Be Inspired By The Fresh Look Of This Historic Bronxville Charmer

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william a bates house

Designed by noted architect William A. Bates, this 1909 Bronxville home—situated on a double corner lot just one block from town—captured the attention of designer Ashley Sharpe and her husband, Jim, who fell for its flat front yard and the large, wraparound porch before they even set foot inside. Landscape designer Keith Williams reinvented the property’s grounds.

green mudroom

A former shed turned mudroom offers one mode of entry to designer Ashley Sharpe’s Bronxville home. Sharpe reappointed the space with upper windows and custom storage—painted Benjamin Moore’s Essex Green—including cubbies, a bench and drawers for her dog Chief’s food. Pebble tiling by Ann Sacks composes the floor. Thibaut’s Best Friend paper lends a playful flourish to the walls.

green living room

Sharpe dressed the living room in Benjamin Moore’s Gondola Ride, which plays to the Lee Jofa Hollyhock linen on the English armchair and window banquette pillows. A braided Stark carpet and two-tier Louis J. Solomon cocktail table anchor the space while a pair of Baker chairs in mocha Kravet velvet face Lee Jofa’s Royale sofa. Gilded flowers by artist Tommy Mitchell in Lucite box frames add another garden reference.

red pantry

Sharpe saved several rolls of Tortoise wallpaper by Nina Campbell for Osborne & Little from a project years ago, hoping to use it somewhere special one day. She found the perfect home in a hallway that hosts a wet bar. Custom cabinetry by Bilotta is painted Benjamin Moore’s My Valentine. Petite hanging lanterns by Visual Comfort & Co. illuminate the alluring space.

floral dining room

In the dining room, Sharpe commissioned artist Amelia Rossi to paint a floral canopy. “Instead of a mural, I thought, ‘Let’s do the ceiling, so it feels like we’re dining alfresco,’” says Sharpe, who referenced several favorite wallpaper patterns to craft the design. The stained teak dining table, custom made in India, is surrounded by cane back Artistic Frame chairs and illuminated by a brass Visual Comfort & Co. chandelier.

patterned bedroom

Sharpe also chose Benjamin Moore’s My Valentine to echo the reds of the guest room’s star print. The petite console table by Oomph is lacquered in Benjamin Moore’s Purple Rain and the Visual Comfort & Co. sconce wears a custom shade of Sister Parish fabric. A bronze Made Goods mirror features three bird figurines at the top, picking up the three birds motif in Kalamkari All Over.

patterned headboard

Quadrille’s Kalamkari All Over print steals the show in the kicky guest room, outfitting the windows and walls, as well as a headboard by Oomph. The over-bed sconces with ceramic blue shades are by Hwang Bishop for Oomph. Bed linens in a classic chain motif by Matouk feature a soft blue to complement them.

porch swing

A twin-size swing by The Bed Swing is a coveted spot on the front porch. For a timeless aesthetic, Sharpe chose an outdoor cabana-stripe fabric by Mariaflora for the cushions and ebony gloss wicker furnishings by Lloyd Flanders. Sharpe sketched the pinecone accent table and had it hand carved in India in pickled teak. The garden stool is by Emissary and the verdigris lanterns are custom.

spring table

Dressed for a spring soiree, the table—which Sharpe designed to seat 14—is surrounded by Serena & Lily bistro chairs. Sharpe designed the lantern herself, combining aspects of three different lanterns she has favored over time. The cane-covered glassware is Amanda Lindroth, the table linens are India Amory and the flower-filled ginger jars are Sharpe’s personal collection.

When Ashley Sharpe first laid eyes on the 1909 Colonial Revival that sits like a beacon on Bronxville’s charming Garden Avenue, she had the distinct suspicion she was staring at the home where she would raise her family. “When I walked through the gate and up the front steps, it felt like I was boarding the Titanic,” she says. “There was something so solid, grand and wondrous about it.”

Sharpe and her husband, Jim, had been craving more space outside the city, so they embarked on “a great experiment” one summer, listing their Manhattan apartment on Airbnb and renting in Bronxville to test-drive village life. “We fell for the charms and the easy commute,” says Sharpe. “We loved it from the get-go.”

Finding the architectural gem—originally designed by William A. Bates, one of the town’s formative architects—felt fated. They made an offer and Sharpe’s wheels began turning, imagining how she might reinvent the home for her young family while honoring its history and the love locals have for its time-honored façade.

“It was a massive project, but I wasn’t daunted,” says the designer, who spent a decade of her career with Kemble Interiors in both New York and Palm Beach, before starting her own firm. “What I hadn’t anticipated was what it would be like to live through the renovation.” For nine months, the couple ate every meal out with their 2-year-old son in tow, sleeping on an air mattress next to his crib and relocating their makeshift bedroom as construction wrapped room by room.

Thankfully, she had trusted support: To adapt the home for the 21st-century living, Sharpe called upon Palm Beach friends and experts, architect Peter Papadopoulos and landscape designer Keith Williams. “It was a passion project for us—a team of great friends who have known and worked together for years,” says Papadopoulos. “Keith reimagined the gardens while Ashley and I redefined certain interior spaces, namely, expanding the kitchen area to modernize it for social gathering.” Adds the architect, “ultimately, we did very little to alter the character of this special house.”

Formerly berry fields, and dotted with prolific hydrangeas, lilacs and azaleas, the lush grounds were a natural muse for Sharpe’s design concept. “The architecture and the landscape really play off one another,” she says. That conversation begins on the front porch—a gracious corridor delineating home from garden—where the designer fashioned a procession of seating areas outfitted in cheerful stripes to mimic the exterior’s white shingles and green shutters.

Garden hues then continue indoors where Lee Jofa’s iconic Hollyhock chintz—splashed across pillows in the entry and again in the living room—drove the palette. “It was timeless, like the house itself, and seemed a fitting pairing,” says Sharpe. Fresh greens feature throughout the residence, from emerald walls in the living room to sage cabinetry in the kitchen. Notes Sharpe, “I believe in creating continuity so there’s a sense of peacefulness and nothing hits you too abruptly.” In another botanical homage, she enlisted Florida-based artist Amelia Rossi to hand-paint cascading flowers across the dining room ceiling and an Indian-inspired floral in the entry.

When it came to fixtures and furnishings, Sharpe followed the same rule she employs with her clients: “I didn’t want to spend money on disposable design. This house had stood the test of time and I wanted pieces that would do the same.” To that end, she chose classic upholstered silhouettes “that could take a new fabric in 10 years and not look dated.” Throughout, touches of unlacquered brass, and material hits like rattan and caning, feel equal parts fresh and perennial.

When the transformation was finally complete and the air mattress deflated, the Sharpes only had a few months to host the kinds of parties they’d envisioned throwing. COVID hit and quarantine began. She spent her second pregnancy working from home, recently welcoming a second son into the world, and into the nest she so lovingly curated. From their front porch swing, the family slowed down and savored their surrounds. “There’s an all-American bustling of activity on this corner—the whistle of the crossing guard, the bicycle bells as children make their way to school, the horn of the Metro North train pulling out of town when the wind blows in just the right direction,” says Sharpe, adding of the beacon she so proudly calls home, “It’s wonderfully comfortable, inviting and timeless.”

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