New England Style Made New


Layers of renovations buried this home's open, airy layout and beautiful details, but a change of ownership -- and a plan to lighten up -- transformed its dark warren of rooms into a relaxing family retreat.

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Return to Classic

home exterior

While charming from the outside, this New England-style home acquired gingerbread details, country kitsch, and old-school wallpaper throughout its lifetime. It needed a makeover to showcase its surroundings -- canyons, the ocean, and the mountains -- and recover its traditional charms while providing the necessary warmth and comfort for 21st-century living.

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Old Meets New

formal foyer

The homeowners retained the flooring from the original foyer, but their updates made the space live for today. Now, the entry hall is bright, big enough to greet multiple guests simultaneously, and provides a place to sit and put on or take off shoes.

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Before: Bad Arrangement

home before

Vaulted ceilings and plenty of natural light opened the living room to the great outdoors, but an awkward furniture arrangement and misguided decorating choices weren't doing it any favors.

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After: Let the Light In

family room

A palette of whites, creams, and blues gives this made-over living room an inviting feel. New built-in bookcases, long, flowing window treatments, and a cozy furniture arrangement maximize space and views.

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Botanical Flair

Traditional living room

A formal living room relaxes with garden-inspired touches. Plush upholstered furniture combined with a neutral palette makes the space feel formal, yet relaxed, and a gallery of botanical prints overhead invites nature in.

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Before: A Little Too Cavelike

kitchen before

Before, dark materials, boxed-in rooms, and narrow entrances made the first floor feel like a cave. It needed a massive clarification of the layout to let in light and better connect rooms.

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After: Room to Breathe

Blue, white, chair, sofa, built-ins, TV, Living room, living rooms

Flipping the placement of the kitchen and dining room with the new family room opened up the layout and allowed better storage to be integrated within the hub of the home. Now, a gracious seating area welcomes casual conversation and family hangouts. A large entrance is flanked by bookshelves that display collectibles and stash media gear out of sight.

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Relaxed Elegance

traditional dining room

Beyond the family room, the dining area relies on texture, color, and pattern for richness. A sisal rug mitigates traditional furniture, while whimsical wallpaper brings the room to life.

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Before: Publike Kitchen

kitchen before

The kitchen was pressed into a little pocket that blocked the home's gorgeous views of the beach, mountains, and canyons.

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After: Opened Up


A redesign guided by the need for flow and light enabled this kitchen to open up and become more accessible. To create a seamless look, the cabinets, coffered ceiling, and trim are painted the same shade of white. The wood floors and barstools add a hint of color contrast in keeping with the traditional look.

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Room with a View

Banquette ideas

Adding windows and French doors, as well as light-color woods and surfaces filled the kitchen with soft, controllable light. An L-shape banquette hugs the wall to make the most of space and offer ample seating for a crowd.

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Suite Dreams


Vaults in the primary bedroom open up the ceiling. Details such as paneling and molding, nautical blues, and driftwood hues nod to cottage style. Mirrors placed on either side of the bed reflect light, making the room feel bright and spacious.

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Sophisticated Seating

Traditional living room

In the primary suite, a new bay window created a sunny spot for a seating area. A crisp palette of creams and blues lays the foundation for cottage-inspired touches: roomy furniture and fuss-free accessories that project chic, carefree sophistication.

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Before: Room for Improvement

home exterior before

The backyard wasn't in bad shape, but the pool gobbled up prime real estate for alfresco gatherings.

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After: Room to Entertain


The pool lost 75 percent of its size, giving the yard room for seating and dining areas, all accessible from the house by French doors.

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