A newly built home in Villanova meant no major renovations for a busy professional couple with young children. But that didn’t mean the property was move-in ready. While the house offered great flow, open sightlines and lots of potential, it didn’t reflect the style and energy of an active family. Picture a plain box in need of giftwrap and a bow.
The couple turned to Philadelphia’s Glenna Stone to transform the attractive, high-quality structure into a vibrant home that reflects the lifestyle of its owners. She served as an interpreter of sorts, translating a detailed wish list and random thoughts into inviting, user-friendly interiors.
The couple’s transitional style is a seamless combination of contemporary and traditional, with clean lines and gently rounded surfaces. “We wanted a great place to come home to—but kid friendly,” says the owner. “Glenna helped us strike a balance with flair.”
The project encompassed several areas, including a powder room and foyer. The biggest component was an open-concept living area that spans a kitchen, a dining area and a gathering space that serves as a family room.
With demanding careers in healthcare and investment management, the couple had little time to research resources. So Stone scoured her expansive network to find unique custom pieces that elevated the style of the home. Because the house was new construction, the kitchen needed only a few tweaks. There were lighting upgrades, new bar stools for casual seating, and sophisticated accessories like a small trough that serves as a planter for succulents.
The designer defined the dining and gathering zones with furnishings and lighting. To give the family room a greater sense of substance, she added a wall of wainscoting behind the sofa. “The millwork helps to connect the rest of the room to the fireplace,” Stone says.
A television is stationed above the mantel for easy viewing from multiple vantage points, and tailored sofas offer ideal seating for family movie nights. “Everyone has space to snuggle in and spread out,” says Stone.
Sofas were upholstered in a creamy tan using high-tech performance fabrics that resist stains and stand up to the rigors of daily life. “Performance fabrics are getting better and better. It feels good to sit on a sofa that has some texture to it,” Stone says.
Though earthy neutrals and pale hues are a hallmark of transitional design, the owners also wanted some vibrancy. “They love warm colors—reds and oranges—which we brought in with pillows that add pops of color to the room,” the designer says. “We also brought in blue stripes in the fabric on a long bench under the window.”
The dark hardwood floors are balanced by the natural light streaming from windows. Crisp white plantation shutters filter the rays, with motorized shades blocking the sun on the most intense days. Walls are painted in a whisper of beige, a shade dubbed sea salt by Benjamin Moore.
Throughout the room, pieces make a subtle statement. A large round mirror over the sofa is framed with hand-forged metal, its curled edges set in staggered strips. The wooden arms on a cozy reading chair are carved to look like natural twigs, and a circular cocktail table combines a metal top with curved wooden sides. “With two small children, they wanted rounded edges, not sharp edges—and no glass tops,” the designer says. “It has a casual, rustic feeling to it.”
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In selecting furniture, the owners’ focus was on high-end pieces that are stylish yet comfortable. With a wooden top set on a chunky black pedestal, the round dining table is surrounded by five upholstered chairs. The table’s shape is mirrored in a fluted, circular chandelier suspended from chains. “The table provides a warmth and an inviting tone to our daily lives—and also when we entertain,” the owner says.
The family typically entered the home through a mudroom, so they wanted to enhance a small foyer for a more formal entry. Stone furnished the space with a wooden chest, a round mirror inset with brass, and a custom rug woven in an organic tree pattern. “When you entertain, people are coming in the front door, and it needs to say ‘welcome,’” says Stone. “The foyer sets the tone for what you’re going to see in the rest in the house.”
Their projects now complete, the family is truly at home in an interior that’s stylish, functional and flexible. “The design has allowed us to create an environment that’s livable but also allows for entertaining small and large groups in a relaxed or formal manner,” the owner says. “It’s a dynamic living space.”