Connecticut Colonial

LITCHFIELD, CT

Connecticut Colonial

This early-19th-century house in Litchfield County, Connecticut, is located within the historic district of a small town. 

The homeowner, a long-time friend of Glenn Gissler Design, asked us to reimagine the exterior and interiors of their home. The client, who grew up in rural Kentucky, imagined a farmhouse reminiscent of her childhood but with a gracious update incorporating modern comforts and her sophisticated aesthetics.

Trimmed and globe boxwoods, along with two old-growth trees, create a symmetrical approach to the house. The new front porch, which we designed, features a pediment echoing the structure’s roofline. The front door is painted a glossy aubergine, which hints at what lies behind it.

Trimmed and globe boxwoods, along with two old-growth trees, create a symmetrical approach to the house. The new front porch, which we designed, features a pediment echoing the structure’s roofline. The front door is painted a glossy aubergine, which hints at what lies behind it.

We designed new paneling in the double-height entryway which is painted glossy aubergine – the homeowner’s favorite color. To make the space more accommodating, we removed a coat closet and replaced it with an Empire-period console decoupaged with antique calligraphic paper and an antique-painted Swedish chair. Two gilt-framed mirrors refract the ample sunlight to expand the space by day; by night, a crystal chandelier purchased decades ago by the homeowner illuminates the room. The striped stair runner strikes a balance between antique and modern sensibilities.

We designed new paneling in the double-height entryway which is painted glossy aubergine – the homeowner’s favorite color. To make the space more accommodating, we removed a coat closet and replaced it with an Empire-period console decoupaged with antique calligraphic paper and an antique-painted Swedish chair. Two gilt-framed mirrors refract the ample sunlight to expand the space by day; by night, a crystal chandelier purchased decades ago by the homeowner illuminates the room. The striped stair runner strikes a balance between antique and modern sensibilities.

Just inside the living room, a Duncan Phyfe-style side chair, one of a pair, is part of a tableau with a vintage Chinese apothecary cabinet, a 19th-century Christopher Dresser ewer, and a romantic black-and-white still-life photograph.

Just inside the living room, a Duncan Phyfe-style side chair, one of a pair, is part of a tableau with a vintage Chinese apothecary cabinet, a 19th-century Christopher Dresser ewer, and a romantic black-and-white still-life photograph.

The living room sofa is upholstered in a stylized botanical print, complementing the three club chairs in purple and a shade of fresh yellow-green linen to complete the seating arrangement. The bold silhouette of the Macau-inspired coffee table anchors the center of the room and sits beneath a vintage French ceiling fixture. The window mullions are painted dark to frame the views of the property.

The living room sofa is upholstered in a stylized botanical print, complementing the three club chairs in purple and a shade of fresh yellow-green linen to complete the seating arrangement. The bold silhouette of the Macau-inspired coffee table anchors the center of the room and sits beneath a vintage French ceiling fixture. The window mullions are painted dark to frame the views of the property.

A 19th-century library table displays an array of books and accessories illuminated by a celadon ceramic lamp.

A 19th-century library table displays an array of books and accessories illuminated by a celadon ceramic lamp.

We designed floor-to-ceiling bookcases to accommodate an extensive collection of literature. We also added ceiling beams, a newly designed colonial mantle, moldings, and a concealed television cabinet to make it a charming but multi-functional space.

We designed floor-to-ceiling bookcases to accommodate an extensive collection of literature. We also added ceiling beams, a newly designed colonial mantle, moldings, and a concealed television cabinet to make it a charming but multi-functional space.

A fresh coat of paint on the walls, beams, and ceiling boards integrated the kitchen into the adjacent dining room. We added a vintage-style ceiling fixture and a swing-arm sconce above the sink. For a naturalistic note, warm brown granite countertops complement the room’s crisp, clean lines.

A fresh coat of paint on the walls, beams, and ceiling boards integrated the kitchen into the adjacent dining room. We added a vintage-style ceiling fixture and a swing-arm sconce above the sink. For a naturalistic note, warm brown granite countertops complement the room’s crisp, clean lines.

We designed an entire suite of teak Anglo-Indian dining room furniture, including the massive table, sideboard, and 12 chairs. The room can host small gatherings and holiday dinners for as many as 14 guests. A trio of shaded pendant light fixtures provides appealing illumination.

We designed an entire suite of teak Anglo-Indian dining room furniture, including the massive table, sideboard, and 12 chairs. The room can host small gatherings and holiday dinners for as many as 14 guests. A trio of shaded pendant light fixtures provides appealing illumination.

A new staircase leads to the former attic, now a third floor with a bedroom and a half and extensive storage. The striped stair runner was meticulously mitered at the landings to great effect. Each framed artwork from the homeowner’s collection is a line from a poem, which can be read sequentially from top to bottom to complete the verses, lit by a charming chandelier purchased at auction.

A new staircase leads to the former attic, now a third floor with a bedroom and a half and extensive storage. The striped stair runner was meticulously mitered at the landings to great effect. Each framed artwork from the homeowner’s collection is a line from a poem, which can be read sequentially from top to bottom to complete the verses, lit by a charming chandelier purchased at auction.

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A pair of Swedish-inspired cabinets doubles as bedside tables and coveted storage in the primary bedroom. Matching mercury-glass lamps add to the symmetry and three 19th-century framed botanicals that add a historical charm.

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In the primary bedroom, we stained the floors a rich dark brown, added v-grooved planking to the ceiling, and painted everything one color for a calming effect. The upholstered headboard tucks into the eave, with a bench upholstered in block-printed cotton sitting at the foot of the bed and another antique Swedish chair.

We carved out an extra sleeping space at the top of the stairs – a half-bedroom – on the new third floor; a favorite spot for the client’s grandchildren. The wall sconce and toss pillows’ playful colors add a bit of whimsy, with the diminutive painting by the client’s mother adding a nostalgic generational note.

We carved out an extra sleeping space at the top of the stairs – a half-bedroom – on the new third floor; a favorite spot for the client’s grandchildren. The wall sconce and toss pillows’ playful colors add a bit of whimsy, with the diminutive painting by the client’s mother adding a nostalgic generational note.

The original structure from the nineteenth century is married to the relatively new back addition by the raised-ridge copper roof we specified to reinforce the character of this historic home. On the axis from the home’s back porch, a stone pathway and mature arborvitae lead to a new ‘paddock-style’ enclosure for the pool, recalling the client’s rural Kentucky heritage.

The original structure from the nineteenth century is married to the relatively new back addition by the raised-ridge copper roof we specified to reinforce the character of this historic home. On the axis from the home’s back porch, a stone pathway and mature arborvitae lead to a new ‘paddock-style’ enclosure for the pool, recalling the client’s rural  Kentucky heritage. 

A cluster of globe boxwoods creates a visual counterpoint to the strict linear pattern of the home’s clapboard siding. In the summer, Boston ferns and mature hydrangeas add to the garden’s quintessential New England sensibility.

A cluster of globe boxwoods creates a visual counterpoint to the strict linear pattern of the home’s clapboard siding. In the summer, Boston ferns and mature hydrangeas add to the garden’s quintessential New England sensibility.

The back porch is part of an addition to the house that dates to the twentieth century. It is just off the dining room, with views of a pond and the bucolic Connecticut countryside beyond. Vintage rattan furniture and a porch swing provide al fresco seating for morning coffee or post-dinner conversations.

The back porch is part of an addition to the house that dates to the twentieth century. It is just off the dining room, with views of a pond and the bucolic Connecticut countryside beyond. Vintage rattan furniture and a porch swing provide al fresco seating for morning coffee or post-dinner conversations.

Senior Designer Craig Strulovitz
Photos by Gross & Daley