A Clean Slate
An illustrator leaves her mark
Photographs by Pamela Rouleau Flowers by Tina Ahlberg, Hansen’s Flower Shop
An eclectic collection of treasured art, stylish accents, and curious furnishings sprout throughout this 3,500-square-foot, three-bedroom colonial, reflecting the character and background of its owners—one a doctor, the other a highly regarded illustrator.
Built in 1998 by Sherwood Homes, the structure, perched along Sherwood Farm Road, has immediate curb appeal. Homeowner and professional illustrator Leslie Cober-Gentry explains that the home design was offered as a template, which she and her husband, Eric, a doctor of pulmonary and critical-care medicine, modified to create more flow and spaciousness.
A bluestone path leads from a three-car garage to a columned portico at the center of the meringue-yellow, two-story haven. Inside, an inviting foyer is grounded by white-crystal marble tiles and accented with Murano glass sconces. A handsome office with formal Baker desk, leather recliner, mini-bar, and built-in shelving is just off the main hallway, with a small half-bath with glass-basin sink nearby.
In the kitchen, the white-marble flooring plays off contemporary maple cabinetry, granite-topped counters, a center island outfitted with stainless-steel bar stools with Lucite seats, and a full complement of stainless-steel Thermador and Sub-Zero major appliances. The real standout features here, though, are a hand-blown Venetian-glass chandelier hovering above a Saarinen breakfast table with lime-green Jacobsen chairs; and hand-cut, white-glass backsplashes. “Designer Jo Ann Ceasrine assisted me with choosing the tiles in the kitchen and bathrooms,” says Cober-Gentry. “She has a great sense of textures.”
In the family room, with its 18-foot-high vaulted ceiling, one is treated to a host of visuals—and history—that delight. On the contemporary end, large picture windows, a granite-framed fireplace, chocolate and cantaloupe–colored furniture, and a unique Ligne Roset rug with the texture of a Rastafarian’s dreadlocks present a fresh-faced palate. On the historical front, a mix of antiques, including a hand-carved carousel rooster and a candy-striped barber pole circa 1900, provide intrigue.
But it is framed sketches of sports figures Pete Rose, Don King, and Sugar Ray Leonard and a fun-looking ceramic character peering down from built-in shelving that coaxes Cober-Gentry to mention some remarkable family factoids. “My dad, Alan E. Cober, was a well-known illustrator who was just inducted into the Society of Illustrators Hall of Fame along with Norman Rockwell and Howard Pine,” she says. “His work really changed illustration from a classic-American style to a conceptual, journalistic view. His sketches are featured throughout our home. While he achieved amazing success as an illustrator, in the 1980s he wanted to move into a different medium and began creating ceramic figures. These were essentially his illustrations materializing with a third dimension. He was really becoming established in this category before his untimely death at 62 in 1998.”
Besides the notable sports stars he sketched, Cober traveled with Time on Presidential campaigns, was an artist for NASA, and accompanied Pope John Paul II on a tour of the U.S. He and his wife Ellen were also among the leading American art collectors in the country.
Paintings from the Cobers’ collection, created by American masters of the 1800s, grace the Cober-Gentry dining room on the opposite side of the house. Decorated with Italian contemporary furniture, the space flows into the living room, where hardwood-oak floors meet Baker side tables.
Below, the furnished basement boasts a media room with pool table, air hockey, sitting area with flat-screen TV, and full bath. Facing the backyard, a sunroom/gym with terracotta-tiled floors and French doors spills out onto a raised deck with hot tub and views of a Gunite pool, white pines, spruce, lilacs, and other assorted trees. The top floor offers a vaulted master bedroom with walk-in closet, Italian-cherry furniture, and a Michel Ducaroy–designed Togo chaise—also from Ligne Roset. Two more bedrooms, connected by a Jack-and-Jill bathroom, are occupied by the couple’s two children.
Perhaps the space that Cober-Gentry is most at home is her studio, where she has worked on hundreds of assignments for magazines and corporations. “This is where I do all my creating and illustration work, which was inspired by my dad,” she says. “My studio also houses my various collections—iconic advertising dolls, vintage cake toppers, and toy figurines.”
Cober-Gentry’s humorous “anything goes” style is echoed in the architectural highlights and artwork in her home. Here, she says, “Heirlooms find a comfortable balance with more contemporary works and sleek modern furniture.”