and Greta Moyer. “We went to their shop, and it was a fantastic experience,” Dana says. “We fell in love with everything.”

Live edged and made of walnut, the desk has industrial-looking legs and a swirl that retains its natural feel. “It’s an organic shape with a simple, calm style that’s rustic but modern,” says Kase. “It’s the focal point of the room.”

Beyond Stock also created a wood cabinet for the Goldblums’ new media space, which had been a little-used dining room. It has custom sectional seating, and the light gray-and-blue color scheme is offset by bright abstract paintings and cool, modern sculptures.

Spa Retreat

Seth also loves the master bathroom. “It’s my pride and joy and the impetus for us redoing the house,” he says. “I wanted to walk into the bathroom and feel like I was in a spa.”

Gorgeous before the renovation, the bathroom featured Brazilian cherry wood and marble in the shower. But it had only one sink, and the toilet was the first thing the Goldblums saw when they entered the room. Kase remedied that by installing a half wall, making it pretty with subway tile. She added another sink by knocking down an outer closet and designing a vanity that extends from one wall to the other. Kase used marble for everything but stuck to soothing tones. “Seth and Dana wanted a soft spa feel with a modern look,” she says. “They didn’t want a lot of contrasting colors.”

Kase frosted the window inside the shower to provide both natural light and privacy. The shower’s ceiling is marble tile, lightly colored in warm tones. Fixture options include a rain showerhead, a regular showerhead and two body jets.

“It’s the shower of my dreams,” Seth says.

Kitchen Creation

Kase took the kitchen down to the studs. “A wall was in the way, so we knocked it down,” she says. “Now everything feels bigger and brighter.”

To fit the Goldblums’ taste, Kase refinished the kitchen’s wide-plank pine floors in a deeper brown tone. She kept the kitchen’s farm sink and the door that leads to the driveway. “We were careful with all of the doors because they retain the house’s historic charm,” Kase says.

The Goldblums kept their new kitchen appliances modest and practical, though they did splurge on the cabinets and kitchen island. Made of maple, the perimeter Sterling cabinets are blue, complementing the island’s soapstone countertop. Distressed to look old, the soapstone is leatherized for a textured finish. Kase opted for no oil, retaining its rustic feel.

The island’s perimeter counters are white marble with honed finishes. Cabinets have metal pulls with brushed finishes. “We didn’t want new and shiny,” says Dana. “We wanted matte finishes because we love the charm of things looking old and historic.”

Pendant lighting hangs over the island. Textured and elongated to look modern, the fixtures are machine-made but have the look of hand-blown glass. They perfectly complement the hammered copper drum fixture over the kitchen table. For the backsplash, the Goldblums opted for special elongated subway tile. Kase used a darker grout for a more practical and modern look.

Kase built a special area in the kitchen for the two dogs, with a raised platform for their bowls. She also made a station for their leashes, and a built-in pullout cabinet has two large compartments—almost the size of trash cans—for dog food. “They’re important members of the family,” Kase says. “When you design a home, you think about all of its inhabitants.”

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