Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Simple Pleasures

An artful blend of modern and traditional



Photos by Hulya Kolabas

Sue and Bill Groner were faced with a conundrum. They had built their shingle-style home in Bedford on the site of an old ranch house that had once belonged to author and composer Mary Rogers (think Freaky Friday and Once Upon a Mattress) in 1996, and yet, over time, they found themselves drawn to mid-century modern furnishings. Despite loving their home’s architecture that was inspired by their annual visits to Telluride, Colorado, they couldn’t quite figure out how to balance their two aesthetic passions. 

As Sue interviewed design consultants, she often discussed the challenge with her best friend, Debbie Spiro, an interior designer whose personal style was somewhat traditional. However, none of the designers she met with seemed to be able to successfully strike the balance.  Then, in 2010, Sue visited one of Spiro’s clients’ apartments, and she was impressed by her friend’s skill with modern design. “I came home and told Bill, ‘I think she could really do our house,’” recalls Sue.

“Since we were such good friends, we never considered working together,” notes Spiro. “But, when she saw the apartment I designed in New York, she realized I could do her house, and she was very persistent. I told her how I work, and we were on the same page from day one. It was a fun process, and it was a collaboration.”

While the kitchen and family room had been decorated, the rest of the house presented the friends with a number of blank slates, and they decided to start with the Groners’ daughter’s room. “I worked with Sue and Victoria, who was 12 at the time, to design a grown-up but fun room. Victoria is really sophisticated and a talented artist, so working with her was easy,” Spiro continues. From there, the designing friends moved on to the guest room, working their way through the house, room by room.

Back in 2004, the Groners, who had been using the original ranch house as a weekend home, decided to renovate and move to Bedford fulltime. They hired architect Duo Dickinson to design their dream home from the ground up, and allowed the Bedford Fire Department to do a “controlled burn” of the ranch. “Duo designed a house full of special touches from the curves you see in the steps and porches to the stair tower and the wood-barrel ceiling in the foyer,” explains Sue, who grew up in a mid-century modern home in nearby Stamford. 

Inside the foyer, which is the first floor of a two-story connector that bridges the informal and formal parts of the home, is Dickinson’s sweeping staircase, accented by a custom table that Spiro commissioned. To the left is the living room where she artfully blended the new and the old. “I am probably most pleased with how the living room turned out,” says Sue, who along with Spiro, led a tour of her home. “My father was the primary designer in my childhood home, and I had inherited some special pieces by Florence Knoll and Eero Saarinen. Debbie was able to blend the vintage pieces seamlessly with new things she commissioned, as well as some artwork that Bill and I had purchased.”

“Despite the fact that we were blending traditional architecture with modern décor, it wasn’t as challenging as you might think,” Spiro says, as she enters the adjacent dining room. “Sue has a very sophisticated eye, so we ended up with a decor that has energy and offers unexpected twists. Everything is custom in this room.” Spiro designed the furniture and found a cabinetmaker in New Hampshire to craft it. She topped the bespoke table with a David Weeks light fixture from Ralph Pucci, and Sue and Bill chose an oversized image of a Barbie Doll from the Samuel Owen Gallery in Greenwich to hang above the sideboard.

Bill’s office, tucked in beside the dining room, required a bit of compromise. Bill wanted bookshelves, so Spiro suggested a gentleman’s library with window seats, but that wasn’t Sue’s vision for the room. “I got that,” says Spiro. “She wanted a cleaner look. I found a navy blue lacquered desk that was the springboard for the rest of the room, and then I designed floating shelves. In the end, we ended up with a warm feeling that we all think is amazing without it looking ‘traditional.’”

Upstairs, a hallway leads past a sumptuous white bathroom to the light-filled master bedroom. “My inspiration for the room was lilacs—my favorite flower,” Sue says. “I had light blue walls and wanted to add lavender, a bit of green, some wood, and lots of ‘clouds’ against the blue backdrop.”

“It’s a great combination but a little different,” says Spiro. “I knew it could work if I found the right fabrics. Once, I did, it was easy.” Entering the room now feels like walking into a chic, heavenly retreat. The furnishings feature simple lines softened by fluffy sheepskin cushions and cashmere throws. Just down the hall are the children’s bedrooms. Son Hudson’s features deep shades of blue and gray with custom built-in furniture and a hanging bubble chair, while Victoria’s makes a bold statement with black and white and pops of fuchsia and mango. 

“Bill and Sue have some great artwork that they have purchased over the years,” Spiro says, pointing out a contemporary piece in the guest room at the end of the hall. “But we incorporated some of their children’s artwork in the décor, too. There’s a beautiful pastel by Victoria hanging in the foyer. We have some of hers and Hudson’s work in Bill’s office, too. I love that about them. They celebrate their kids. They celebrate great art and great design. And, they’re open to melding it all together.”

Add your comment:

Connect With Us

            

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Catch the Vibe Newsletter

Weekend activities and events in the area
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Going Native

What’s trending among local gardeners

Bedford Out & About - May & June

Ten Minutes with Laura Mack

A TV stage manager for “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee,” an associate director for "Today" and a mom

The Game of Life

Former hedge-fund manager Michael Steinhardt considers his legacy

Where can I learn how to knit?

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading Local Professionals

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

May 2017

The Pound Ridge Historical Society will open “Modern in Pound Ridge: 20th Century Architecture + Lifestyle” at the Pound Ridge Museum on April 23, 2017. This is a real departure for the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pound Ridge Museum
255 Westchester Ave
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: Pound Ridge Historical Society
Telephone: 914-764-4333
Website »

More information

Last Days of Pangea: In the Footsteps of Dinosaurs November 19, 2016 - July 16, 2017 Image: Cast skull of Postosuchus, one of the largest carnivorous reptiles during the late Triassic, 200...

Cost: $7 adult, $6 Senior/student, under 5 and member free

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06878
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Website »

More information

This exhibit examines the 19th-century origins of this traditionally African-American congregation, as well as Antioch's growth, people, music, and ministries over its long and vibrant history...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bedford Hills Train Station
Depot Plaza
Bedford Hills, NY  10507
View map »


Sponsor: Bedford Hills Historical Museum
Telephone: 914-806-2518
Contact Name: Ellen Cohen, Elin Peterson
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Town of Bedford residents are encouraged to participate in a national day of remembrance. There are three parades and ceremonies held in the Town as follows: Bedford Hills Memorial Day Parade...

Cost: Free

Where:
Varies
Bedford, NY  10506


Website »

More information

The Pound Ridge Historical Society will open “Modern in Pound Ridge: 20th Century Architecture + Lifestyle” at the Pound Ridge Museum on April 23, 2017. This is a real departure for the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pound Ridge Museum
255 Westchester Ave
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: Pound Ridge Historical Society
Telephone: 914-764-4333
Website »

More information

Clay Art Center is pleased to present REVISIT: The Boneyard Featuring works by 40 internationally acclaimed ceramic artists who have taught workshops at Clay Art Center over the last 60...

Cost: 0

Where:
Clay Art Center
40 Beech Street
Port Chester, NY  10573
View map »


Telephone: 914-937-2047
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Pound Ridge Historical Society will open “Modern in Pound Ridge: 20th Century Architecture + Lifestyle” at the Pound Ridge Museum on April 23, 2017. This is a real departure for the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pound Ridge Museum
255 Westchester Ave
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: Pound Ridge Historical Society
Telephone: 914-764-4333
Website »

More information

Last Days of Pangea: In the Footsteps of Dinosaurs November 19, 2016 - July 16, 2017 Image: Cast skull of Postosuchus, one of the largest carnivorous reptiles during the late Triassic, 200...

Cost: $7 adult, $6 Senior/student, under 5 and member free

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06878
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Pound Ridge Historical Society will open “Modern in Pound Ridge: 20th Century Architecture + Lifestyle” at the Pound Ridge Museum on April 23, 2017. This is a real departure for the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pound Ridge Museum
255 Westchester Ave
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: Pound Ridge Historical Society
Telephone: 914-764-4333
Website »

More information

Last Days of Pangea: In the Footsteps of Dinosaurs November 19, 2016 - July 16, 2017 Image: Cast skull of Postosuchus, one of the largest carnivorous reptiles during the late Triassic, 200...

Cost: $7 adult, $6 Senior/student, under 5 and member free

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06878
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Pound Ridge Historical Society will open “Modern in Pound Ridge: 20th Century Architecture + Lifestyle” at the Pound Ridge Museum on April 23, 2017. This is a real departure for the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pound Ridge Museum
255 Westchester Ave
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: Pound Ridge Historical Society
Telephone: 914-764-4333
Website »

More information

Last Days of Pangea: In the Footsteps of Dinosaurs November 19, 2016 - July 16, 2017 Image: Cast skull of Postosuchus, one of the largest carnivorous reptiles during the late Triassic, 200...

Cost: $7 adult, $6 Senior/student, under 5 and member free

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06878
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

The Pound Ridge Historical Society will open “Modern in Pound Ridge: 20th Century Architecture + Lifestyle” at the Pound Ridge Museum on April 23, 2017. This is a real departure for the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pound Ridge Museum
255 Westchester Ave
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: Pound Ridge Historical Society
Telephone: 914-764-4333
Website »

More information

Friends of Karen, a local non-profit organization that supports critically-ill children and their families, will be holding its summer gala benefit, Catch the Spirit! on Friday, June...

Cost: $175-$350

Where:
Brae Burn Country Club
39 Brae Burn Drive
Purchase, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

Last Days of Pangea: In the Footsteps of Dinosaurs November 19, 2016 - July 16, 2017 Image: Cast skull of Postosuchus, one of the largest carnivorous reptiles during the late Triassic, 200...

Cost: $7 adult, $6 Senior/student, under 5 and member free

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06878
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

WESTCHESTER’S LARGEST LGBT PRIDE FESTIVAL IS BACK! The LOFT’s Annual Celebration Promises Unity and Celebration Saturday, June 3rd, 2017, Noon-5:00pm   White Plains, NY...

Cost: free

Where:
The LOFT LGBT Community Center
252 Bryant Avenue
White Plains, NY  10605
View map »


Sponsor: The LOFT LGBT Community Center
Telephone: 914-948-2932
Contact Name: Judy Troilo
Website »

More information

The Pound Ridge Historical Society will open “Modern in Pound Ridge: 20th Century Architecture + Lifestyle” at the Pound Ridge Museum on April 23, 2017. This is a real departure for the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pound Ridge Museum
255 Westchester Ave
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: Pound Ridge Historical Society
Telephone: 914-764-4333
Website »

More information

On display from June 3 through July 15. The Ground Glass, a Westchester-based association of photographers, will be exhibiting “The 42nd Annual Ground Glass Exhibition,” a selection of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pound Ridge Library
271 Westchester Avenue
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: Pound Ridge Library
Telephone: 914-764-5085
Website »

More information

Clay Art Center’s annual Spring Fest event in Port Chester, NY is fun for the whole family with hands-on clay activities, try the potter’s wheel, face painting, raffle, auction, food...

Cost: Free

Where:
Clay Art Center
40 Beech Street
Port Chester, NY  10573
View map »


Website »

More information

The Bedford Hills Farmers’ Market, a project of the community group Bedford Hills LIVE, is unveiling its Second Annual Winter Farmers’ Market on Saturday, November 5 beginning at 10am....

Cost: Free

Where:
Bedford Hills Train Station
Depot Plaza
Bedford Hills, NY  10507
View map »


Telephone: 917.951.3588
Contact Name: Vanessa Pahucki

More information

Last Days of Pangea: In the Footsteps of Dinosaurs November 19, 2016 - July 16, 2017 Image: Cast skull of Postosuchus, one of the largest carnivorous reptiles during the late Triassic, 200...

Cost: $7 adult, $6 Senior/student, under 5 and member free

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06878
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Website »

More information

Looking for something relaxing, creative and fun to do this Winter/Spring for the whole family. Take part in Clay Art Center’s Saturday Drop-In Clay Class, Saturdays from...

Cost: $25

Where:
Clay Art Center
40 Beech Street
Port Chester, NY  10573
View map »


Telephone: 914-937-2047
Contact Name: Nancy Yates
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags