Explore an Art-Filled Connecticut Family Home That Balances Comfort and Sophistication

As the quintessential country retreat for some of the 20th century’s most affluent families—with surnames like Rockefeller, Gimbel, and Post—the tony Connecticut town of Greenwich is littered with sprawling estates that wear their traditional aesthetic like a badge of honor. But in their 22,000-square-foot home, one West Coast family of five decided to shake off the dust of the old and infuse the house’s iconic structure with a dose of contemporary vigor.

“The house had such a strong point of view when we entered the project,” says New York–based designer Sara Story of the classic shingle-style property, which was originally designed by renowned architecture firm Shope Reno Wharton in 1996. “It felt really heavy and dark, and it was chopped up in an unusual way. But the scale was really nice. We just needed to give it a little bit of a facelift.”

She began by knocking down walls and consolidating rooms to allow light to penetrate the house’s interior, replacing some of the more masculine wood finishes with white plaster to establish an elegant, timeless look that leans more on European minimalism than old-school American grandeur. The kitchen required a gut renovation, but the vast majority of the changes remained cosmetic. “The bones were really good, so it was more about trying to figure out how to make the space what it should be for the client—how to put their stamp on it,” says Story.

<div class="caption"> In the solarium, a seating area consisting of Carlos Motta chairs and a cocktail table by Paul Kingma from <a href="https://www.1stdibs.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:1stdibs" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">1stdibs</a> features a fitting pièce de résistance: a limited edition Baccarat chandelier by Philippe Starck. </div>
In the solarium, a seating area consisting of Carlos Motta chairs and a cocktail table by Paul Kingma from 1stdibs features a fitting pièce de résistance: a limited edition Baccarat chandelier by Philippe Starck.

With the aim of modernizing through shape and form, she opted for a neutral palette layered with cool tones and a sophisticated blend of materials, as well as a collection of museum-quality artwork and sculptural vintage and custom furnishings and accessories that are masterpieces in their own right. “The homeowner has great taste and knows what she likes,” says Story. “But it was important that the rooms feel elevated and bright and airy yet also comfortable and durable enough to really be used.” In the family room, a pair of midcentury Swedish armchairs upholstered in a sinuous Le Manach fabric plays off a graphic wall covering by Porter Teleo; they sit opposite a custom sofa upholstered in a hardworking Holland & Sherry wool. The vibrant panda marble in the primary bath is truncated by wainscoting to create a sense of intimacy as well as a visual break to keep the space from feeling too heavy. And a custom wall installation by artist Amy Kao injects a lively dose of personality into the dining room.

The result is a home that artfully balances luxury and approachability—an indoor pool and solarium with a yard full of chickens. “At the end of the day, we wanted the rooms to be inviting and comforting,” says Story, “because this is ultimately a family home. It was designed to stand up to all the nuances of everyday life.”

Explore an Art-Filled Connecticut Family Home That Balances Comfort and Sophistication

<div class="caption"> New York designer Sara Story transformed a staid 22,000-square-foot grand dame in Greenwich, Connecticut, into a modern refuge for one recently relocated West Coast family. Story traded in masculine wood finishes for lithe white plaster to establish an elegant, timeless look that emulates European minimalism. A wool and mohair <a href="https://www.altforliving.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Alt for Living" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Alt for Living</a> runner, an <a href="https://www.alexandreloge.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Alexandre Loge" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Alexandre Loge</a> chandelier, and a bronze-and-travertine table by <a href="https://www.chahan.com/?lang=en" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Chahan Design" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Chahan Design</a> create a warm welcome in the entry. </div>
New York designer Sara Story transformed a staid 22,000-square-foot grand dame in Greenwich, Connecticut, into a modern refuge for one recently relocated West Coast family. Story traded in masculine wood finishes for lithe white plaster to establish an elegant, timeless look that emulates European minimalism. A wool and mohair Alt for Living runner, an Alexandre Loge chandelier, and a bronze-and-travertine table by Chahan Design create a warm welcome in the entry.
<div class="caption"> “This is my favorite room in the house,” says Story of the dining room, where a custom wall installation by artist Amy Kao injects a playful dose of personality. The sheen lacquer of the custom <a href="https://www.jeromeabelseguin.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Jerome Abel Seguin" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Jerome Abel Seguin</a> table offsets the wood construction of vintage Gio Ponti chairs upholstered in <a href="http://www.claremontfurnishing.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Claremont" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Claremont</a> velvet and a marble, leather, and brass credenza by <a href="https://www.oriorfurniture.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Orior Furniture" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Orior Furniture</a>. The antique alabaster-and-brass chandelier is from <a href="https://www.bgoecklerantiques.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Bernd Goeckler" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Bernd Goeckler</a>. </div>
“This is my favorite room in the house,” says Story of the dining room, where a custom wall installation by artist Amy Kao injects a playful dose of personality. The sheen lacquer of the custom Jerome Abel Seguin table offsets the wood construction of vintage Gio Ponti chairs upholstered in Claremont velvet and a marble, leather, and brass credenza by Orior Furniture. The antique alabaster-and-brass chandelier is from Bernd Goeckler.
<div class="caption"> “This is probably my favorite kitchen that I’ve ever done,” gushes Story. A custom La Cornue range and metallic backsplash coordinate with quartzite countertops, plaster pendants by Rose Uniacke, and burnished nickel hardware by Nanz. </div>

“This is probably my favorite kitchen that I’ve ever done,” gushes Story. A custom La Cornue range and metallic backsplash coordinate with quartzite countertops, plaster pendants by Rose Uniacke, and burnished nickel hardware by Nanz.

<div class="caption"> The monochromatic living room is a study in textural contrasts thanks to a fiberglass resin cocktail table by Paul Mathieu, a custom rocking chair by <a href="https://carltonhouse.net/stockists" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Carlton House Restoration" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Carlton House Restoration</a> covered in <a href="http://www.nacarat.be/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Charles Schambourg" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Charles Schambourg</a> leather, a plaster pendant by William P. Sullivan from <a href="http://www.maisongerard.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Maison Gerard" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Maison Gerard</a>, and a ceramic wall sculpture by Peter Lane. </div>
The monochromatic living room is a study in textural contrasts thanks to a fiberglass resin cocktail table by Paul Mathieu, a custom rocking chair by Carlton House Restoration covered in Charles Schambourg leather, a plaster pendant by William P. Sullivan from Maison Gerard, and a ceramic wall sculpture by Peter Lane.
<div class="caption"> A visually arresting wood-and-leather desk by Ivan Paradisi and a 1970s pendant by Gianni Celada strike a sculptural statement in the home office. An <a href="https://www.altforliving.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Alt for Living" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Alt for Living</a> rug and curtains complete the scene. </div>
A visually arresting wood-and-leather desk by Ivan Paradisi and a 1970s pendant by Gianni Celada strike a sculptural statement in the home office. An Alt for Living rug and curtains complete the scene.
<div class="caption"> A pair of 1940s sconces by Carlo Scarpa flank a Gubi mirror from <a href="https://www.thefutureperfect.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:The Future Perfect" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">The Future Perfect</a> in the powder room. The subtle striations in the silk <a href="https://www.graciestudio.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Gracie Studio" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Gracie Studio</a> wallpaper complement the rich veining in the marble vanity and flooring. </div>
A pair of 1940s sconces by Carlo Scarpa flank a Gubi mirror from The Future Perfect in the powder room. The subtle striations in the silk Gracie Studio wallpaper complement the rich veining in the marble vanity and flooring.
<div class="caption"> The adjoining family room and den are the only places where Story chose to maintain the dark wood paneling that was original to the home. “We felt that the wood wouldn’t feel so stark against the cooler gray tones,” she says. Midcentury Swedish armchairs upholstered in <a href="https://www.pierrefrey.com/en/page/maison-le-manach" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Le Manach" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Le Manach</a> fabric play off a graphic wall covering by <a href="https://porterteleo.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Porter Teleo" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Porter Teleo</a>; they sit opposite a custom sofa by <a href="https://roomonline.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:ROOM" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">ROOM</a> upholstered in <a href="https://www.hollandandsherry.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Holland & Sherry" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Holland & Sherry</a> wool. </div>
The adjoining family room and den are the only places where Story chose to maintain the dark wood paneling that was original to the home. “We felt that the wood wouldn’t feel so stark against the cooler gray tones,” she says. Midcentury Swedish armchairs upholstered in Le Manach fabric play off a graphic wall covering by Porter Teleo; they sit opposite a custom sofa by ROOM upholstered in Holland & Sherry wool.
<div class="caption"> Handwoven raffia wallpaper by <a href="https://www.fjhakimian.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:FJ Hakimian" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">FJ Hakimian</a>, a frosted chandelier from <a href="https://www.gaspareasaro.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Gaspare Asaro" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Gaspare Asaro</a>, and <a href="https://www.alexandreloge.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Alexandre Loge" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Alexandre Loge</a> sconces help enhance the warm, enveloping effect in the den. </div>
<div class="caption"> Walls upholstered in suede by <a href="https://www.edelmanleather.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Edelman Leather" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Edelman Leather</a> create a visual as well as auditory cocooning effect in the main bedroom. The plexiglass-and-bronze lounge chairs are by <a href="https://www.chahan.com/?lang=en" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Chahan Design" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Chahan Design</a>, the chandelier is by Vico Magistretti, and the lamp bases are by <a href="https://www.cocobolodesign.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Cocobolo Design" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Cocobolo Design</a>. </div>
Walls upholstered in suede by Edelman Leather create a visual as well as auditory cocooning effect in the main bedroom. The plexiglass-and-bronze lounge chairs are by Chahan Design, the chandelier is by Vico Magistretti, and the lamp bases are by Cocobolo Design.
<div class="caption"> Strategically placed wainscoting introduces airiness and a visual boundary for the vibrant panda marble on display in the master bath. Sconces by <a href="https://collierwebb.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Collier Webb" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Collier Webb</a> and a pendant by <a href="https://www.perzel.fr/en/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Jean Perzel" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Jean Perzel</a> create an intimate glow that bounces off the custom <a href="https://www.sabaxter.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:SA Baxter x Sara Story Design" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">SA Baxter x Sara Story Design</a> hardware and metallic bathtub finish. </div>
Strategically placed wainscoting introduces airiness and a visual boundary for the vibrant panda marble on display in the master bath. Sconces by Collier Webb and a pendant by Jean Perzel create an intimate glow that bounces off the custom SA Baxter x Sara Story Design hardware and metallic bathtub finish.
<div class="caption"> Velvet wall coverings by <a href="https://www.phillipjeffries.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Phillip Jeffries" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Phillip Jeffries</a>, powder-coated aluminum sconces by <a href="https://www.louispoulsen.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Louis Poulsen" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Louis Poulsen</a>, and matte nightstands from <a href="https://shop.mohd.it/en-us/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Mohd" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Mohd</a> lend an air of minimalist sophistication in a kids’ room. The pendant is from <a href="https://www.suiteny.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Suite NY" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Suite NY</a>. </div>
Velvet wall coverings by Phillip Jeffries, powder-coated aluminum sconces by Louis Poulsen, and matte nightstands from Mohd lend an air of minimalist sophistication in a kids’ room. The pendant is from Suite NY.
<div class="caption"> Story opted for a neutral aesthetic throughout the home, including in the indoor pool area, where pendants from <a href="https://www.alliedmaker.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Allied Maker" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">Allied Maker</a> and a contrasting gray stripe against the white walls keep the vibe light and bright. </div>
Story opted for a neutral aesthetic throughout the home, including in the indoor pool area, where pendants from Allied Maker and a contrasting gray stripe against the white walls keep the vibe light and bright.
<div class="caption"> In the solarium, a seating area consisting of Carlos Motta chairs and a cocktail table by Paul Kingma from <a href="https://www.1stdibs.com/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:1stdibs" class="link rapid-noclick-resp">1stdibs</a> features a fitting pièce de résistance: a limited edition Baccarat chandelier by Philippe Starck. </div>
In the solarium, a seating area consisting of Carlos Motta chairs and a cocktail table by Paul Kingma from 1stdibs features a fitting pièce de résistance: a limited edition Baccarat chandelier by Philippe Starck.
<div class="caption"> “The bones [of the house] were really good, so it was more about trying to figure out how to make the space what it should be for the client—how to put their stamp on it,” says Story of the classic shingle-style home. </div>

“The bones [of the house] were really good, so it was more about trying to figure out how to make the space what it should be for the client—how to put their stamp on it,” says Story of the classic shingle-style home.

Originally Appeared on Architectural Digest