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Smaller Space. Bigger Charm

Written by Karen Marley
Imagery by Sandra Kicman

Can a compromise in home goals give a couple exactly what they want as they look to retirement and downsizing? In the case of a delightful, New England cape style home overlooking Lake Ontario, the answer is yes.
    The homeowners’ previous home was a gutted and renovated ranch home. It had been a formidable project and they loved the outcome. Except when retirement came, he wanted to be near water. She wanted to stay close to friends and family in Rochester, New York. They compromised.
   “People think you have to leave an area when reaching retirement age. We worked our whole lives and wanted to spend time with family and friends minus the pressure. It doesn’t make sense to pack up and start somewhere else,” explains the homeowner.

Overcoming Being Overwhelmed
The homeowners purchased a ranch home on lakefront property. It gave them the best of everything – proximity to loved ones and a big, moody water horizon with sunsets into the water.  The ranch house, like their former home, was a huge project. They decided to tear it down and rebuild. Because it was a custom-designed home, the homeowners wanted to address every detail to perfection. One problem: They were overwhelmed and burned out on the home project process. For relief, they decided to use an interior designer, Design Associates’ Meg Schucker.
    For the homeowners, it was an unexpected investment. “It’s the best money we’ve ever spent,” they say.

Reinvent. Respect. Renew.
For years, the homeowners embraced a dressier style and the wife had been collecting artwork and antique furniture. She sold pieces to accommodate the downsized home but did not want to part with her beloved cherry and maple pieces. Or her pine. The French armoire, too.
    “One of the worst things a designer can say is, ‘This has to go.’  You have to think of things differently,” says Schucker.
    Throughout the home, Schucker incorporated the antique pieces and artwork along with clever surprises. Twig beds give grandkids a fun place to sleep. She arranged for an oversized window seat that can be used as an extra bed. Bedrooms have personal reading lights and switches. And the cherished French armoire? To the homeowners’ glee, Schucker added lighting and shelves to the interior and gave it a prominent spot in the living room where it functions unexpectedly as a magnificent bar.

The Relaxed Life
The new home has a great room, a departure from designated, formal spaces. Instead of dining room chairs, which made the table feel like a conference space, and counter stools at the island, they opted for a small banquette and a few chairs with twig detail.
    A wrought iron chandelier (easy to clean) and dark soapstone counters strike a crisp contrast to the white cupboards and backsplash. A gorgeous Italian painting glows with the organic lines of a golden landscape that enhance the dining table’s wood warmth. The kitchen’s beadboard ceiling provides definition from up above.
    In the living room, the paneled, coffered ceiling, accented with pale blue, provides a traditional design element. The stone fireplace, flanked with bookcases, infuses a relaxed nature and functionality. Extended staircase treads create a graceful slope and safety for the homeowners as they grow older.
    The homeowner enjoys changing the living room’s seasonal  “clothes.”  In summer, she uses a blue rug and a jaunty red, white and blue striped chair in a nautical spirit. During winter, these are swapped with a creamy white cushioned chair and a luxurious rug with wool and silk yarns.
     The use of white throughout the home is another departure from the homeowners’ previous tastes. Instead of colored paint and patterned wall coverings, they used white so that the artwork, antiques, and external lake views could stand out.
    It’s a home that has it all; a masterpiece that carries poise and dignity but with the charm of a cottage.

Design Associates
Hoffman‘s Appliance
Wm B Morse Lumber Co.

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