The Hudson Valley calls Manhattanites away with forests and farmland. The Hamptons beckon with surf and sand. But for a cosmopolitan couple with two toddlers, the tony New York suburb of Glen Cove offered the best of everything in a second home: private green space, country clubs, an antiques trail, and family nearby—all within 45-minutes of their primary residence. When a pristine 1895 Colonial came to market, they made an offer immediately, turning to designer Ashley Darryl, who had recently revived her own historic property. “It was exactly what I envisioned for us,” says the wife, referring to photos Darryl shared of her home at the start of conversations. “Beautiful but family-friendly with no rooms off-limits.”
Spurred by her clients’ growing collection of abstract art and travel-amassed curios, Darryl kicked off the project by selecting a strong yet limited color palette and textiles with petite patterning. “It’s all very understated,” Darryl notes. “The tiny patterns almost act like texture.” This restrained envelope would make the couple’s collections—and newly sourced mix of custom and antique French and Italian furnishings—sing. “I looked back on the history of the house and introduced pieces that would have been used in that era,” Darryl says. “The game chairs in the living room are vintage redone in leather, and the dining chairs are refinished. The point is not knowing what’s new and what’s old.”
While largely in alignment, the designer inched her clients out of their comfort zones on occasion, especially in the realm of color. One such instance: Darryl proposed dark teal walls for the formal living—a bold choice for a room of intimate dimensions but one the designer knew would feel authentic to the vernacular while creating a jewel-box effect. In another leap, the ceiling in the adjacent family room was painted a sunny shade of yellow. Adds the wife, “Ashley is brilliant at pushing us to be a little more adventurous.”
Colors are softer in the other rooms, but no less important. There are four different hues in the dining room alone, including a pale blue tone that mirrors the wool area rug. “This creates a depth that you don’t get in rooms painted a single color. It adds interest and highlights the architecture,” Darryl explains, pointing to the multiple tones she selected for the original millwork. Indeed, the paint schedule was two pages long.
Of note, behind every glossy wall is the handiwork of general contractor J.P. Foschi. Since the lacquer-like finishes Darryl selected tend to highlight imperfections, Foschi applied skim coats to the lath and plaster walls, creating a smooth, even finish. He also executed the traditional mantle that Darryl designed for the room’s rustic brick fireplace, which is now an inviting focal point for a pair of contemporary armchairs.
In a stroke of fortune, the kitchen had been recently renovated with classic white cabinetry by architect Ron Zakary for the previous owners. Enhancing the crisp canvas, Darryl added a built-in breakfast banquette replete with handy drawers to store the children’s coloring books. Alongside Foschi, she also revitalized the master bathroom with a clean marble tiling that echoes the simple elegance of the kitchen. “We tried to meld the old and the new in a seamless way,” Foschi notes.
Another substantial undertaking was renovating the unfinished attic, which would provide guest quarters for visiting friends and family. Admiring Zakary’s prior work, the couple confidently tasked him to build two bedrooms and a petite bathroom into the new third floor. “We had to get creative and wedge things into low eve spaces, but it turned out nicely,” Zakary says. Under the windows in one of said bedrooms, built-ins with trundles create ample space for sleepovers. A patriotic red, white and blue color scheme befits the historical milieu.
This sense of timeless comfort carries downstairs to the master bedroom, where a walnut four-poster bed cuts lines through a cream-and-plum palette, continuing on to the children’s bedrooms, which sport classic floral and plaid schemes in soft tones. “They’re special, fun rooms to grow into,” Darryl notes, adding, “They won’t have to be redone in five years.”
Far from just a summer escape, the family spends nearly every weekend at the Glen Cove getaway. Recently, they hosted their first big holiday gathering, filling the rooms with conversation and laughter. And the wife will soon have friends from her home state of Texas up for a ladies weekend. “That’s why we bought this place,” she says. “I’m excited to have the house filled with people.”